How to dominate any niche or industry

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Dominating niches is actually pretty simple. It takes some legwork, and it takes hard work to get it going, but overall it’s pretty simple.

Now, when I say “dominating a niche,” I mean you become a “go to” guy or gal for a specific industry. In our creative marketing agency, we’re starting to do this for a specific niche of food packaging. In the past, we’ve done it for fitness and a couple of other industries too.

In fact, to grow our new PSD to HTML & WordPress company, Reliable (check us out!), we used a variation of the method below.

I’ve used this exact method to build businesses around a variety of industries, and I’ve helped other businesses dominate and grow like crazy through it, too. It takes some work to set up, but the end-result is a steady stream of work and passive income.

Sidenote: Once you finish, read how 4 freelancers built recurring revenue models that changed their business. You'll love it.

Step 1: Create your “bandwagon”

There is almost no force more powerful than a lot of other people saying your services rock.

It provides “evidence” that you really are who you say you are – and as people we really are social creatures. We’re drawn toward the restaurant with a 2-hour waiting list over the restaurant that’s totally empty. If a lot of people say something is good, we tend to give it a shot.

So your first step is to create a “bandwagon” of people in the industry you want to tackle who say you’re the shiz. That way, you inspire other people in that industry to “hop on the bandwagon,” as they say.

You'll also enjoy this episode of our new podcast...

This is pretty easy. You pick 10 people in that niche, and you give them free work with the understanding that they’ll provide you a testimonial (assuming, of course, that you deliver on your promises) at the end.

You can explain to them that you’re launching a new website / branding / etc. service just for people in their industry, and you want them to be your free “test kitchens.”

I’m sure they’d be happy to oblige.

For example, if you want to be the go-to website person for an industry, you’re going to do 10 free websites. For brochures, you’re doing 10 free brochures.

This does three things:

One: Gives you those precious testimonials that will sell for you like crazy.

Two: Gives you a portfolio of 10 industry-specific samples to show off in your marketing.

Three: Gives you a chance to interact with a lot of professionals in that industry so you can learn their lingo. This is important, because if you use that lingo in your marketing efforts, it shows you really know their industry.

Pro Tip: Make sure their testimonials address specific objections and pain-points that lots of professionals in their industry have. Testimonials should counter objections and back up the claims you make in your copy.

Step 2: Create your marketing

Now that you’ve got 10 testimonials, you either want to create a separate page on your website or a separate website altogether that markets your niche-specific services only.

It’s important that this page be branded just for this industry.

It shouldn’t be a paragraph lumped into your “services” page. The portfolio pieces shouldn’t be lumped in with your others. It all needs to be separate and specific to this industry.

On this page / site, talk about why your services rock, display your samples in a cool fashion, and post all 10 of your testimonials. You can even put a snazzy headline before the testimonials to introduce them such as:

“Check out what your fellow [accountants / fitness pros / dentists / etc.] are saying about our websites.”

Also, make sure you explain how your product solves those pain points I mentioned earlier, and make sure you use industry-specific lingo throughout your copy as well. And it’d go a long way to brand this industry-specific service with a relevant name, like: “Kick-Butt Fitness Websites.”

That’s pretty lame – but you get the picture. Give it a name that will appeal to pros in the industry you’re targeting.

Once again, it’s important that you have 10 testimonials for this page because…

One: When people scroll through 10 testimonials, it feels like a lot. They’re going to think, “Holy crap, these guys must be good.”

Two: Ten testimonials gives you ten opportunities to tackle every objection and pain point your market is experiencing. You never know which ones the person on your page is experiencing, so you want to cover them all.

Three: There will also be repetition among the testimonials. When things are repeated, they’re emphasized. These benefits of your services will be remembered.

Step 3: Promote

Use Facebook, forums, guest blogging, Google Adwords, direct mail, etc. to drive other professionals in your targeted industry to your new website you created that’s all about them.

Here are some valuable resources to help you with that:

You can use the direct mail letter from this post and customize it to talk about the niche you’re targeting.

You can use this other post to build great referral partners using the “Human Billboard Method.” (In fact, you might want to even use the “Human Billboard” method to target your 10 freebies.)

And you can check out this quick Google Adwords Express guide to help with that.

Basically, now you just need to focus your efforts on driving traffic, and refining the sales message on your new site, and you’ve got yourself a well-oiled, client-generating machine.

So just to summarize…

– Create your bandwagon (of no less than 10 industry professionals!)

– Create your website

– Promote (AKA drive traffic to your new website)

It’s honestly that simple. And if you’re not afraid of some good old fashioned hard work – it’s not too difficult either.

Questions? Thoughts? Suggestions?

Leave them in the comments!

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About David Tendrich

David Tendrich is the co-head of creative agency Unexpected Ways, as well as the co-founder of Reliable PSD: the first-ever PSD to HTML & PSD to Wordpress service run by designers, for designers. He co-runs his companies from Portland, Oregon with his lovely wife and biz partner, Lou Levit.

 

More about David’s business: David is co-founder of Reliable PSD – what happened when a group of designers got fed up with PSD to Code companies… and created their own. Check them out, and see why freelancers & agencies are head over heels for this amazing new service.

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Comments

  1. Fantastic advice David! I’ve been procrastinating on picking a niche for far too long, I know success is not complicated it just takes work. This post a fantastic kick in the right direction. Thanks!!

  2. Love it. Great tips. Clear and to the point. This says it all, thank you!

  3. Hey David! May I ask why you seem to always mention doing free work in your posts? I understand that may be a successful marketing strategy for you, but I feel it’s too easy to be taking advantage of when providing anything free. Also, how do you get your clients to value you when you don’t value yourself?

    Sorry if this comes off as harsh, it’s just that I’m going to be graduating soon and I can’t afford to do free work when I have loans/bills to deal with.

    • Nicholas,

      Doesn’t sound harsh at all, my man 😉

      There are times when people can pay you in ways which are far more valuable than money. And those ways lead to you making far more money than you would’ve without them.

      I’ll give you a perfect example.

      A couple years back we launched a software that automated some design & copy work we did for clients in a specific niche. To launch the software, and for it to actually sell, we needed testimonials – to create our “band wagon”.

      So we did free design and copy work for a large handful of our partner’s clients (our partner was a key influencer in a certain niche). We did by hand all of the things the software would automate.

      His clients were total go-getters who put our marketing to good use, and got great results. So we launched that software with 10-15 really solid testimonials, and it sold amazingly well.

      It actually turned into something which gave us passive income for a few years with relatively little work after the initial set-up.

      4 years of income that requires just a little bit of maintenance for 10-15 pieces of free work? I’d take that deal any day.

      It’s not just about doing free work. It’s about picking smart free projects that can catapult you to the next level. It’s also how you use the free work yourself to promote yourself (as described in the post).

      Anyways, I understand it can be a challenging concept to grasp – especially because there’s a big hate out there on “free”. But I’m not talking about those manipulative clients who promise you a piece of their company once they “make it” or anything like that.

      I’m talking about projects on your terms, that take you to places you want to go.

      Hope this clears that up a bit for you 🙂 I understand it’s not for everyone though.

      Best,
      David

      • Thanks David, this did clear up for me, but I suggest giving a steep discount than offer for free. That will allow your clients to value you more as well not getting used.

        • Nicholas, glad to hear it cleared things up a bit, however your statement concerns me that the main message didn’t quite get across. Whether you offer a discount or do work for free really is irrelevant – and that’s not what leads to being used or under-valued either. That’s a whole ‘nother topic for another day 😉

          Just to clarify – we’ve never once felt used when implementing this strategy nor do we have any problems with clients not valuing us.

          I’m writing this to hopefully clarify that for you, but just as importantly, for the other readers of Millo who see our convo.

          This isn’t “theory” – this is a powerful blueprint that has existed since product launches have.

          A few popular examples:

          Coca Cola gave away thousands of dollars worth of product to general stores when they first launched to build a tribe of “walking billboards”. My great grandparents were among these store owners.

          Software companies regularly offer free “beta” versions which are in fact fully functional versions that they put out there to build a stash of reviews which they then leverage in their marketing. Red Bull and Monster used to pass out thousands of dollars worth of product a day at college campuses to build their review base.

          Food companies regularly give away thousands of dollars worth of food products to blogs and magazines with the hopes of receiving reviews and praise which they can then leverage and use to establish credibility in new markets.

          And so on.

          I’ve simply formed a plan of how to use it in graphic design – based on my own experiences with it.

          Again, we’ve never had a problem with being used or being under-valued. In fact, just the opposite 😉

          In care,
          David

    • Great topic, David. I knew it would spark some debate when you talk about “Free” work. But the irony is nothing is truly free. I think you’ve tapped into a topic all its own on how you can “profit from free work.” It’s weird, and tricky. But it seems worth trying when you see potential in a return somehow. Do you have an article more in-depth to this already?

  4. I wish this article had of been around 5 months ago but it was still good to read and confirm what I’ve done is the right thing. Thanks for always sharing quality content guys!

  5. How do you pay the bills while doing free work? Especially months of free work if you intend on creating 10 sites?

  6. Love this, David.

    My key takeaway from this article is another reminder on the power of testimonials.

    You’ve heard the education cliche, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

    To me, peppering testimonials and client quotes strategically throughout your brand is like, “I hear you pitch your services and I forget. I see your advertisement and I remember. I do pay attention to what people like me say about you and I understand that you’re the guy for me.”

    A bit wordy, but you get the idea. 🙂 Thanks again for sharing, David!

  7. This is a totally excellent strategy as companies have been offering a limited number of FREE samples of their products for years. Plus, the added benefit is that the suggestion was to ask for a testimonial in exchange for the product or service which is GENIUS. Besides, if you are in a position where you have to work a regular job while you build your business then this should be no problem.

    If you can’t afford to do or offer your service for free to a selected number of potential clients of your choosing in exchange for a testimonial then it may be time to find a regular 9-5 to supplement until you can afford to do so. It’s all about doing whatever it takes (within reason of course) to build your business.

  8. Thanks man! Great tips right there.

  9. Mhmm mhmm mhm this is beautiful motivation to me Dave. I recently registered my company… And this research really gave me a kick…i now know where i’m going Thanks.

  10. Totally agree that positive client testimonials will do most of your selling for you, especially if they address a specific problem that you’ve solved for them. I’ve added two to my site, now to get eight more!

  11. Hi David! Thank you for this information. It is very very useful. I’ve been implementing steps 2 and 3 for nearly 2 years with my website, but still didn’t have big results as I hoped to. Now I see the reason – I missed step 1. Will start implementing it immediately!

  12. At times, people know what to do. It’s the doing aspect that hold people back. Thanks for the nuggets.

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