Choosing a niche market may seem like a terrifying idea at first, and you may think you’re limiting your services and leaving out potential revenue. However, there are a lot of benefits to focusing on a specific niche, especially when it comes to how you’re marketing your ergonomic consulting business. Oftentimes, finding your business’ niche is the key to make it successful. But knowing where to start can be hard. In this blog, we’ll be talking about how you can start narrowing down your niche and your marketing message. I'll discuss one of the essential elements when it comes to niching down: understanding the difference between who we’re marketing to and who we serve.
“The riches are in the niches.” I know this quote is very cliché, but there’s some truth to that. A business niche is a specialized or focused area of a broader market that businesses can serve to differentiate themselves from the competition. And when I think about business niches, I think of ecological niches. Back in grade one or grade two, I had to figure out where a certain animal lived. I had to break down a piece of paper into quadrants, and one of them was a niche. I don't know if you've done the same thing at school, but it obviously left a lasting effect on how I run my business now. I believe business owners should find a niche in their industry that has underserved or unmet needs.
“If you're talking to everyone, you're talking to no one.” This is probably the most famous quote in the marketing world, and it has a huge significance to this whole idea of niching down and how you're marketing your business. When I first heard it, it definitely blew my mind. But how does it really relate to marketing your ergonomics services? Well, that’s what I want to talk about in this article.
A lot of ergonomists think that we want to cater to everyone with ergonomics just because many people need our assistance and we have such a valuable skillset that can help them. However, if you don't narrow down your messaging, what you say is probably not going to stick to anybody's mind. If you're trying to be everything to everybody, then you're probably actually nothing to nobody. If you promote your services to a wide variety of clients, it’s likely that you’re just doing a disservice to not only the trajectory of your business but also the types of people that you can help.
There are so many ways we can niche down too. Let’s say you want to niche down to Human Resources because you know there’s a lot of opportunities when we work with corporate clients. But here’s the thing: even if you know that you're talking directly to those people, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're saying no to everyone else. Niching down doesn’t mean you’ll only stay in one niche forever. There are going to be elements in your messaging that can attract other people who aren't in your niche.
One of the biggest things that I want you to be really clear on when it comes to niching down is knowing the difference between who you're marketing to and who you serve. Tragically, this was the most complex case that I really had to understand when I was first starting out marketing my ergonomics consultancy. It’s because even though I knew that I could help everyone if I didn't narrow down my messaging, I wasn't making the connection and ended up just wasting my time. I've also noticed that with members in my Accelerate program. This is one of the most difficult first steps to marketing ergonomics.
When it comes to niching down, the first thing you want to do is to pick your niche. Each niche results in a completely distinct marketing strategy and messaging content to connect with them. It could be that you're marketing to the self-employed, or remote workers, or gig workers, or you're going for corporate (if you’re like me).
Let's go with the corporate example here. Keep in mind that there are different levels of corporate based on the number of employees—you have the small, medium, and large corporations. My favorite area has always been the small to medium-sized corporations, and that's because there's not a lot of middle management and people that have to say yes to a particular contract. They usually just have a couple of key decision-makers (mostly always someone from human resources), so there are a lot of benefits to that.
I’ve also worked with larger organizations before. Larger organizations mean that there are more middle management involved acting as decision-makers. So compared to small and medium-sized corporations, it's harder to move forward when you’re working with larger corporations. Of course, the sheer size of these organizations means that working with them has its upside. However, sometimes these organizations can just change their direction at the drop of a dime. Let’s say you have a set number of hours dedicated to filling that large corporate contract, and then they decided to change directions. That can cost your business a lot of money. This is something that I’ve seen for myself and talked with other Ergonomics Consultants that have also worked for large organizations. The point of the matter is it’s a big risk if you're putting all your eggs in one basket. Think of it this way: if we diversify who we're working with and not overly invest our time on just one large organization that can easily change direction, there would be lesser risk of our business’ revenue declining moving forward.
You might be asking yourself, “What should I talk about in my marketing content?” Well, the answer is to tell them that need, want, limitation, and how you can help them with your ergonomic services. But before that, you need to determine how you’re going to approach your marketing message. There are two ways to do this: the top-down approach or the bottom-up approach. But when you're first starting into a market, you need to be creative and drum up business in any way possible. So sometimes, you need to have a mix of both top-down and bottom-up approaches.
Let's say you want to niche down to corporate, whether you're dealing with a small, medium, or large corporation. Each approach is quite simple—the top-down approach means communicating your message from the decision-makers down to the employees of the organization, and the bottom-up approach means delivering your message from the employees to the decision-makers. The bottom-up and top-down approach is something that you want to keep on your radar, but knowing the difference in particular to how you're going to choose your marketing message is important. It could be that you’re serving the employees and assessing their jobs, but the one you’re marketing to is the HR decision-maker. What the HR decision-maker cares about isn't necessarily going to be in line with what the employee cares.
To understand how you should deliver your marketing message to them, let’s take a look at how they differ below:
Generally speaking, human resources play an essential part in the decision-making of a corporation. That gives us a big clue as to how we want to represent what we do and the value that we bring to these particular professionals. Knowing that they're human resources, we can already figure out what types of issues they're going to deal with administratively. It could be rehiring quality employees, dealing with the paperwork of workers’ compensation claims, listening to employees complaining about their discomfort, or finding chairs and other equipment. Typically, those are the things that decision-makers have to deal with in small to medium corporations. I hope you're seeing the value of what niching down means for marketing our services.
So here’s the trick: we market to the decision-maker, and while we serve that corporation, we also connect with and work with the employees. This is true because how we market to the employees would be incredibly different to how we would market to the decision-makers. And when we’re focusing on those decision-makers, this is called top-down marketing.
Now, the bottom-up method is a completely different approach. So bottom-up would be messaging to the employees to talk to their HR decision-makers about ergonomics; when they do, we're the option to help. How you deliver the information is very different from the top-down approach. It's almost like you want to turn the whole idea upside down because that employee is going to be more focused on the pain and the discomfort related to having a bad chair or working with ergonomic-related musculoskeletal disorders.
So the next step here is to figure out how to find all the information. Well, it takes a lot of time and dedication to peel away the layers of the onion. You can obviously do this by yourself, but it just takes a lot of research. My advice is to get on the call with your ideal clients and find out what their pains are or what types of things will make their lives easier. Finding where your ideal clients would be hanging out will depend on where you're niching down.
Another way you can get this information is through my Accelerate program. There's so much more opportunity out there, and I can show you the system on how to market your ergonomic services in my program. This is something that I think every Ergonomics Consultant has to have in their toolbox because marketing is really important. Relying on referrals or word-of-mouth is one aspect of bringing people into your world, but it simply can't be everything. So if you’re interested to learn more about the Accelerate: Business of Ergonomics Program, you can join the waitlist here. The next time I'm opening enrollment is at the end of June 2021.
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