Most [designers] resist the thought of honing in on a tight target market. They fear they'll be missing out on potential sales if they don't go after every possible sale that could be had. With the current state of the economy, they feel particularly justified in doing just that.
The problem is that when you go after everything, you water down your marketing efforts. It's like trying to paint a fine masterpiece for your living room with a spray paint can. People don't know who you are and what you specialize in.
Before I dive into the tips for today, I want to clarify a few terms. I'm often asked, "What's the difference between a target market, an ideal client and a niche?"
According to Entrepreneur magazine, a target market is "a specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services." An example of this might be 'women business owners'.
Your ideal client is a subset of your target market, perhaps defined by demographic and psychographic data. An example might be women business owners over 40 years old in professional service industries, particularly those that require licensure from an industry or professional board or certification process who are looking to increase the revenue coming into their companies.
Your niche is a combination of 3 things:
1) The people you serve
2) The situationally specific problem you help them solve
3) Your specially branded Signature System that provides the solution to their problem.
When you're clear about who you are best suited to serve, you're able to get inside their head, understand their worries and concerns. You'll know what they crave and yearn for. You'll have the confidence to talk with them clearly and concisely about how you are uniquely suited to help them navigate their way through their challenges to their desired outcome.
Here are 3 easy steps to get started.
1) Get clear on why your clients need you (and it's probably not for the reasons you think).
Without this clarity, your marketing will sound like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoon movies, "Wah wah wah wah wah wah wah". No one will hear you above the noise and you'll really miss out on earning what you're truly capable of. When you have it nailed, people will flock to you because your marketing will be extraordinarily focused on JUST THE RIGHT PEOPLE.
2) Come up with a "platform" that distinguishes you from everyone else who does what you do.
Let's face it, there are tons of interior designers, graphic designers, financial advisors, attorneys, insurance agents, mortgage brokers, realtors, business coaches, professional organizers, etc. You need more than a nice business card and a catchy tag line to set yourself apart. When you are trapped by being viewed as a commodity, you'll never be able to rise above the herd; you'll struggle with raising your prices and run yourself ragged trying to 'reel in' that next client.
When you find your voice, it will pierce through the marketplace din to be heard by the people who most need what you have to offer. They'll seek you out, already being sold on your service. Referrals will flow to you more swiftly because people who don't even need you will recommend you to their friends and colleagues.
3) Make a choice of a niche that is crystal clear and easy to communicate.
Building on the first two points, when you know who you serve and how you specifically help them, you can be WAY more confident (but not pushy) when you speak with prospects. Your marketing will sound like you're 'playing their song' and will draw them to you and position you as the best possible solution to their problem. If you falter on this step, you'll remain one of the 'also ran's, working hard to close deals and wondering why you're having such a hard time.
By Loretta Love Huff
Photography by © Dennis Owusu
Photography by © Dennis Owusu
Loretta Love Huff, the Dream Leader for Business, is an award-winning business and executive coach. She helps entrepreneurs leverage their ideas and dreams into profitable & fulfilling businesses. Visit http://www.IWantMoreClientsNow.com to grab your two free audio series titled "The 5 Biggest Mistakes Service Professionals Make in their Marketing" and "The 7 Secrets for Sales Success". (c) 2010 Emerald Fiji Management