If there is a rockstar entrepreneur you admire, chances are that person has created a niche or carved out a piece of an existing niche then rocketed to the top of it. If you want to dominate your niche like this niche dominatrix, listen up!
1) You don’t have a niche
Obvious, I know. This is still the top mistake I see entrepreneurs making, though. It’s essential that you target a specific group of people, even if you think your product or service is well-suited for the masses.
You need a niche to establish yourself as an expert within it. That’s not to say you can’t branch out in the future. You can definitely expand after you have established yourself.
You also need a niche to target your marketing efforts and strategies. One of the ways I was able to get traction in my niche was through organic traffic from search engines like Google and Bing.
If you know your niche, you know their wants and needs. You can write your content in a way that specifically speaks to those wants and needs, and use keywords that will help people in your niche find you. For example, questions can be great keywords to drive organic traffic when you have nailed down your niche.
Try this: Write out a list of 10 questions that someone in your niche may search for on Google in order to find you. If you are a stylist for busy business women, one of your keyword questions could be, “How do I choose the best blazer?”
Then you can write an article or record a video answering the question and use it as the title of your piece of content. This is a great content strategy for building influence in your niche. But first you need a niche!
2) You don’t know your “perfect customer”
You don’t just want a niche, you want a “perfect customer” that you’re over the moon about working with. Your perfect customer means you’re laser-focused on one person that you can describe in great detail through a customer profile.
Watch 20 Questions to Create a Customer Profile if you need some help getting started.
Once you have created a profile of your perfect customer, try this: go through a magazine and find a picture of someone who you imagine as your perfect customer. Cut her out and stick her to a page in your journal or notebook.
Give her a name and keep her in mind as you move forward in your business. This has helped me tremendously and I actually have two perfect customer profiles: MacKenzie and Emily.
To take it one step further, ask a client or someone from your audience who fits your perfect customer profile to give you feedback on your product offering, pricing, copy, and anything else that will help you dominate your niche. You might want to give them compensation, a free product or service, or something that shows gratitude for their time and help.
3) People aren’t finding out about you
You can create amazing content, and publish to your blog or website regularly but it needs to show up in the media or on other websites that will lead people to your work.
So how do you get found?
Guest posting on blogs, digital magazines, and websites will help you get in front of people. Many entrepreneurs need to publish less content to their own websites, and more content to other websites.
Landing guest contributor spots is easier said than done so spend time crafting a concise, fun pitch that sets you apart from the crowd.
It still amazes me how many people send me pitches without doing their homework and catering the pitch to me and my audience.
Hootsuite is another powerful tool to help you join conversations happening in your niche. You can track keywords and follow up with people personally. For example, when I was talking about visiting Peru, there was a hotel that was tracking people talking about going to Peru and they followed up with me personally. Guess which hotel I ended up staying at?
4) You aren’t surrounding yourself with influencers
As I’ve been growing my business I am constantly trying to surround myself with people who are five steps ahead of me.
I want to learn from people who have been where I want to go. Reaching out to influencers and getting on their radar can help propel you towards dominating your niche.
Just be respectful of people’s time, and follow my five minute rule to connect with any influencer in your niche.
5) You aren’t collaborating with your peers
I’m a big believer that collaboration beats competition.
One of the best things a small business can do is reach out to other small businesses in the same niche or a similar niche and work together instead of against each other.
A few years ago, I was thinking about launching a mastermind program because being part of masterminds has really driven my business growth. Natalie Sisson from WomanzWorld (now The Suitcase Entrepreneur) reached out to me to talk about collaborating and I thought she’d be a perfect collaborator for a mastermind program.
Instead of each of us creating our own program we put all of our knowledge, expertise, and influence together to create WE Mastermind, something bigger and better than we would have been able to create if we were working as individuals instead of as a team.
Our members constantly remind us how powerful of a team we are, and how we both bring unique but complimentary experience to the program.
These are just a few things you can do to collaborate with your competition:
- Co-create epic content to publish on both of your websites to share your businesses and fuse your marketing efforts to spread the content far and wide
- Form joint ventures to benefit both of your customer bases
- Set up a referral program
Now I want to hear from you: Did you have your niche picked out from day one of your business, or did it form over time? How have you built influence within your niche?
Disclaimer: I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.