How and why you must niche your marketing agency
In the world of marketing agencies (or indeed any business), having a niche is essential. A marketing agency niche is a specific area of focus within a larger industry, and it will be a key factor in the success of your marketing agency since you will become known as a specialist rather than a generalist.
In this article, we will explore why a niche is important, how to find your niche, and provide a number of examples of different niches and different ways to niche that all types of marketing agencies (including digital marketing agencies) can specialise in.
Why is a niche important?
Having a niche allows a marketing agency to become an expert in a particular area of focus and gives you a competitive advantage.
By specialising in a specific industry or niche market, an agency can develop a deep understanding of the unique challenges, pains, trends, and opportunities that exist within that niche. This expertise is invaluable in developing effective marketing strategies, creating content, and executing campaigns that resonate with the target audience.
Crucially, a niche can help a marketing agency differentiate itself from competitors. By focusing on a particular area of expertise (e.g., digital marketing services for e-commerce businesses, content marketing for SME businesses in London, social media marketing in tech etc.), an agency can position itself as the go-to provider for clients who need marketing services within that niche. This can lead to increased brand recognition, better reputation, and higher-quality leads.
It also means you are seen as a specialist rather than a generalist, and the specialist expert will always be able to charge higher fees than the generalist and will more easily be able to find and win new business.
After all, if you needed knee surgery, you wouldn’t go to your GP. You would go to a knee surgeon specialist, and guess which of those two would charge higher fees? And indeed, you would be happy to pay the higher fees because you instantly put your trust in the knee surgeon’s experience to get rid of your pain as quickly as possible.
The same is true for a niche marketing agency.
Once you have a clear niche with a clearly defined customer base, you can start to systemise your business by documenting all your processes. This means it becomes simpler to onboard new staff, and it makes it much easier for your agency to scale (because you are building a robust platform for growth). Ultimately this makes your marketing agency much more saleable and more valuable.
There are many reasons why a niched agency will always win out against a generalist and now you buy into the idea of making sure your agency is niched, we need to explore how to find your niche.
When shouldn’t you niche?
Now I wanted to make this article as unbiased as possible, so here are some scenarios where it may not be in your best interest to niche down but stay as a generalist:
· When the agency is just starting out and does not have enough experience or expertise in a specific area to specialise (although in this scenario, I would still encourage you to pick a niche to start with and then develop your specialist skills within this niche)
· When the agency operates in a small or rural market where there may not be enough demand for a specialised service (although then you would likely be niching by geography)
· When the agency has a team of generalists with a diverse skillset, rather than a team of specialists with a narrow focus
· When the agency wants to stay flexible and adaptable to changing market conditions and client needs, rather than being locked into a specific niche
These are some reasons why you may decide to stay at generalist, but there is a counterargument for each of the above points! It’s worth remembering that you will find it much easier to attract your ideal target customer as a niched marketing agency. And indeed, your ideal target customer will be able to find you much more easily.
How do you find your niche?
For some, their niche will be obvious (based on their background or area of expertise), but for others, it can be a challenge, and this often leads to remaining a generalist.
Finding your niche requires careful consideration of your agency’s strengths, passions, and market demand.
Tackle Your Mindset First
Before jumping into outlining the steps to identify your agency’s niche, let me tackle one thing that might stop you, and that is MINDSET.
When working with an agency to help them find a niche, they often run several thoughts in their head that stop them from niching down, so I want to burst those bubbles or change these thoughts before we jump into how to find your niche.
False thought 1: “But I will lose business if I niche.”
Ask yourself how many clients you’re currently winning as a generalist and know that the opposite is true - that the more niche down, the more of the specialist you are seen as, and customers will always buy from an expert over a generalist.
False thought 2: “Surely if I have a broad range of products/services and promote them to a wider audience, the more business I will win?”
Again, the opposite of this is true. When you are seen as a generalist - with a wide range of services promoted to a broad generalist audience, the only way you can differentiate yourself is by being cheaper, which becomes a race to the bottom.
Whereas having a very defined audience with a narrow product range means you’ll be able to find your ideal target customer more easily and charge higher fees (think back to the knee surgeon story).
How to find the right niche for your marketing agency
So now you have the right mindset, here are some steps to help you identify the best digital marketing niche for your agency.
1. Analyse your agency’s strengths
Identify the areas where your agency excels. This could be anything from creative design to data analysis, digital marketing services to content marketing. Look for the areas where you consistently deliver high-quality results to clients and where you have the inhouse skills.
Ask yourself, ‘where do we get the best results?”
2. Consider your passions
Identify areas that you and/or your team are passionate about. What type of projects and potential clients do you really enjoy working on? This can help keep your team motivated and invested in their work.
Ask yourself, ‘what type of clients and work do we most enjoy doing?’
3. What type of work are you most profitable doing?
Do some analysis of past projects and clients, and work out what type of client and what type of project gives you the best profits.
Ask yourself, ‘what projects give us the best profits?”
Take the results from the above three areas and look at where they overlap - this will show you your niche
And some extra questions to consider:
Assess your market demand
Identify areas where there is high demand for marketing services. Research industries that are growing rapidly or have unique marketing needs that are not being met by other agencies.
Evaluate your competition
Identify niches that your competitors are not serving. Look for gaps in the market where there is high demand but little competition.
What your niche can be
Remember, your niche isn’t necessarily solely the sector you serve, but also it could be a geographic niche, a technology niche or a niche that solves a specific problem or a combination of all 4!
Let’s examine these in more detail below.
This one is self-explanatory: you can choose to serve a market based on geographic location.
This can be a good strategy when knowing the area is a competitive advantage.
Understanding the lay of the land and being able to “speak the language” of your target audience is often an invaluable asset in winning their business.
By Industry/Vertical Sector
Examples of industries/verticals include pharmaceuticals, telecoms, tech, and education.
These sector definitions are quite broad, so it can be a good idea to niche down even further by identifying a sub-sector in the niche e.g., rather than serving tech companies, you could drill down and focus on helping consumer tech start-ups or B2B SaaS companies.
Examples of deliverables/services you may provide could include PR, web development, SEO etc. Once again, it’s important to ask yourself if the specific service you’ve identified is niched enough… or if it’s too broad.
If it is too broad, you need to establish a niche position that makes you look like a specialist, not a generalist.
For example, you don’t just offer PR services - you’re an expert in Crisis Communications. You’re not just a web developer - you’re a web developer that specialises in integrating CRM systems.
By The Problem You Solve
Sometimes, you’ll find that a lot of your clients are facing broadly similar problems. E.g., you help start-ups win funding from competitive grant programs, or you help financial practitioners generate more leads for their services.
If you habitually help your clients with the same problems, you could consider basing your business around solving this problem. And if you can explain how and why you are uniquely qualified to serve this sector, you’ll do just fine!
38 Examples of Marketing Agency Niches
Let’s bring this to life by sharing some example niches. To start with here are 11 sector-specific niches:
- Healthcare Marketing: This niche requires expertise in healthcare regulations, patient communications, and medical terminology.
- Technology Marketing: This niche requires knowledge of technology trends and software development, and an understanding of the specific marketing challenges that technology companies face.
- E-commerce Marketing: This niche requires knowledge of online shopping behaviour, conversion optimisation, and e-commerce platforms.
- Real Estate Marketing: This niche requires knowledge of the real estate industry, property management, and real estate trends.
- Food and Beverage Marketing: This niche requires knowledge of food trends, food production, and restaurant operations.
- Non-Profit Marketing: This niche requires an understanding of fundraising, donor management, and advocacy.
- Luxury Brand Marketing: This niche requires knowledge of luxury consumer behaviour, premium product development, and premium pricing strategies.
- Education Marketing: This niche requires an understanding of educational technology, student recruitment, and the unique marketing challenges facing educational institutions.
- Financial Services Marketing: This niche requires knowledge of financial regulations, investment products, and wealth management.
- Travel and Tourism Marketing: This niche requires knowledge of travel trends, hospitality management, and destination marketing.
- Fashion Marketing: This niche requires knowledge of fashion trends, consumer behaviour, and retail operations.
Some examples here could be;
- A WordPress e-commerce web development agency
- Search engine optimisation (SEO) for tech companies or products
- Social media marketing for technology products or services
- Content marketing and blogging for businesses or organisations with an online presence
- Influencer marketing for technology-related influencers and thought leaders
- Email marketing for tech companies looking to engage with their customers and leads
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for technology products or services
- Product launch marketing for new technology products or services
- Search engine optimization (SEO) for small to medium-sized businesses in the UK
- Social media management for businesses looking to grow their online presence and reach
- Analytics and tracking for businesses looking to measure and improve their online performance
- Branding and graphic design for businesses looking to establish or refresh their brand identity.
Niching by the problem you solve
Here are some examples of niches a marketing agency could specialise in based on the problem they solve for their clients:
- Lead generation and conversion optimization for businesses struggling to generate leads and convert them into customers
- Reputation management for businesses with negative online reviews or a tarnished brand image
- Crisis communication and public relations for businesses facing a crisis or negative press coverage
- Branding and messaging for businesses that need to establish a clear brand identity or message
- Marketing automation for businesses looking to streamline their marketing processes and scale their efforts
- Sales funnel optimization for businesses that need help with their sales process or improving their conversion rates
- Website performance optimisation for businesses with slow or outdated websites that are negatively impacting their online presence
- Market research and analysis for businesses looking to better understand their customers or competitors.
Niching by geography
This one is self-explanatory, but some examples could include:
- Local SEO and marketing for businesses in a specific city or region
- Tourism marketing for businesses in a specific tourist destination, such as a beach town or ski resort
- Real estate marketing for businesses in a specific region or city, such as luxury homes or condos
- Economic development marketing for cities, counties, or states looking to attract new businesses and residents
- Multicultural marketing for businesses looking to reach specific ethnic or cultural groups in a particular region or city
- Political marketing for candidates or campaigns in a specific city, state, or region
- Destination marketing for convention and visitors bureaus in a specific city or region, such as promoting business travel or tourism.
The Most Powerful Resources for Niching Your Business
In this section, I'm going to share resources that will help you niche your agency.
We've previously talked about some of the things that might be holding you back from building a profitable niche agency, like false beliefs, not taking the time to examine your business and the fear of missing out on other niches you don’t choose… all of these factors can hold back your agency from hitting its growth plans. Growing your agency is challenging enough - you don’t need all this extra baggage complicating matters too!
As a coach to over 350 agencies, I've developed some really useful tools that I want to share with you. First up, you can get a free copy of my "Defining Your Niche" Gude. It's packed with tons of valuable information, including the difference between niche and generalist agencies, a simple framework for assessing where your business is at, and tips on how to get where you want to be.
If you're new to the concept of niching, I highly recommend checking out the book "Blue Ocean Strategy". It's a game-changer and has helped many of my coaching clients. The book explains that you don't have to compete in overcrowded markets, instead, you can find your own "blue ocean" - an untapped or underserved niche where you can establish yourself as the dominant force.
Next up, we have the Customer Personas Workbook, which you can also get for free. Customer personas are crucial to your niching efforts, and this workbook will guide you through the process of understanding your target market's needs and tailoring your business to their desires.
Lastly, we have keyword research tools like Keywords Everywhere which can help you assess the viability of your chosen niche without committing a lot of time and money.
To make this even more actionable, I've outlined the next steps you should take in a free One-Page Action Plan. If you're interested, just fill in the form below for instant access. Let's get started on niching your business!
Finding your niche is essential to the success of your marketing agency. The value of having a clearly defined niche cannot be understated. In my experience, niche agencies outperform generalist ones in almost every way. They:
- Earn higher revenues
- Have better client retention rates
- Have higher employee satisfaction levels
- Build stronger relationships with their clients (because they’re seen as trusted experts, not just suppliers)
Running a niched agency doesn’t entrap you - it frees you to build a business that delivers great results to clients, earns you the fees you deserve, and allows you to work on projects you’re excited about.
Your ideal niche is at the intersection of profitability, your ability to deliver results to clients, and what you’re excited about (Money, Passion and Results). Making anything else your focus is unsustainable in the long run.
Once you’ve picked a digital marketing niche, you have to commit to it. All of your outbound communication (including your website) should demonstrate your understanding of that niche and your ability to solve their problems. Websites or ads that miss the mark with this will hold your digital marketing agency back and cause you to lose out on lots of business, so it’s worth paying attention to.
Having a clearly defined niche to serve is important in any industry. Web design, marketing, 3D architectural rendering, and even for coffee shops - businesses need to pick a niche to serve above all others if they hope to succeed in these spaces.
My aim with this article was to teach you everything you need to know to start niching your marketing agency today. With the tools, processes, templates and frameworks we’ve discussed here, I’m confident that you can:
- Get your mindset right about choosing a niche for your business (you won’t be missing out - in fact, it will help your agency do better than ever before)
- Determine what the right niche is for you (by looking at your existing business & customers, seeing what kind of work you enjoy doing, what you’re good at, where you’re located…)
- Develop crystal-clear customer personas → extremely important when it comes to succeeding as a niche agency
- Use the resources I’ve provided to simplify the process, helping you to establish a niche position for your business faster and easier than ever before