Choosing a Niche for Your Agency: 10 Experts Succeeding in Their Niche
With hundreds of thousands of digital agencies around the world, you need to find a way to make your agency stand apart from the pack.
While defining your target client, you may be asking yourself - should you focus on a niche?
Focusing on a niche is a tested strategy to grow and scale your agency fast.
For those of you on the fence in the niche vs. generalist debate, we interviewed 11 agency experts crushing it in their chosen niche.
In this round-up, we'll look at both why they chose their niche and how it contributed to their success.
Each agency in this round-up is in a unique niche, from auto-shops to roofing to the cannabis industry, but each attribute a level of their success to being laser-focused on a specific industry or service.
Here's how to choose (and succeed) in a niche as a digital agency:
Mauricio Cardenal, Founder of Roofing Marketing Pros
Niche: Roofing Contractors
Service: Website Design / Development, SEO, PPC
Digital marketing agencies have become a commodity. There are 500,000 agencies worldwide and one of the best strategies in standing out is by focusing on serving a single niche. When you focus on a single market it allows you to specialize. When you specialize you can charge higher prices, it allows you to scale, and most importantly it allows you to replicate your results," says the founder of Roofing Marketing Pros.
Mauricio Cardenal also gives advice to those still searching for their niche. Start by looking at in-demand, profitable businesses.
"I worked for a general contractor in college and already understood some of the challenges in construction. I looked at the average ticket item for a roof and found that PPC can be very profitable for a roofing company quickly. It made sense to start focusing on roofing since it's an in-demand service," says Cardenal.
And like other agencies focusing on a niche, he attributes his specialization as one of the biggest factors in scaling his agency as quickly as he has. By focusing on his niche, "It has allowed me to build relationships with some of the top influencers in this space."
Nick Fitzgerald, President at AuDSEO
Niche: Hearing Healthcare Digital Marketing
Services: Other, SEO, PPC, Reputation Management, Website Design / Development, Social Media Management
One of the top benefits of choosing a niche is the amount of referrals you can drive within your industry. This is exactly how AudSEO, a marketing agency for hearing healthcare, has grown their business. The President shares their experience:
"We form new relationships (both referral and client) and grow constantly. Ultimately, these new relationships continue to fuel our constant success in the field. Without the focus on this specific niche, it would have been much more difficult to earn the strong reputation we have that earns those relationships.
We work almost 100% on referrals. While digital agencies often think that they should be utilizing digital, we have found that when your market most needs your services, and you have developed a good reputation, you don't need to do a lot of marketing. This does not mean there isn't a place for it, but your number one lead source should be referrals in a niche after a time or something is wrong."
Gabriel Galvez, CMO at Merger Labs
Niche: Middle Market Investment Banking, M&A and Private Equity
Services: SEO, Social Media Management, Website Design / Development, PPC
When searching for a niche to focus on, look where you already have experience. The CMO of MergerLabs, a marketing agency for M&A and Private Equity, shares how they got started:
"Our founding team came from the space, so the issues the industry experienced were our own day to day issues. The agency ended up starting out of sheer demand rather than intent. Our clients saw what we accomplished as their contemporaries and started paying us!"
MergerLabs is also the only real player dedicated exclusively to digital marketing for Private Equity firms. And according to Galvez, "Being able to make claims like that immediately differentiates us in a sea of industry agnostic firms."
And like other niche agencies, it's opened up unique marketing opportunities to reach their niche specifically.
MargerLabs focuses on technical content marketing that targets the issues bankers and investors experience when attempting to source deal flow online. By focusing on a niche, they can pursue a unique content strategy that speaks directly to their target client.
Rod Arnold, Co-Founder of LeadingGood
Niche: Nonprofit Marketing
Services: Website Design / Development, Marketing, Other
LeadingGood helps nonprofits clarify their message and maximize their marketing, so they can raise the money their cause deserves.
The co-founder of LeadingGood, Rod Arnold, shared, "I believe that if you try to do everything, you'll be an expert at nothing. I wanted to do great work, which meant focusing and specializing."
Focusing on a specific market also helps him reach his target clients.
"We've developed a solid reputation within the nonprofit space. And since it's a relatively small, connected community, most of our clients come to us through referrals or word of mouth," shares Arnold.
A specialization not only helped them get more referrals, it also drives their content strategy.
When focusing on a niche, there are very specific problems that you can address for your target client through content. LeadingGood is doing exactly this with a blog focused on nonprofits.
"We're big believers in content marketing. We provide valuable content to nonprofit leaders through videos, blog posts, free downloads, webinars, and a podcast. We genuinely want to help nonprofits succeed, whether they hire us or not, and I think they appreciate that. It's about relationships, not transactions," says Rob Arnold.
Chris Gerspacher, Co-Founder of FirmFinder
Niche: Small Law Firms
Services: SEO, Website Design / Development, Social Media Management, PPC, Reputation Management
For those of you trying to decide how to choose a niche, look at industries where you already have experience and connections.
The founding team at Firm Finder had extensive experience working with a large marketing company as well as one of the largest legal research companies. After learning the ins and outs of marketing as well as the ins and outs of a law firm, they put the two experiences together to focus on their niche.
"Every industry is different. We would rather specialize in the legal industry than be a "jack of all trades," says Chris Gerspacher, founder of FirmFinder.
And choosing a niche has certainly made attracting clients easier.
"Every state has different advertising rules for attorneys. Lawyers appreciate the fact that we know the legal industry and have other attorneys writing their content that know the bar rules, ethics, practice areas, etc."
Focusing on an industry that has specific legal regulations and understanding those regulations is going to give you an edge over the competition.
John Shute, Founder of PufCreativ
Niche: The Cannabis Industry
Services Offered: SEO, Social Media Management, Reputation Management, Website Design & Development, PPC
Marketing within in the cannabis is another industry that has strict regulations around what kind of advertising you can and can't do.
Which means PufCreativ, a cannabis marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado, has to get creative with the strategies they create for clients.
"We have to implement unique marketing strategies, and they change very frequently due to the lack of cannabis advocacy on Google and Facebook," says Shute.
Another benefit to choosing a niche, in addition to differentiating yourself, is that you also get to focus on an industry you're passionate about. That's why John Shute chose to pursue marketing within his niche.
"Marketing for the cannabis industry provides a very unique opportunity to not only generate revenue, but to also do good in the community. There's so many different ways cannabis can help society and we hope to shed as much light as possible on those areas," says PufCreativ's founder.
They work with cannabis companies and other businesses within the space, like Vaped, which gives them a narrow market with many tangential opportunities.
Marcus McNeill, Co-Founder of Magic
Niche: Mindfulness, Sustainability
Services: PPC, Social Media Management, SEO, Website Design / Development, Reputation Management
Magic got started in their niche for two very simple reasons. According to their Co-Founder, Marcus McNeill, they chose their niche because:
It's why we exist. It's the work we deeply care about doing in the world.
Our "whitehat" values and hyper-unique experience separate us from the "greyhat" pack. Showing a track record of success in a specific industry removes risk from our customers' eyes.
Choosing a niche contributed to their success "immeasurably."
"We've attracted legendary partners, clients, and team members because they are aligned with our purpose. Because we're clear about the impact we want to make in the world, the right people keep showing up and linking arms with us. It's pure magic."
And focusing on a niche helps Magic get in front of the right people through public speaking and events.
"Public speaking at events for purpose-driven entrepreneurs has been the most powerful technique. We grow the fastest when I have a microphone in my hand," says McNeill.
Guy Anderson, Founder of WildHeartMedia
Niche: Yoga and Wellbeing Businesses
Services: SEO, Website Design / Development, Other
WildHeart Media started as a generalist content marketing agency, without a specific niche.
However, they simply weren't getting enough organic leads on their website in such a competitive market. They decided to narrow down their focus to a niche that both their founder and head of content were passionate about - yoga.
And that decision made it much easier to speak directly and appeal to their target client.
Hannah Moss, the Content Queen of WildHeart Media shares:
"Concentrating our focus on yoga and wellbeing businesses has enabled us to be much clearer about what we offer and how we can help people. Many yoga business owners see 'marketing' as a dirty word, because they don't want to feel like they're 'selling' yoga. What we help them to see is that marketing their business simply means sharing yoga with more people - which can only be a good thing!"
A clearer message isn't the only benefit WildHeart Media experienced.
Hannah Moss also shared, "The insight we have as yoga practitioners and teachers gives us a competitive edge over any other marketing agency. The services we offer have been designed by yogis for yogis - we know the yoga world, we know our customers' audience, and we know what works."
Abby Lancaster, Autoshop Solutions
Niche: Automotive Aftermarket
Services: Social Media Management, PPC, SEO, Website Design / Development, Reputation Management
Autoshop Solutions CEO, Danny Sanchez, owned and managed an auto repair shop. After seeing the need for an automotive-specific marketing company, he built Autoshop Solutions with a few employees and grew into the agency it is today.
"Being that Autoshop Solutions only focuses on the automotive aftermarket, we have unique experience researching and establishing trends specifically for the automotive aftermarket. Focusing on a specific niche allows us to be experts in marketing tactics for our clients," says Abby Lancaster, the marketing specialist on their team.
Focusing on a niche has helped Autoshop Solutions in multiple ways, including opening up doors to events within the industry.
"Trade shows are common in the automotive aftermarket and many of our clients attend for the training opportunities. Our CEO is an AMI (Automotive Management Institute) Accredited Instructor. We get exposure at these trade shows by being both an exhibitor and a speaker," shares the team.
Dave Granfield, CEO of BidPixel
Niche: Facebook Advertising Management
Choosing a niche doesn't have to just be focusing on a specific industry.
You can also specialize in a very specific service. Which is exactly what BidPixel, a Facebook advertising agency, has done.
Co-founder of BidPixel shares, "We have transitioned from a full-service agency to niching down to be excellent at just one thing."
And it's been massively impactful for their success. "We have a lot of client and industry respect for our choice to niche down. We've won more awards and got more recognition since we decided to be laser focused."
Choosing a niche is a well-tested strategy to stand apart in a sea of generalists.
Each of the niche agencies shared how specializing helped drive their success to some degree, whether it was through increased referrals, connections at industry events, or a stronger content strategy.
What niche are you considering? Let us know in the comments!
Written by Rebecca Bowden
Marketing Director at AgencyAnalytics. Rebecca is based in Fort Collins, CO. When she's not focused on marketing, you'll find her skiing or hiking in the Rockies.