How to find leads in a niche market

Here’s the caveat, disclaimer, and warning for this post: I am not a marketing guy.

Far from it. I’m analytical through and through. I’m the guy you want to keep your finance and operations running smoothly. I’m not the guy to wine and dine clients or dream up clever marketing campaigns.

But I also believe that even the most green-shaded numbers people need to have some understanding of marketing. They still need to convince people to hire them and sell their ideas to those they work with.

This post definitely isn’t going to impress any marketing gurus, and it probably won’t even impress anyone at all. But that’s okay — this post is for me. It’s my attempt to think through concepts that don’t come naturally to me.

Even though marketing is not my strength, I am intrigued by business building. And it’s pretty tough to build a business without some degree of marketing effort.

I’m particularly intrigued by online marketing techniques. As pervasive as the Internet is in our lives now, about 20 years after going mainstream, it’s still in its infancy. Whether a business exists solely online, solely offline, or a mix of the two, online marketing should be part of a growth strategy.

The Internet makes niche markets more accessible.

I like to use barber shops as an example. 20 years ago I lived in a small town with 1 barber. Not 1 barber shop — 1 barber. Providing bookkeeping services to barber shops in that town would not be a feasible niche.

In contrast, today a bookkeeper can market to thousands of potential barber shop clients right from the comfort of his own home. He could build a nice business by servicing only a small percentage of those potential clients, again from the comfort of his home.

Here are some ideas for finding leads in a niche market:

  1. Identify a niche with a need you can fill. Barber shops need bookkeeping services.
  2. Find a test client. Confirm that there really is a need and that you can profitably meet that need. Make them happy so they will be willing to refer you to their colleagues in the same niche.
  3. Build a landing webpage that simply, clearly, and briefly explains what niche you serve and how you serve it. Have a clear call to action that takes them to the next step, such as a form that collects their email address so you can follow up with leads. You don’t need a full website or even your own domain name to get started. You can build landing pages with services like Leadpages, Unbounce, or Instapage.
  4. Find ways to drive traffic to your landing page. Target your niche through Facebook ads or Google Adwords. As your test client to send the link to colleagues in the industry. Join Facebook, LinkedIn, and other groups that serve that niche.
  5. Provide some free value to entice people to provide their email address. Offer an ebook, infographic, or webinar.
  6. Continue to provide value after collecting email addresses. For example, start a blog with an email newsletter that provides free and helpful content for that niche.
  7. Serve new clients like a rock star so they become your best lead source.

There you go. Marketing tips from a numbers guy. It’s been helpful for me to think through these options as I think about how to grow my business.

Question: What online marketing techniques do you use to reach a niche market?

Read this post on my blog, Venture CFO