Chrissy and I have been doing this for a couple of years now, and as our business has grown we’ve constantly had people ask us what our niche is. Whether it’s other creatives or potential clients, they all tend to ask what we specialize in. For a while there, we felt almost a little guilty when we would say that we didn’t really have a niche. After all, we usually tell 99% of our clients to pick a target market and gear towards them – so why don’t we?
Here’s the not-so-well-kept secret about Chrissy and myself. We are giant nerds.
After all, we both have 2 degrees, all of which required extensive research and critical thinking, and 3 of them required a lot of research and the writing of many long papers.
So, how does this apply to why we don’t pick a niche? There’s a reason we chose the educational path we did – we both love research and learning. Without having a focus on say, restaurants or car repair shops, we get to learn in depth about all of our clients’ businesses, and really get a first-hand experience of the passion that they have for their endeavors. Like I said, giant nerds.
What Are the Advantages to Niche Marketing?
There are a ton of advantages, from an agency and client side, to niche marketing. After all, as an agency you get to be really good at knowing how to market a certain industry, or even type of business. Processes are cleaner perhaps, and you know what questions to ask, what target market responds to what form of marketing, can maybe even consult your client in business decisions beyond their marketing plan. And if you’re largely a digital marketing agency, website bases can be built that can be customized per client, allowing you to save time and increase your profit margins.
For the client, you know that this company has worked with others like you. They already have a pretty good understanding of your business, know how to work with your type of customers, and have seen what works for many other businesses like you. You don’t feel like a guinea pig in an experiment, but rather like you know you’re going to get great results.
But Wait, That Type of Marketing Sounds So Amazing….
Yes, if all companies were able to approach your company as unique within your industry, niche marketing would be fantastic for a variety of reasons. Everyone makes more money and saves time, basically. Which is everyone’s goal, right?
Here’s the thing, we don’t live in a perfect world. Marketing agencies get busy, their clients get spread out across the States, and they often budget very little time to the actual communication and sometimes get stuck in the rut that all their clients are the same.
(Don’t get me wrong – there legitimately are some great niche marketing companies out there and we have some great ones right here in Wichita.)
As our business has grown and we’ve picked up clients in a variety of industries, we discovered that we kind of love that we work with everyone. We get to learn about so many cool businesses and that drive to learn what really makes them unique extends beyond what they do to the why. With the shift in marketing to being all about the story of the business, this literature major especially loves that she gets to help people tell their personal journeys of their business – no matter what industry that business happens to be in.
The Disadvantages to One-Size Fits All Marketing Plans
We’ve also seen what those bad niche marketing companies do. Instead of approaching you and your business as unique, they often instead choose to implement a one-size-fits-all plan. Many that are looking for a quick turn-around and high profit will build the same website 20 times over, just replacing the copy and images with your own and claiming that that will still market you even though 5 other restaurants in your geographic area could have the exact same one. I know that I’m in the industry so I look at sites in a completely different way, but how do you stand out and draw people in when you look like everyone else?
I could write a whole post on how bad that is for your social media, too, but let’s just talk for a second about that. We had a client who had previously used a niche marketing company out of state. While they managed dozens of others in their industry, they did nothing to provide personalized service. In fact, one of the main reasons they switched off was because this company would never check local information, even going so far as to post about the freezing cold weather when it was a 65° day in January. Yes, Kansas is an odd duck and doesn’t follow “normal” weather patterns, but because the company was focused on the one-size plan, they didn’t even bother to learn about the state they were marketing in, let alone the company.
What if I’m Thinking About Using a Niche Marketing Company?
Like we said, there are so many advantages to a great company that it would be crazy to not at least interview them if you’re looking for some professional marketing services. But how do you sift that bad from the good?
First, just judge how they interact with you. Are they asking you in-depth questions about your company, your journey, and trying to find out anything at all that sets you apart? How much time are they spending working through copy especially can be a great indicator of this.
Second, how many people in your area do they already work with? If it’s a high number, maybe look for someone else so that you don’t have one person planning out all the competition’s marketing strategies.
Lastly, what does their portfolio look like? If you look at 3 websites and can’t even remember the company names, maybe they’re not the agency for you. But if their portfolio shows that yes, they work in that niche, but you get a different and individual feeling from each site you look at, talk to them more.
Not every marketing agency is right for every client, no matter if they work in a niche or not. At the end of the day, we choose to focus on the variety because that helps push us to provide our clients with excellent, customized plans and websites that really tell their story. There’s so much fun and joy in that for us, so why do anything different?