How To Position Yourself As The Expert And Authority In Your Field: Strategy #2 – The Ratcheting Up Strategy
There are many ways to position as the expert and authority in your industry.
The first strategy that we talked about was the Beacon Strategy.
The second strategy, which I’ll share now, is the Ratcheting Up Strategy.
Strategy #2: The Ratcheting Up Strategy
Michael Port is the author of Book Yourself Solid. He is known as an expert and authority on getting clients. He advises coaches, consultants, accountants, graphic designers – and pretty much anyone with a service business – how to book new clients.
But he didn’t start out serving pretty much anyone in a service business to get more clients.
He started off with a niche small enough that he could win in: helping personal trainers getting clients, through marketing strategies that work.
He chose that niche because he himself had been a personal trainer. as a personal trainer, he had struggled with getting clients. So he went and studied marketing to find what worked for him, and got results. He had experienced a problem that lots of people had – then he found a solution.
He knew his target market – because he used to be one of them.
Port delivered that solution to that market, and he succeeded in that niche.
Then he did something different.
He added one more target market to the mix as well – he advised Business Coaches how to get fully booked with clients as well.
Then Accountants. And Lawyers. And Real Estate Agents.
An online dictionary defines “ratcheting up” as a process where you “increase, or make something increase, repeatedly and by small amounts.”
You start somewhere, and you keep adding to it.
That’s what Michael did. He kept “ratcheting it up” one more level at a time, adding new niches to the mix for whom he could apply his proven “getting booked” method and system that he had developed.
Then, ultimately, he could simply position as the authority around helping *anyone* in a service business get booked with more clients.
And that’s when he wrote his best-selling book.
The Ratcheting Up Strategy works by picking a niche small enough that you can win in it – and big enough to support your new or growing business. Like helping personal trainers get booked with new clients.
Then adding new target market segments to your mix.
It’s hard to start out as an authority and icon for an industry. But it’s easy to start out with a small niche – that you can “win” in – and “ratchet up” from there.
In strategic marketing land, there are two kinds of positioning strategies – vertical positioning, and horizontal positioning.
Horizontal Positioning is when you focus on one particular skillset, or solving a particular kind of problem – and you solve that one problem or use that same skill for lots of different market segments.
For example, a Facebook ad lead generation specialist might work on Facebook lead generation campaigns with real estate agents, accountants, business coaches, consultants, graphic designers, and so on – whoever wants to generate leads using Facebook advertising.
Vertical Positioning is when you choose one market sector, and go deeply into serving their needs – potentially using a range of tools to solve different problems.
For example, you might choose to serve tax accountants. You might start off focusing on lead generation for tax accountants, but over time offer other marketing services to meet their needs, such as copywriting, direct mail campaigns, LinkedIn lead generation, webinar funnels, and so on – and then offer even higher level services to meet their needs, such as strategy consulting to align their marketing with their business growth.
The Ratcheting Up Strategy is a horizontal positioning strategy.
The next strategy – the Personalisation Strategy – is a vertical positioning strategy.
To apply the Ratcheting Up Strategy:
- Pick a very specific niche – a market segment that you like, and/or you have a background and experience in and where you can provide value
- Pick a specific skill, capability or problem to solve that is valuable to people in that market segment and that they will pay to get solved.
- Check that the market segment is small enough or your credibility and positioning with the skill is strong enough that you can become the go-to choice or authority for that skill or solving that problem in that market segment
- “Win” in the market segment – become the “go-to solution” or choice for solving that problem or providing that service for people in that market segment
- Find a new market segment, similar to the one you have just become the go-to expert in, where you can use the same solution to solve essentially the same problem for a new market segment
- Repeat for new market segments
- When you have reached enough scale, and have streamlined your solution, your position, your marketing, and your authority, move to a broader market segment instead of a niche – such as “service businesses,” “small businesses,” “corporate leaders,” and so on instead of (respectively) specific niches such as “personal trainers,” “accountancy firms,” and “new managers” respectively
How could you use the Ratcheting Up Strategy to position as an expert and authority in your niche?
But wait … there are also other ways to position as the expert and authority. The next strategy to consider is the Personalisation Strategy.