You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

8 Strategies for Expanding a Niche Product Into New Markets If your product is thriving with one customer base, it's time to grow past the comfort zone.

By Zvi Band

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Niche markets are so last year. Just think about HubSpot, Asana or Infusionsoft. These companies haven't gone after one niche and called it a day. They've focused on building a product that appeals to professionals in a wide range of industries and roles.

While focusing on one vertical can form a strong basis for a business, once that platform is built, moving into other verticals can ensure your brand's longevity. Plus, adapting to new sets of customers and their challenges can strengthen your product or service.

My company has a diverse customer base ranging from real estate agents who need to organize their projects to pastors who want to stay engaged with their congregations. Most products and services can work across multiple industries. You just have to make the leap sensibly.

Here are a few tactics for stepping outside your niche and appealing to audiences across multiple industries:

1. Identify core motivations.

Before you approach a new industry, plot the core motivations that drive your current customers and your potential customers. Most importantly, identify where these overlap. Whether they care about saving money, staying organized or looking good, this is the magical place where your brand can attack.

2. Identify repeated daily actions.

While you're identifying where core motivations intersect for your current and potential customers, also consider actions that both sets of customers engage in on a daily basis. This will help you keep the core functions of your brand relevant for every market you enter.

Related: How to Determine If Vertical Market Expansion is Right for Your Business

3. Move with purpose.

You need to enter new verticals purposefully. You can't just stroll around the marketplace and wander into different industries at random. Conduct research to identify the pain points of the new industry, and gear your marketing efforts toward how you can fulfill that need or solve that problem.

4. Don't neglect your core market.

Just because you want to leapfrog to other verticals doesn't mean you should phase out your core market. Keep a strong and stable original product that your core customers can count on. Forgetting about your old market and trying to reach too many verticals at once can really hurt your brand.

5. Think beyond "the chasm."

Geoffrey A. Moore, author of "Crossing the Chasm," argues that there's a gap between visionary customers and pragmatic customers where a product is likely to fail. You need to deliver proven problem-solving products to keep these pragmatists interested because the visionaries will get on board no matter what you deliver.

6. Keep your language universal.

Whether you're diving into the wedding planning industry or entertainment, the tone and vocabulary of your external communication and in-product messaging needs to appeal to all of your potential customers. For instance, recruiters think in terms of candidates, while salespeople are looking for leads. Instead of choosing one or the other, why not just call them "contacts"?

Related: 5 Proven Ways to Create Long-Lasting Customer Relationships

7. Think of your product in building blocks.

Your initial product is a platform. Once you have the right building blocks to customize your product or service, you can tailor your offering to each new industry and customer you approach.

8. Create a message with broad appeal.

Instead of stating specifically what niche you're going after in your marketing communications, give your brand a clear message and tone that appeals to all your audiences. Consider Basecamp: Its messaging refers to helping companies with projects, but it never comes out and says what type of companies or projects.

Once you have a distinct brand message and tone in place, you can add industry-specific details, such as case studies, that will generate interest from a particular segment of the market.

While it's important to go after a specific niche in the beginning, if you stay laser-focused on a single industry or customer throughout your company's life, you could stunt its growth. You don't have to dump your original customer base or buy a different novelty hat for every industry you enter. Just figure out what your potential customers need and how you can deliver, then adjust your messaging to speak about the solution you have to offer.

Related: Clear Your Mind, Be the Brand and Take the Social-Media Spotlight

Zvi Band

Founder and CEO of Contactually

Zvi Band is the founder and CEO of Contactually, a Washington, D.C.-based relationship-marketing platform that maximizes value and drives greater ROI from personal and professional networks. Zvi frequently participates in thought leadership panels at Tech Cocktail, WordPress DC, DC PHP, and DCRUG events.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Growing a Business

Bantam Bagels' Founder Fell Into a Mindset Trap 'People Don't Talk About' After Selling the Now-Defunct Business for $34 Million — Here's What Happened

Elyse Oleksak and her husband Nick founded their mini bagel business in 2013 — and it was an instant hit.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.

Money & Finance

Setting Your Business Up for Success Through the Rest of 2024

CFO's mid-year update: Understanding the latest trends and regulations impacting business finance.

Business News

Yes, You Can Buy a Foldable Tiny Home on Amazon — And Now It's Selling for Less Than $12,000

The waterproof and flameproof house was listed around $35,000 a few months ago.

Thought Leaders

We Live in a Data-Driven World — Here's a Case For Listening to Your Gut Instead

Honing and trusting one's intuition can lead to quicker, more effective decision-making. Here's how to harness the power of listening to your gut to make the best choices.