If you listen to any Social Media Marketing Agency (SMMA) expert these days, they all recommend the same niches: gyms, restaurants, dentists, and general real estate firms.
Even though these are great niches, there are a lot of people going after them. When I first started SMMA two years ago, every gym I talked to told me that they got calls about SMMA every week. I can’t even imagine how many cold calls they get for the same service today.
And the same is true for a number of other popular SMMA niches.
Just figure it out. Dozens of YouTube SMMA experts all say the same thing. There are tens of thousands of people who follow these gurus and thousands of people who bought their course. Now multiply this by the hundreds of thousands of fans each guru has who watch these videos for free. There are a lot of people all trying to get the same things. Yes, these niches are old and have grown old.
Plus, I quickly learned that many gyms are too poor to spend even $1,500 a month on Facebook ads, let alone $500. (which would barely even cover the ad spend itself).
There have to be better SMMA niches out there!
There are, and I’ll list them below. At the moment, these SMMA niches are not being met in some places at all. They’re ready for the right organization! But before I give you the list, I want to tell you what I think makes a good SMMA niche. Because this list won’t be as fresh in a few months, but you can find other profitable niches. But you won’t need these niches because if you understand this criteria, you’ll always be able to make your own. The better a business is, the more of these boxes it checks. But even if they only have a few, they should be on your list of places to find leads.
SMMA Criteria for a Business Prospect
A. Clients with money: The clients must have cash! Yes, the business must make more than $15,000 a month in order for it to make sense to hire an SMMA. They should be making at least $25,000 a month, if not more. In fact, the better it is the more money they bring in. I’ve made prospect lists where the business had to make more than $50,000 a month to even be considered. (There are many databases and services that can help you make these kinds of lists.) SMMA isn’t cheap, so don’t bother with companies that can’t pay for it. This is also why SMMAs tend to go after growing e-commerce businesses that bring in at least $60,000 a month. Look for MRR columns in databases to sort through (Monthly Recurring Revenue).
B. High-Ticket Services: Any business with a popular product or service that costs more than $500 is a winner. In fact, the better the transaction, the higher it is. This also helps you explain why your services are worth what they cost. Most of the time, you have to spend more on ads to sell a high-priced item. Once you’ve found the right people to target (and done some careful lead scoring in your funnel), just a few paying customers a month would make these clients happy.
C. Recurring Services: My favorite business has customers who come back again and again. These customers need to keep buying more of what they bought from the business. It’s almost like a subscription service. These are businesses like cosmetic medical centers, high-end local hair salons, home maintenance services, and so on. When you talk to business owners about your service, it’s a good idea to talk about customer retention rates (how many customers come back) and the average amount of money a customer spends over the course of their lifetime (CLTV).
D. Top Local Businesses, Not Franchises: I’ve only known one person whose SMMA was turned into a franchise. It was for Porsche, and he got 13 dealerships all over the United States. Yes, he is a legend in the business, and Iman Gadzhi taught him. But when most of us call franchises, we get a straight “No.”
Most of these places are bad leads for two reasons: 1) It took a long time and a lot of patience to finally get our services in front of the person who makes decisions. We were talking to business people. 2) Most of these places were already doing this with a team of in-house marketers or by hiring a fancy brick-and-mortar advertising agency. Both ways led to nowhere.
Stick with the biggest businesses in your area. I like to look for wealthy families whose businesses have been around for a long time. Any business that says “Family Owned since…” should make you pay attention. A lot of these businesses have been around for a few generations, and they now have several stores in the area. If SMMA doesn’t already have the service, these pre-franchise and pre-private equity companies are a great fit. You can find these businesses by talking to people and doing some research.
E. Their site doesn’t have a Facebook Pixel: Turn off any ad blockers on Google Chrome and add the Facebook Pixel Helper extension. Many of you know that it’s easy to figure out if a business is using Facebook Ads. But don’t stop just because they have the pixel in the right place.
Go to their Facebook business page if you really want this top prospect. Because of Facebook’s policy on advertising, you can see every ad they’ve ever run. How good are they? Think they changed their minds? Could you do better and use a case study to show it? If you think these people have a weakness, keep going after them. Even if it doesn’t happen when you want, they’ll need someone at some point.
F. Weak Social Media Presence: If you have a lot of content or none at all, but not many people interact with it, you need SMMA help. Perform an audit and tell them how much money you can bring to the table. A golden opportunity is a big company with a bunch of weak social media sites. I get excited when I see well-known businesses in my area with Instagram pages that have less than a thousand followers. You should too.
G. Where You Live: Remote meetings and audits are becoming more common. I think, though, that locals prefer to do business with other locals. It’s hard to show prospects how valuable you are and how nice you are over Zoom. This gives you an advantage over the thousands of SMMAs in other cities. Get to them before they get to you, and use that to your advantage. For instance, if something went wrong, you could fix it right away (if you were in the same time zone) or in person (drive over to their business and fix it in person). No thick accents or lame excuses, just personalized service that fits your needs.
H. People who buy traditional media: I love having clients like this. I look for companies that spend a lot of money on old ways to market, like local magazines, direct-mail flyers, giant newspaper ads, local TV/radio, bus bench ads, etc. It’s a sure thing that you’ll be able to meet with the owner if they don’t have much of a social media presence. You could talk for days about how they waste money on expensive ads and miss out on the chance to retarget even the least interested customers, and everything you say would be true. This problem can be solved with Facebook ads, and at least some of the money spent on ads in traditional media should be moved to digital ads that can be tracked.
I. They can handle a rush of business. The company can’t be so small that they don’t have enough people to handle more business. I hate getting SMMA clients who are happy for a month or two, but then have to stop using your service because they don’t have enough people to fill orders. If you’re like me, you want to work with clients who sign contracts for 3–6 months. You want steady money coming in! When you ask owners if they can handle a truckload more business, they get really excited. I’m not just saying this to get them excited.
Profitable, untapped SMMA niches
1. Medical spas: These are usually owned by doctors and offer expensive procedures that take more than one visit. Check out places that specialize in Liposuction or Body Sculpting. This sub-niche isn’t being served at all, and their CoCA (Cost of Customer Acquisition, or how much they’d have to spend on marketing to get someone to walk through their doors) is crazy. You’d be helping them out.
2. Tattoo Removal Centers: Look for places like this that target wealthy people. (This service would only be available to them.) Also, places with a lot of tattoo artists are more likely to have these kinds of centers.
When they get a client like this, it’s great because they know that each person who comes in to get their tattoo removed will have to come back 5–10 times. It hurts their skin and their money. It costs between $50 and $150 per square inch for each visit. Most tattoos are bigger than an inch, so do the math. Most people who sign up for this will finish it. There’s no going back after the first session. Either they’ll have to live with a tattoo that looks worse than ever, or they’ll have to go back more than once to finish the job.
3. Assisted Living Properties and Niche Real Estate: I learned that a year-long lease at a luxury assisted living home for very old people costs $70,000. They want to learn how to use social media well because a lot of the people they want to reach are on sites like Facebook. I found out that their best customers are high-earning women over the age of 40 who want to find places for their parents. (Keep that in mind for your ads.)
Also, these businesses that aren’t franchises often have more than one location all over the country or state. They are often backed by investors and made to grow. The baby boomer generation needs these homes right away, so there is a huge demand for them. The great thing about getting a local luxury retirement home or assisted living property is that if you do a good job for one, they might let you do ads for the rest of their properties. This is between $2,000 and $6,000 from each property. You would only have to make one customer happy to make a lot of money.
Bonus Sub-Niche: Firms that sell very expensive homes. The company below just won the award for best real estate website in the country. They don’t have a Facebook pixel and have never run an ad on their Facebook page. They only sell multi-million dollar estates and have a popular reality TV show.
Long shot, but any SMMA that can get their attention will be rich because these companies are leaving money on the table in a lot of different ways. It’s pretty common to get leads from Facebook, but the brand-building and viral sharing features are worth a lot of discussion on their own. (Try connecting with a principal on Linkedin through a mutual connection or putting them in touch with a possible buyer.)
(This is one of many high-end real estate companies that are missing out on the chance to get leads from Facebook ads.)
4. Pest Control Centers — These services send bills every three or four months. People are less likely to stop the service if it works well. I’ve also noticed that pest control companies work with real estate investors and management companies all the time. I found an investor who uses the same service before putting a finished house on the market. You can run ads for pest control that target real estate investors and regular home owners in this niche.
5. HVAC Companies: Maintenance costs for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services can add up. It’s a service that keeps going. Homeowners and business owners should have their systems checked out at least twice a year. Most of the time, each of these engagements only costs a few hundred dollars, but HVAC repairs are very expensive. People will have to spend a few thousand dollars to get a new HVAC unit. And from what I’ve seen, I don’t think many HVAC companies in my area use Facebook ads.
6. Deck and landscaping companies: Deck work can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000, depending on whether you just need a small fix or a whole new deck. Also, many of these companies offer landscaping services to help their customers finish the work on their yards. This can include things like rock beds, choosing plants, watering systems, and sprinkler systems. All of these things are very expensive for homeowners, and these companies are always trying to get new customers. A campaign of their past work on Facebook and Instagram can set them apart from competitors.
7. Companies that remodel kitchens or bathrooms: It’s very expensive to make changes to your home. We’re talking about a lot of money. Some companies only do tile work, and they are terrible at social media. For SMMAs, this is a gold mine. I’ve seen kitchen remodels cost more than $50,000, and that’s just one room. It would be simple to make a campaign that uses Houzz, Facebook, and Instagram all together.
8. Towing Companies: There’s more to towing than most people think. People always park in the wrong spot or need to have their car towed to a repair shop. Also, if your car breaks down on the road, you’ll need a tow truck. There aren’t that many tow companies in the area, but there are a few. Those that don’t rely on referral partners (like car dealerships, repair shops, etc.) could always use social media marketing to keep getting leads.
9. Companies or shops that sell fine watches: In December 2019, Rolex has never run Facebook ads, and it never will. Their great website doesn’t have a single dot, or pixel. If you got them just ONE client, you’d have paid for your services five times over. (Their watches cost a lot of money.) This also means that none of the 7,171,019 people who liked their Facebook page are being retargeted. Insanity!
Dozens of well-known and less well-known luxury watch brands have no idea how to use Facebook ads. (And Blaken and other custom Rolex shops, too!) You need an insider, maybe through Linkedin, to get key people to talk to you, but it might be worth it. Pace yourself, and if they tell you they already have a team of in-house marketers working on this, offer your ad consulting services because it’s clear they’re not paying attention. Charge them a fee per day for setting up their funnel and teaching their marketing team how to run ads. They will pay for your flight. So, even though it’s a long shot, you only need ONE client like this to make a six-figure business, so why not try it once in a while?
10. Shops that change cars—Have you ever heard of those shops that change German sedans in every way? Maybe they give it a custom paint job, lower it three inches, change the exhaust system to “fierce mode,” and put on some Vossen rims that make the air flow better. That stuff costs a lot! The service fees are in the thousands, so the clients must have money to spend.
Many of these businesses have great Instagram pages, but they don’t know how to use them to their advantage. When you tell them that your service only costs $2,000 a month and that you’ll bring them enough prospects to bill for more than $600,000, they’ll think you’re a discount marketing shop. (With all the money you’ll be making, you should be able to buy a custom kit for your sports car soon.)