Niche Marketing: Why it is Important to Focus on Your Key Target Clients
Many small businesses are set up to serve a wide range of potential clients. For example: a website design company could help many, many businesses. After all, everyone needs a web presence, right? While that may be true, it isn't helpful in marketing terms for several reasons.
1. People focus on their own issues - everyone is concerned with bettering themselves and by extension, their business (if they have one). They also have a list of challenges facing them on a day to day basis and are looking for solutions to those challenges. Your message needs to connect with those issues. If it doesn't, it will be ignored or quickly forgotten. Broadcasting to a wide audience causes you to be general in your message (e.g. we can get any business on line fast) and the generality is where you will fail to connect with your target audience
2. People like to work with a specialist - Why? Well, specialists have a much deeper understanding of what you are going through and are less likely to be distracted by all the other things they are doing. Focus on one area. Becoming world class at that service is attractive and people will want to work with you. Again, generalist messages and spreading yourself too thin do not establish you as a specialist
3. General messages sound the same - marketing's first job is to grab attention. If you are listing similar services to your competitors there is no differentiation, no connection with your prospects and therefore nothing to make you stand out.
4. You may get clients you don't want - OK, that sounds strange. Who gets clients they don't want? Actually it happens a lot! As a small business owner time is perhaps your most valuable asset - don't spend it on clients that you don't care to work with or who drain your energy however much they pay you.
So why do small businesses so commonly put out a general message? There are a couple of reasons but most commonly it boils down to a fear of missing a client when you meet them. By keeping the message general, the thinking goes, you are more likely to catch their attention. If you get too specific, they won't recognize that you can help them. That is a genuine fear, but for the reasons above, it is self defeating. A general message DOES NOT connect with your target audience even if they hear it. They simply won't realize it is meant for them
Defining your niche, and your ideal client profile is an essential pre-requisite to effective marketing strategies. There are a number of reasons why this is so critical but the primary benefit is that this allows you to:
a) Focus on who you REALLY want to work with. Taking the time to define who your service is really intended to help, and with which issues will allow you to work with people you are passionate about helping. When you are in this space the message is always more vibrant and attractive. You can't fake passion for your business for long
b) Concentrate your efforts on marketing where these people are. This will save you huge amounts of time and energy over trying to cover all the bases. Focusing your efforts in fewer, more productive areas will yield more results and be more fun - you'll be mixing with the people you love to help. Location can be physical, or where they are concentrated on line
The following typically results from such focus:
- You will get more clients, and not always in your ideal niche. When it is clear who you work with, people will ask you if you can do something similar for them, even if they fall slightly outside your identified target market. BY understanding your client profile you will be able to decide whether to follow up on that or not.
- You'll know a client when you find them. More importantly, they will know when you find them. They will recognize your targeted message as intended for them and identify themselves to you. It is much more rewarding than trying to persuade a reluctant prospect to work with you.
- Referral business will rise - when it is clear who you work with, others can bring those people to mind. For example it's far easier to think of people you know who own their own franchise business than it is to think of a more generic "businesses". The more specific the better.
There are some mindset issues around this. It is a challenge to focus as it seems as though you are cutting out options. In reality you will find the message much easier to deliver and with far more favorable, less frustrating results.
By Jerry N. Smith
Photography by Britvitch
Jerry Smith is the co-founder of Marketing Action Club, focusing on small service based businesses and independent professionals who struggle to attract quality clients consistently.Visit http://www.30SecondElevatorSpeech.com for a step by step, online program to lead you through producing an effective, attention grabbing introduction for you and your business.