Open Wider: A Success Story About Broadening a Tiny Niche

December 2003
by Gordon Burgett

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Thanks to a manuscript for pediatric dentists, I had a chance to put my own theory from Publishing to Niche Markets to the test, and I am happy to report on how it worked.

We knew we had a wee market for Standard Operating Procedures for Pediatric Dentists (at most 3,800), but the writer, Marsha Freeman, was a top dental consultant, so we prepped a one-sided 8 _” x 11″ flyer that described the book and its companion floppy disc and inserted a note that asked nth-selection recipients to respond via an enclosed postcard. Sent to 200, the mailing got a 22 percent buy rate!

The sales of that first book, in 1995, helped us refine the package, which evolved from a bound volume for pediatric dentists accompanied by a rather cumbersome disc to a loose-leaf, shrink-wrapped three-ring binder book (with a D-ring holder) and a disc for all dentists, with 256 SOPs, each in its own file.

Before developing that master book (eight times larger than the original), we tested the broader niche field again with a flyer, note, and reply postcard. Called Standard Operating Procedures for All Dentists, the master book now contains 487 pages. We are selling the fourth upgraded edition; the gross income for it alone is $800,000.

Money-making Ripple Effects

Several spinoffs made the project even more of a success.

Marsha was already an excellent, well-established consultant, so her bookings quadrupled, and she got speak…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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