Mass marketing may be ideal for most products or services, but it takes a different approach to promote professional services like law, accounting, and finance. People who need a lawyer, an accountant, or a financial adviser have specific problems they need help with at a specific time period. So, niche marketing is more appropriate for them, since it involves marketing products and services to target clients in a narrow market, such as a market for professional services.
The main challenge of niche marketing for professional services, though, is that you need to reach the right person or potential client at the right time. This is compounded by the fact that 70% of businesses in the services industry experienced increased competition, and 69% of customers in the professional services sector expect a company to offer new ways of delivering products and services like digital versions of traditionally in-person experiences. So, how do you effectively tailor your online marketing strategy to focus on your needs?
Direct and Organic Searches for Professional Services Marketing
According to recent data, for 2022, direct search with a lead conversion rate of 16.8% and organic search (12.3%) are the top channels for professional services marketing. These are followed by organic social (8%), paid search (7%), and referral (5.5%). Email (5.2%) is at the bottom of the list. It isn’t effective because people who need professional services need them at a specific time. So, prospective clients probably wouldn’t be interested in reading company emails regularly.
Direct search is when people type your company URL into their browsers, while an organic search is when people visit your site from search engine results. Organic social is when people visit your site from social media links while paid search is when people visit your site from paid online advertisements. Referrals come from people who refer to your company and services because of their satisfactory experiences with you. What these all imply is that building and projecting your reputation and building your social networks are key for effective niche marketing.
So, for example, for lawyer marketing, what you need to do is to select those marketing channels that will help build and amplify your professional reputation, while tapping into the online and in-person communities of people where your target clients are. Lawyers who specialize in real estate law, for instance, should connect with real estate communities, while building an online social presence that links them to these communities.
Back to Basics – Understanding Your Target Market
Aside from marketing professional services, niche marketing for any company generally involves returning to the foundations of effective marketing, which is thoroughly understanding one’s target market and further dividing them into sub-market segments. Start with being able to answer the 5Ws and 1H: who they are, what they need or what their problems are; when, where, and why they need these, and how they go about fulfilling these needs or solving their problems. This is done through in-depth market research and using analytics data from visitors to your website. Include in your research what your target market’s unique preferences and behaviors are, as these will help you in segmenting them.
Align Your Key Messaging and Marketing Strategies to Fit Your Audience
Ask yourself how you can make your target clients’ lives better and why they should choose you above anyone else in your industry. Your detailed answers to these will guide you in crafting your key messaging and branding, as well as guide you in fitting your marketing strategies to fit your target market’s needs and preferences. For example, if your target client is a career professional, you wouldn’t use Snapchat or Instagram as marketing channels since these are predominantly used by a younger demographic. You’d fare better using a platform populated by career professionals like LinkedIn. Also, in niche marketing, concentrated marketing campaigns using differentiated products or services and marketing mixes work better. Personal engagement tends to be the most effective, with in-person and word-of-mouth marketing strategies yielding better results and returns.
Creating, maintaining, and protecting a good reputation is key. With so many competitors online, any whiff of scandal or just bad press can demolish it. So, maintain integrity, superior quality standards, and excellent service always. Snuff out any hint of bad news about you and your company with truthfulness, respect, and kindness. Don’t fall prey to viral tricks which lose steam in a few days or weeks. The universal values and principles of goodness still matter. People remember and patronize those companies they feel good about, and goodness feels good.
When the foundations are solid and the strategies are done right, niche marketing enables you to focus your resources, with less competition and higher returns, and with higher loyalty generated from satisfied clients or customers. So, understand who you serve and how you can best serve them. Even as a small company, you can not only survive but thrive, because what you’re doing is serving the needs of people that bigger companies would probably have missed out on with their more generic, mass marketing strategies.