#40/111: Niche and Grow Rich

What is it about?

Jennifer and Peter Sander show how to find a niche, receive press coverage and write a business plan. I’ll focus on the idea/niche generation because this is the best part of this book.

Key points?

Shrink big markets: Let’s take the cook book market. There are a lot of generic cook books but also a lot of niches, like cook books for allergic persons or cook books for students. You can try this in nearly every market.

Adapt working niches: Take an existing successful niche and try to use it in another environment. For example, Stack Overflow created a niche Q&A site for programmers, today there are Q&A sites for sys admins, cooking or startups.

Update old ideas: This approach is probably a bit harder. You take old ideas and try to change a fundamental key attribute. E.g. Starbucks took the idea of Italian Caf├ęs and combined it with an extreme growth strategy.

Conclusion

The first quarter of this book was pretty good, which covered the idea generation. The rest is sadly a bit outdated and partly too shallow. Though, these tips for finding niches are great!

#39/111: Think Outside the Inbox

What is it about?

David Cummings and Adam Blitzer explain how to automate your sales process and how marketing automation can save you time and increase your customer count.

Key points?

Segment your customers: It’s nothing new to segment your customers into age, location or job occupation. But you could also segment your customers into their willingness to buy. They propose to add scores for each customer on which they get treated differently. For example, you could give someone +10 points, if he enters his email address or +25 if he downloads the trial. This allows you to tailor individual action to each willingness segment.

Join your customer informations: Most companies got a CRM, website analytics, bid on Adwords and maybe work with salesforce.com. It’s important to collect all data and make it more useful. If you connect your CRM and website analytics, you can ask people why they don’t use your website anymore or offer upgrades for power users. But beware, it shouldn’t be too creepy.

Drip marketing: In Referral Engine I presented this concept at first. It’s about staying in touch with your customers and prospects. You can send them useful information, offer specials or invite them to webinars. It becomes especially powerful if you use it with customer segmentation. You could take people with low willingness scores into a nurture program where you offer them useful information and slowly build a relationship.

Conclusion

There are some really cool ideas which only a few companies use today. I think these tools are extremely powerful and you should really consider starting to employ them. Think Outside the Inbox is not really a how to guide but maybe there is one. If you know one, please comment on this post. Thanks!

#38/111: Riches in Niches

What is it about?

How to thrive at being a niche entrepreneur? Susan Friedmann focuses on service businesses and embraces promotion, promotion and promotion.

Key points?

GEL – Growing, Experience, Love: Consider these three things if you look for a niche. Firstly, the industry should be growing, e.g. elderly care. Secondly, it’s easier to work with your existing knowledge than to learn everything new. Thirdly, choose a niche that you love because it will be hard enough to be motivated the years building your business.

Be an expert: The first step in being a nichepreneur is to build credibility. Learn as much as you can about your niche and share this knowledge. Write a blog, offer webinars, offer seminars or even write a book. This will help your recognition as an expert.

Cultivate your contact with the media: For even greater exposure try to publicize in industry magazines or even regional newspapers. Try to stay in touch with journalists or editors, if you gave them once useful great advice, they will probably contact you in the future.

Conclusion

This book gives a nice view on marketing from an other perspective. I think it works extremely good if you offer your expertise as a service, e.g. coaches, consultants, attorneys, etc. For product companies the most important lesson is to offer free useful information to your customers and prospects.

#37/111: The Referral Engine

What is it about?

How did you first hear about Google? Someone probably recommended it to you. Why are restaurants often fully booked? Mostly because of recommendations. John Jantsch shows how to build a recommendation process for your business. The key to one is content, context, connection and community.

Key points?

Be recommendable: Firstly, you have to be recommendable, i.e. your service has to be outstanding. One example was a kitchen remodeler who always cleaned up the space after a workday. This is simple, but not standard.

Create great and useful (contextual) content: Even if you don’t work online this is a great strategy. Let’s take a kitchen remodeler again, he could probably gave each customer a short booklet with tips for how to buy great kitchen equipment. Or just simple instructions for how to clean the surface. Most customers would be happy to see that you care for them.

Don’t disconnect: Yeah, it’s great to hit one deal, but make it two or three. Try to connect with your customer. Send them thank you notes (handwritten!), send them some useful information or send them a gift. How about three high quality wooden spoons?

Work with a community: The last part is to connect your business to customers and other businesses. Invite your best customers to a dinner so they can create relationships and you can get useful advice from them. Furthermore, try to find businesses that can help you generate more referrals. The kitchen remodeler could build a network with a bath remodeler. Both get more referrals and can help their customers to get high quality work. Don’t build a network with everybody. Select them thoughtfully!

Conclusion

My recommendation is to read this book. Firstly, it is very well written, the format is great and each chapter has a short summarization. Secondly, the advice is really great and there is tons of it. I don’t think that there are people who already doing everything recommended in this book. Thirdly, do I really need more reasons? Yes? OK, John Jantsch gives specific advice for a lot of businesses (e.g. lawn services, computer stores or law firms) and he tells you how to implement his recommendations. Extraordinary book!