If having a niche makes you more profitable, you want to get to the new profits as soon as possible.
So how long does it take?
The answer (to this and every marketing question) is of course “it depends”.
It can take a really long time, and it can also be really fast. Depending!
A few of the things it depends on are:
- Is your niche an industry? It can be easier/faster to decide when your niche is an industry – rather than a niche of a type of person, which can be harder to define and clarify.
- How much experience do you have in that niche? If you have lots, it can be quick to decide if you like them, are good at helping them, if it’s profitable.
- Do you have a lot of niche areas you’re considering? The more areas you’re considering, the longer it takes to test them.
- Are you starting really broadly? When your niche starts out as a vague idea (‘businesses who want to grow’) you’ll need more time to get really specific.
- Are you doing it on your own or with help? On your own you’ll begin to second guess yourself, or you won’t know who to ask. Some firms work with us on a ‘marketing planning workshop‘ where we dive deep into niche options & by the end make a clear decision. It’s an investment of time and money, but it speeds the process along.
True content marketing does take time. It can take 24-36 months before you’re fulling implementing it day by day, and getting that drip feed of perfect (or nearly perfect) qualified clients.
This doesn’t mean you don’t get ANY results for a while – it just means it feels harder at first, and the time between wins is longer than it will be in a few years’ time.
It’s okay if things do take a little while. I wouldn’t want you rushing for the sake of it. You want to find a balance between letting yourself take time, but not letting yourself off the hook and saying oh well it takes a long time so we’ll just delay.
Here’s what you can do to speed things up:
Ask people or companies you trust whether this is a good idea, whether it’s a fit for you, whether you’re specific enough.
Pay attention to your clients.
Really, really look at them. Think about the ones you love working with, the ones you’ve delivered the best results for. Make notes after every client meeting, every prospect meeting. Invest a little extra time so the answer becomes more obvious.
Follow others who have a niche.
Look at other accountants (or other businesses) who have an exclusive niche. (I recommend an exclusive niche because it’s so drastic, so obvious.) What do they do well? What messages are they giving? How easy is it for them to sell on their website? What kind of process, pricing, stories do they have?
Track the results from potential niche areas.
Tracking the marketing numbers helps you make a decision based on actual data. How many times was your page viewed? How many followers do you have in that niche? What kind of conversations are you having with that niche category? Remember to look at the numbers as an entire whole, as part of the ‘marketing web’ (integrated and connected). Look for patterns beginning to appear, good or bad. And get advice on these numbers too. For those in our Accelerator group, use the Tracking tab in your content plan template to begin.
Try lots of things.
The more you try (and track), the quicker you’ll be able to see if it’s working. Don’t just create one landing page and hope it magically tells you if this is the niche – create multiple pages. Social posts. Videos. Blog posts. Get help if you need to. And then return to point 4!
Do some failing.
The danger for accountants is looking for the perfect niche, the one that will be right from the beginning with no wasted time. That’s not life and it’s not business. Let’s be clear about failure: as Brian Fanzo says, failure sucks. It’s not positive and we’re not excited about it. But we accept it’s a part of the process in order to get you to the beautiful shining niche you’re seeking. Every niche effort you make will teach you a valuable lesson. Learn it and move on.
Lean in when you get excited.
When you notice a particular kind of work or person or business or action gets you really excited, stop and pay attention to it. What is it you love? What made your heart rate go up and a smile appear on your face? What meeting did you walk away from thinking, “YES, yes, this is why I do what I do”? What email did you get that made your day? Those are going to help you in your niche search.
Some firms seemed to stumble upon a niche and within months were exclusive to that niche only. Other firms are still figuring it out, and they have a number of “specialisms” they’re testing.
Wherever you can go fast, go all in, and pay attention to what’s happening.
Your niche will become clear as you do.