Question: I'm a professional resume writer and have recently narrowed down my niche to writing resumes for moms re-entering the work force. Is my niche too narrow? Aside from my Web site (www.resumesformoms.com), what's the best way to market myself online?
Answer: Don't worry-your niche is large enough. In 1998, 26 million mothers worked; if only 1 percent of them entered the labor force that year, that would have been 260,000 mothers, many of whom needed resumes. You could narrow your niche even further by specializing in resumes for women in a particular industry, such as aerospace, entertainment or law.
Since they identify themselves as moms, many of your potential clients visit Web sites that serve women in their roles as mothers, such as familynetwork.com, ivillage.com and oxygen.com. Establish visibility on such sites and participate in the message sections, offering advice and identifying what you do. Getting a link would be most desirable; perhaps you could get one in exchange for expertise you might bring to these sites in the form of online advice or articles.
Get your Web site listed on search engines, which is best done by hand rather than by automated services. Some of your potential clients search for resume services this way; others use directories, so consider joining the Professional Association of Résumé Writers. Its Web site, www.parw.com, has a searchable database of resume writers by state, which is updated weekly. Membership ensures you're listed.
Don't limit yourself to online marketing if you live in a community large enough to make local efforts worthwhile. Putting all your eggs in one basket in terms of marketing strategies is a risk. If what you're doing isn't productive or effectively executed, you'll waste a lot of time. Supplement your Internet presence with fliers or a Yellow Pages ad-listing your Web site for more information.
As you build a clientele, you're apt to get requests to do resumes for husbands, daughters and sons. We wish you well as you niche forward.
Small-business experts Paul and Sarah Edwards' latest book is The Practical Dreamer's Handbook(Putnam Publishing Group). If you have a question regarding a start-up business issue, contact them at www.workingfromhome.com or send it c/o Entrepreneur.