I’ve told this story many times, but I don’t think I’ve actually written about it.
6 years ago, I was living with Bryan in his house. We were business partners, best friends and also room mates. It was a great time in my life because since Bryan and I spent so much time together, all we did was talk about Stodzy and how were we going to grow it. We spent all our waking hours talking about how we could improve and how we could continue to get great at our craft.
One night I stumbled across an article that completely changed our business.
I haven’t been able to find the article since, but I know the author was a man named Mike Ramsey. He is the founder and CEO of Nifty Marketing. In the article, Mike told a story about one of his mentors giving him advice on starting his online marketing company. He said “there at 30,000 online marketing agencies in the country, why is yours any different?”
In the article, Ramsey recounts that it was that exact moment he knew he had to specialize, so he decided to specialize on local marketing.
When I read that, it was the exact moment I knew that I also had to specialize, so that is why I decided to specialize in behavioral health industries.
How Has Specializing Helped Me?
The best thing it did was it centralized my focus.
When you are running an online marketing agency, there are so many different tactics, strategies, trends, and concepts to monitor. The game changes so fast. There is no way I felt like I would be able to keep up with everything because it would require me to spend an enormous amount of time reading when I like to spend my time working.
So when we specialized our niche, we subsequently specialized our skill set because not all marketing tactics worked in our niche. For instance, Instagram is a terrible marketing vertical for the healthcare industry. There was no reason for me or my team to spend time getting good at Instagram. We were able to double down on our search engine optimization skills, because we knew this was the most effective method to help our clients.
This meant that we spent more and more time getting good at the one thing that would make us the most money and provide the best results for our clients.
Digital marketing is a huge skill set. The more refined you can be in your approach, the more effective you will be in creating a return. There is really no such thing as an expert “jack of all trades” in online marketing. That kind of work should be considered maintenance as opposed to marketing.
When I decided to specialize was when I decided to become a pro. Not a pro at everything but a pro at one thing. We incrementally grew the value of our company and I grew my confidence and hopefully the confidence of my team.
Why Should You Specialize?
Granted, my particular journey was about growing an online marketing agency. But that doesn’t mean this concept only applies to people who are also growing agencies.
This concept applies to everything.
The smaller you go, the better your chances of success. I have seen many examples of companies hitting huge growth because of their choice to go niche. Here are some quick examples.
Copyblogger – They sell online products that help you build an online business. But they don’t just sell you marketing products, they sell you “content marketing” products.
LivFit Apparel – Maybe one of the best apparel success stories of the last 5 years. LivFit made it big because they specialized in “fitness” apparel that would be fashionable in every day living.
Chris Ducker – A branding expert who has built a business off of his membership platform. But he’s not just selling any branding products, he is in the business of “personal branding.”
Casey Neistat – One of the most successful YouTubers ever. But Casey made his killing not by just making YouTube videos, but by making personalized vlogs in a way that only he could.
Are you starting to see a trend here? It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, what business you are trying to get into or what vertical you are trying to tackle. The more specific you get, the more you can refine your brand, your message and your identity.
This will only help you in bringing in more sales and in expanding upon your overall awareness.
How Should You Get Started?
This is the question of the ages isn’t it?
Here’s my advice. Just start. Set aside time every day to build upon the core of your business. With that being said, you have to accept that things are going to change.
When I started Stodzy, I didn’t plan on being an addiction treatment marketing expert. I just knew I liked working on websites and I liked working on SEO. But I saw an opportunity and I took it.
There is always an opportunity, but the opportunity will come once you learn about your space and when you get some experience.
So get started. Be willing to look a little foolish in the beginning while you stumble around and find what it is that you are actually working towards. The answers will come, but answers won’t come through deep thinking and meditation. Answers come through repetitive action, trial and error and falling on your face.
Send me a reply with some of your ideas. What is a business idea you have? How are you trying to be specific in a niche? Are you starting too broad? Maybe your not starting small enough.
Leave me a comment below and let’s chat. 🙂