How to Establish Marketing Authority in a Niche Industry You've got to stay focused on a single market until you prove loyalty and expertise.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Digital marketing agencies are some of the top businesses in the entrepreneurship sphere. It's estimated that the digital marketing software industry will grow by 15.2 percent by 2025, and it was already estimated at $35.24 billion in 2017. For newcomers to the digital marketing scene, it can be challenging to establish authority right off the bat with so much competition in the space unless there's something about your product or service that has a clear competitive advantage.
It comes down to finding a particular marketing niche, and this has to be a bit more specific than "startups." Serve a very specific type of company, and take extra care of your clients to prove your investment in that niche. If you're looking to build up this type of specialized authority, the following four steps will get you there.
1. Research which industries are booming.
First, when choosing a niche, it's important to make sure it's in an industry that's doing well at the moment. Some niches may look attractive because there are very few other marketing agencies in the space, but that may also mean that the businesses or potential clients in that niche don't have extra money to spend on digital marketing services, or they don't need the services. To begin to determine which industries are booming, look at the stock market and press coverage to get a sense for what's happening economically. Stocks will be on the rise and the press is likely to point out which industries are worth watching this year.
Still, while that's a good place to start, and a good way to familiarize yourself with the market prospects, it's also a good idea to get out and talk to people at networking events and in business unions. Everyone will rush to the industries that are being talked about most, or that seem to be doing well in the investment space. Go beyond this. Speaking with other entrepreneurs and private investors may help you get a sense for industries that are doing well, but aren't yet populated by other niche marketers. Once you find a niche you feel good about, go all in on it.
2. Give your full focus to clients in your chosen niche.
Once you've chosen your niche, it's critical to stick with it. When you meet potential clients outside the niche who want to hire you, it may be tempting, but working with clients outside your niche will dilute your ability to establish authority in that specialized area. They will distract you from other clients who can build a firm foundation for your authority. You must decide whether the income or the authority means more to you. But when making that calculation, you should also consider how building a strong foundation of expertise can pay off financially down the line.
Use a virtual assistant or work on your own to scrape online email addresses and phone numbers for every business, then begin your sales calls. To narrow your niche even further, start with businesses in a certain state or metropolitan area. Let them know that your sole focus is their type of business, which will stand out to them, especially if they are a very specialized business (think: landscaping, or daycares). They won't be used to services that are solely focused on their type of business.
3. Go above and beyond.
Once you've signed on one client, seek to impress in the value that you offer. If you create a monthly newsletter, for example, packed with marketing tips that could attract new clients, you can also use the platform to promote current clients. Get creative with how you offer more value than most: Doing more than clients expect can lead to referrals and word of mouth. This not only brings in more clients but helps you establish more authority. The value could simply be in your business model and what you offer to the client in your services.
4. The proof is in the pudding.
Finally, as you continue to build up your list of clients, diligently track data on what you've done for them. It's not enough to say that you're the authority in one niche; show it with testimonials, numbers and figures. Make sure that they're as specific as possible. Rather than having testimonials that simply say, "Their service is great!", ask for clients to give details on what the service did for them. This information shared in an unbiased way from past customers carries a lot of credibility and weight.
Then, use this proof as much as you can. Include it on your website and in your press kit, and when you land press, give these specific markers of authority to validate any mention of you as a leader in your niche. Continue to prove the ways that you're an authority in a given industry.
One of the best parts of establishing authority in one niche is that, when you finally build enough credibility, you can scale and expand to other related niches. Your credibility from one will carry to the other, but only if you double down on building authority in the first.