If you’re like most business owners, you want to expand your brand outside your core industry. Eventually, your first set of products will reach a sales peak, which means you may start to notice a plateau in profits and customer engagement. Instead of panicking and pushing out a ton of promotions, you may want to start thinking of ways to penetrate a new market.
The idea of entering a new industry when you’ve already established your brand may seem daunting at first. But don’t worry; we will go over several helpful tips and tricks you can use to expand your business.
It’s worth noting that before starting this process, you’ll want to make sure you have a firm grasp on your funds and staff. Both of these factors will play a pivotal role in your success. Simply put, starting this project with razor-thin profit margins or a skeleton crew will likely do more harm than good. If you want to maximize your chance of success, only take these steps once your primary business is established, well-staffed, and profitable.
With that in mind, let’s get started!
1. Pinpoint a problem you would like to solve
In my experience, one of the best ways to enter a new market is to identify a pain point that’s personally affecting you or your business. When you decide to create a product, it’s easier to frame a solution if you have a firm understanding of the problem.
I like to take notes whenever I find myself thinking, “I wish I had” or “You know what would make this easier?” Once you have a few ideas jotted down, perform a thorough search to see if anyone is offering a product that does exactly what you wished for at that moment. If you can’t find anything that matches your needs, you may have just discovered an opportunity to break into a new industry.
We should mention that you have to consider your product selection and industry when looking for pain points you’d like to solve. You don’t want to branch out to a brand new industry with the same website. Similarly, you don’t want to rely on tools that work well for one business model but not another.
If your goal is to launch a sub-brand, for instance, adding a deliverability plugin to your email marketing software, you can cross-promote and even offer your new product on your core website. On the other hand, a brand new product line that’s not connected to your existing offerings could benefit from a new website.
Finally, not every idea is worth pursuing. Expanding your brand is a complex issue. Many business owners make the mistake of going head-first into new projects without considering their existing audience. You should always make sure you have the staff, funding, and resources to keep your current customers happy before venturing outside your industry.
2. Talk to your existing customers
You can also work towards expanding your business by talking to your existing customers. Your audience is not one-dimensional. They have multiple goals and pain points, and your current product may address one or two of their problems, but certainly not every single one.
Spend time engaging with your audience, and you can learn a lot about their needs. We like to create surveys that we publish on-site and send to our email subscribers. These quick 5 minute surveys help us assess the satisfaction of our current products while allowing us to identify growth opportunities.
For example, when we send feedback forms to our audience, we ask subscribers specific questions about the usability and value of your products. This information helps us fine-tune our software and add new features along the way.
After the specific product questions, we include several open-ended queries. We work with small business owners, so we center our questions around other pain points (outside of email marketing) they are experiencing. This information has helped us create and invest in new brands throughout the years.
If you want to learn more, head over to popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to talk to your existing followers or people who are involved with an industry you want to enter. A whopping 3.96 billion people use social media, so you’ll have an easy time finding relevant groups where you can learn about unanswered customer pain points.
What’s your biggest business challenge right now?
3. Learn about your future competition
There’s a good chance several businesses are already thriving in the industry you hope to enter. You can gain an edge when your product launches if you spend some time assessing your competition. Competitor research is all about learning the strengths and weaknesses of your future rivals.
Once you understand what a business is doing wrong, you can adjust your strategy and make your product more desirable. For instance, if you decided to enter the email marketing industry, one of your first competitor research tactics may be to see how your competition onboards new customers.
Let’s say you tried all of the biggest email marketing brands, and they all lacked a comprehensive onboarding program. You can take this information and create a detailed online course introducing your product and specific features to new customers. This seemingly small quality of life change could be just the thing you need to separate yourself from the competition.
You’ll also want to spend some time doing an SEO competitor analysis. Essentially, this means searching Google for possible keywords for your product or service. Check the first page of Google’s SERPs and keep track of the competitors that appear across multiple results.
After you start compiling keywords, look for the results of long-tail versions using Google’s Keyword Planner tool. For example, instead of “email marketing,” you may want to target “how to grow your email marketing lead list.” Research shows that long-tail keywords tend to generate 70% more traffic when compared to short keywords.
If you take the time to look into your competitors, you’ll end up in a stronger position when your product launches.
4. Partner with other brands
Odds are, you’ve made some friends among industry experts in your time as a business owner. If you’re worried about the financial risk or workload that comes with entering a new industry, you may want to consider partnering with some of the contacts you’ve made along the way.
There are plenty of advantages that come from building partnerships with other brand leaders. First, you’re combining resources with another person to reach a common goal. You’ve likely heard the old saying that two heads are better than one, and this situation is no exception. The time, experience, and resources from two different parties can help fuel the success of a new product.
Another advantage that comes with this arrangement is you can launch your venture to a broader audience. Instead of relying on your existing customers and luck, you can expand your reach by building a joint marketing and business plan with your partner.
Let’s say a customer from your partner finds the new product you both created. Because they see that you’re affiliated with a brand they already know and use, they are more likely to trust your business, which can lead to a dramatic boost in conversions.
5. Consider the benefits of selling wholesale
Finally, you may want to expand beyond your core industry by changing how you sell your existing products. Adding a B2B model to your current B2C strategy can have a surprising impact on your sales.
If you’re interested in pursuing this route, you should consider creating a wholesale option for potential B2B buyers. This additional revenue stream will allow you to sell your existing products in bulk to a different type of customer.
At first, you might not like the idea of selling your product or service at a steep discount. But here’s the thing; you stand to make a lot more money at once when you offer a way for other businesses to buy wholesale from your company.
The time and money you’ll save selling wholesale can give you the funds you need to make more products in the future. While this tip technically involves selling outside of your industry, it also creates a wide range of possibilities for small business owners who are looking for additional room to grow.
Expanding your business is a lot like starting one
It’s worth mentioning that you should always track user feedback and usage of your product. You can learn a lot about the needs of your audience post-launch by reviewing satisfaction forms and your Google Analytics data. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to take your new product to the next level.
There you have it! There are plenty of ways you can expand your business outside of your core industry. The tips offered here today will help find creative ways to build and distribute products or services in a new industry.