If you want to change the world (and grow a business), build an agency in a small market. Your work improves your community and the small market improves your work.
This is something any dedicated marketing agency professional can do. You don’t need permission -- you just need courage.
Own Your Place
The first step in building a thriving agency in a small market is to own your place -- fully embrace your small market, whether geographic- or industry-focused. If you take pride in your niche, your potential customers will reward you with praise, press, and business.
Many agencies worry that their market is not large enough, but the world is a big place. We don’t need to talk to everyone. Instead, claim a market as your own, no matter how small. This is the quickest way to stand out and succeed.
Six years ago my brother and I had the audacious goal of helping rural businesses use technology to become global powerhouses. In doing so, we set out to build the best digital marketing agency in South Dakota. It may sound like a small market, but by focusing on our niche, we have earned press, awards, and are well-known to the people that matter.
The environment where we grow up influences our ideas, imagination, and relationships. Similarly, the market where our agency is located shapes our services offerings and strengths. Too often we leave our communities and markets to look for the perfect city or a larger market. Fortunately, there is an alternative. We can build our communities to be the communities we want to live in. We can grow our market to be the bigger market we long for.
Your agency can be the catalyst for change if you embrace your place.
Improve Your Work With Local Insight
Working in a small market improves our work.
The more you know about a community or industry, the better you understand its challenges. With a deep understanding of what a community or client needs, you can craft the specific services and solutions that others cannot offer.
Too often, solutions are created by those who do not understand the problem. A manufacturer of inductors in South Dakota for example has different marketing needs than a Ford dealer in Medford, Oregon. A small business in Kansas doesn't necessarily need a strategy to take advantage of the latest app launched from Silicon Valley.
A small market gives instant feedback on the solutions that are most valuable. Use this local insight to focus your agency’s offerings to your specific market. When a potential client is deciding between your agency and a competitor, your experience and tailored solutions will help you stand out.
Find Similar Small Markets
The problems your small market faces is shared by others.
By owning your place and using local insight to improve your work, your agency becomes a specialist. This specialization may seem limiting at first -- but it's not.
Find similar markets to help grow your agency. We specifically focused on helping grow rural businesses and communities. To us, this meant solving the challenges faced by businesses in the Midwest. Soon, however, we received a number of followers and customers from rural Australia. It turns out the “wheat belt” of Australia shares the challenges faced by those in the “corn belt” of the United States.
Your small market shares the same challenges other markets face. Find this overlap. Take your expertise, and use it to stand out in another market.
This is how your agency can quickly change the world. You do not aim to help everyone; you aim to help the people you know. Then you find that others around the world can use the same help. Soon your small market is bigger than you could ever service.
Change The World
The success of a small market depends on a small number of champions. Your agency can grow in a small market, but more importantly, it can transform the market.
Take the bold step of creating an agency in a small market. You'll find the opportunities are much larger than you could have imagined.