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Jun/13

5

A Great Example of How You Can Market to a Niche

I subscribe (it’s free) to IShade.com’s Daily Digest of information of interest to accounting practitioners, and a very recent headline was “SICA Credits Encourage Jobs and Innovation.”  A link then led me to an article on CFO.com’s site.

What I read is an almost perfect example of breaking information that you can use to market your expertise to given niche.

In this instance the article was about a pending bipartisan proposal introduced in the US Congress that would extend the R&D credit to startup companies, not just established companies with the requisite income tax liability the credit can be applied to.

How can this information be used?  Here’s an illustration of how you might do it:

If I am an accountant who serves the small to medium business community it is almost certain that I can generate a database of the attorneys I’ve come into contact with while serving my business client’s accounting and tax needs.

Further, since all these attorneys were involved in my client’s small to medium business issues, I’m going to make the leap and assume they all have more similarly situated business clients.

I then write a blog, newsletter, alert or letter explaining how this proposal has real potential of becoming a law and how it can benefit “our” clients.  Then, whether by email or snail mail, I send a copy of my write up to all the, say, 30 attorneys on my list.

OK, now let’s switch places and assume the role of an attorney who has received your information.  What is our reaction to the communication?  Remember, you aren’t annoying recipients with basic information they will soon see in USA Today; instead you are providing esoteric and potentially valuable knowledge to those attorneys serving the small business niche.

There’s always a few – maybe five – who will be mildly offended that you sent them an unsolicited communication, but they probably get offended at almost everything anyway.  Can’t help that.  The majority will take note and move on with their day.  A few will have something going on that makes your information potentially valuable and they will consider it more carefully and perhaps do some further investigation.

Will any of the attorneys have an Aha! moment and immediately refer a prospective client to you?  Probably not, but marketing isn’t an event, it is a process.

What else have you gained from your initiative?  For one thing, you’ve positively impacted your visibility, brand and image among a percentage of the attorneys.  You have positioned yourself on some radar screens where previously you didn’t appear.  Some who know you will place you a bit higher in the visibility scale.  Others may reinforce their belief that you are a skilled accountant.  Some will reach the preliminary conclusion that you are technically current and that you take a proactive approach to both your practice and how you interact with fellow professionals.

The bottom line is that all the recipients will have some reaction to receipt of your information.  As noted, a few will be put off.  Not much, but they will be.  That’s life.  With the other, say, 25, the reactions will range from neutral to highly positive.  And, in every instance, you have made yourself more visible within that population of attorneys.

Three weeks pass and several of these attorneys are going to be asked, e.g. “Julie, can you refer an accountant to me?  My present guy only does 1040s.”  Who is she going to suggest?

Before you sent your information to Julie she never would have thought of you.  Now?  Maybe so, especially if her client is starting a new business.

After this first effort it gets easier.  All the recipients are in the computer.  Wait a few months, find another relevant piece of breaking news and do it again.  Build your reputation within the niche with each offering.

This is called content marketing, and it works well.  Don’t forget to post your write up on your website, Facebook page, LinkedIn, blog, etc.  When you create a piece of unique content like this the best practice is to always find additional uses for it.

Accounting-related news alerts such as the iShade Daily Digest offer an easily accessed source of fresh information that, if you jump on it right away, allows you to be at the head of the line.  This positions you the leader, the innovator, the expert.

The breadth of information that comes across the ‘net is incredible.  If you plug into a stream that touches a given service niche it affords you the opportunity to establish differentiation from your competitors by grabbing the information and being first across the finish line with it.

This is a sophisticated and highly effective way to market yourself and your practice to potential referral sources you might otherwise never interact with.

I’m interested in how you have used information to market yourself to a niche.  Please tell me of your successes so I can pass them on to others.

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