Monday, March 26, 2012

What's Your Niche?

When we started Mission Research waaayyyy back in 2002 (though I had been working on it prior to that), we thought we had focus--the nonprofit sector.

1.5 million nonprofits, totally unserved by easy to use, affordable software. And we were going to get them all :)

It turns out that the viable market--active nonprofits that raise money from donors--is much smaller. It's a good market, but it's not 1.5 million strong.

Within that sector, there are several niches that perform very well for the company (which I won't mention here). It makes sense to target those niches--invest research and marketing activities to help accelerate and expand our presence there.

When you're starting out, it's tough to focus on a niche or two, because 1) you don't know which niche will perform really well for you and 2) you're naturally greedy--you want to serve everyone.


Let me reframe that positively (in deference to yesterday's post): you're naturally helpful and want to serve everyone.

But you can't serve everyone when you're starting out, and shouldn't.

So what niches works well for you? How can you discover that, especially when you have a generalized solution?

It takes time, and it takes test marketing. You should use a number of tactics, track everything, measure it well, and you'll start to see who buys from you more than the others.

What tactics? I'm not a marketing pro, but I'd say try these, noting that the quality of the list is foundational for success:

  • Direct mail. Yes, people still open mail.
  • Online survey through Zoomerang or other company that offers targeted audiences
  • Google Ads, targeted toward different sectors
  • email marketing--again the list is really, really important. 
All should funnel them into your sales process. 

If you don't know what your sales process is, we'll talk about that sometime soon, but break it down into phases that describe the customer's decision process and your specific tasks needed move them from one phase to the next, because most won't move on their own. 

 Beautiful day out there--two short bike rides scheduled and a ton of code to write, fix, fix again :)




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