As 2016 draws to a close, some marketers are looking forward to a short break from the madness we call entrepreneurship, while others are using this time preparing to dominate their market and crush their competition in 2017.
As for me and the Spartan Media team, we’re preparing to dominate the market for web design and digital marketing services here in our local Tampa market, as well as nationwide serving a very specific industry.
How about you?
If you’re the type of marketer who is looking for a break, this post isn’t going to be for you, but if you’re looking to absolutely dominate your market and crush your competition, then read on, because I’m going to arm you with 5 strategies to do exactly that.
Develop a laser-targeted focus
When you focus your marketing efforts on a specific niche, you’ll reach a smaller, more targeted audience more often, as opposed to reaching a larger audience fewer times with a shotgun approach.
Focusing on a specific niche helps you to get more impact from your marketing budget because instead of reaching of a lot of people a few times, it allows you to reach the right people several times. This is critical because it takes multiple impressions to build the brand awareness and trust necessary for customers to chose you over your competitors. It also helps you to refine your sales process.
These factors combined mean you will convert a higher percentage of your audience into customers.
Build and nurture relationships
With very few exceptions, every significant opportunity comes down to the number and strength of your relationships. As I mentioned in an article on what I learned about business from the Marine Corps, it’s important to remember that you never really accomplish anything on your own—even if your company consists only of you!
Mentors, evangelists, media, and customers all play an important role in your success, and because of that, it’s critical to build and nurture relationships.
How relationships help you dominate your market
- Mentors can spark new ideas and connect you to new opportunities and/or contacts.
- Media (traditional media as well as bloggers) and evangelists can help amplify your message, creating more exposure.
- Customers can help improve other customers’ perception of, and trust in your company through their testimonials and/or referrals.
Become an influencer
This strategy is difficult and requires a large investment of time and energy, but it’s well worth the effort because once you’re seen as an authority on a topic, people will be more likely to mention you and/or link to your website Especially when you publish something that supports or confirms their opinion. They’ll often do so when you publish something that contradicts their views also, sometimes as a way to create exposure for themselves by proving an established expert wrong.
When you’re the person that the media comes to when they want an expert’s opinion, you’ll obviously earn more exposure, but you’ll also earn more opportunities to build valuable relationships within your niche, as well as trust from customers.
There are several ways you can do this, but the first and most important step is to produce a library of your own useful content to demonstrate your knowledge. The more you can produce without sacrificing quality, the better because it gives people a way to judge your knowledge.
Once you have a foundation of 10X content, it’s time to leverage third party media to create both exposure and social proof.
HARO is a great starting point because it let’s you connect with bloggers, reporters, and television, radio, and podcast hosts who are looking for expert insight on specific topics right now. HARO sends subscribers queries categorized by topic via email three times every day, and all you need to do is respond to the appropriate ones.
Don’t get discouraged if most of your responses don’t get published though, especially before you’ve built up much of a reputation. It will take time, but the more that you respond to, the more effective you’ll become and the more that will get published. As you build up your name, people will be more likely to publish your responses, which creates a powerful snowball effect.
Next, become an author on some of the top websites within your industry. This is one of the reasons I write for publications like Search Engine Journal. To accomplish this, both your ideas and your writing style must be phenomenal. Earning exposure through a trusted industry source is one of the fastest and most effective ways to build authority, and if you’re good enough, you can even use that to work your way into mainstream media.
The last step is becoming a guest on podcasts, radio, television, and if you’re really dedicated, public speaking.
This strategy will require constant effort, especially in the beginning, and your progress will come in small chunks, but if you keep working at it, people will eventually start coming to you instead of you having to chase them.
Be everywhere your prospects are
I recently decided that Spartan Media would focus all of our outbound marketing efforts on a very specific niche. Part of my strategy includes being seen everywhere that our prospects are within that industry.
The first, and most obvious step was to join the networking groups they attend. This gives me an opportunity to meet them face to face on neutral ground, when they aren’t on the defensive or being guarded by a gatekeeper. More importantly, it gives me an opportunity to demonstrate my expertise, authority, and trust through conversations and public speaking.
I also bought advertising in several of the publications they consume, including websites, trade publications, and podcasts. Add a small remarketing campaign through Google and/or Facebook, and as far as your prospects can see, you are literary everywhere! This includes channels like:
- Trade publications
- Industry websites, newsletters, and podcasts
- Industry-specific networking groups
- Trade shows
Which leads me to my next strategy…
Make them need you
I’ll be the first one to pat myself in the back for this idea; I launched a magazine for the industry I was targeting. This did a few things.
First, it gave me another place to advertise to my niche, and since I own it, I have full editorial discretion, which means none of my competitors can advertise in it. I’d call that a victory.
Second, and more importantly, it gave me a platform in which I can tailor the content to promote my company. For example, if I want to sell more websites next month, we simply include a few articles on how their website affects their business, such as:
- how web design impacts conversion rate,
- the importance of responsive design,
- or the role web design plays in brand perception.
The idea is to get them thinking about all the ways they’re losing business right now because of their website.
I might even include a powerful case study showing how we improved the results for a company in their industry. For example, we recently redesigned an ecommerce website in the construction industry that, so far, has produced a 354% increase in sales compared to the same time period last year. We will be interviewing that client in the February issue, which demonstrates Spartan Media’s capabilities using a real-world example while creating more exposure for one of our clients.
This marketing strategy certainly gave me a captive audience, but more importantly, it gave me a piece of media that everyone in that industry wanted to be in. Now instead of me calling them, they were calling me. And if I want to connect with a particular person, I can simply call them and say “I’d like to feature you in an upcoming issue of the magazine.” They’re already familiar with it because they read it every month, and so do their friends and business associates.What are they going to say? “No, I don’t want to be featured in that slick, full-color, glossy magazine that everyone in my industry reads.” Nope. In fact, no one has turned me down yet.