In this blog, we’re going to start with the most basic of all questions:
Well . . .
My friend Dominic Canterbury – a word of mouth marketing specialist – came up with this list:
You know your targeting sucks when:
1. Your marketing strategy consists of “just getting your name out there”
2. Your target is, “People who can afford me.”
3. Your Unique Selling Proposition is a lame platitude such as, “I work to truly understand my client’s needs.”
4. You wish you didn’t look just like the competition
5. You define it by age, income and geography
6. Your word-of-mouth strategy is based on lines like, “The highest compliment you can pay us is the referral of a friend.”
7. You blew your marketing budget on advertising that did nothing for you
8. You don’t like your clients
9. Or, you’ve run plumb out of fresh marketing ideas
Hard but true.
One of the classic blunders in marketing is: Not clearly identifying your ideal client.
But most businesses have never really answered the question, “Who is my niche?” in any meaningful way. And it’s probably one of the most important question you’ll ever answer for your business.
They say, “We help everybody . . .”
“Who are you trying to reach?
Who’s your target market?
Who’s your niche?”
There is likely no decision in business more central or profound than this one.
And no question that meets with more resistance.
After all, that question asks you to make a decision. Once you decide who you’re trying to reach you have also, by necessity, made a decision about who you are no longer trying to reach.
You are asking yourself, “who am I best able to help?” And this brings up a lot of very personal issues about what you’re passionate about, why you’re here on Earth, what your talents are – questions that are often dealt with by ignoring them.
I’ve found that many people sort of “short circuit” when asked to address this question directly. Their eyes glaze over and they go into a deep haze.
But it must be addressed.
And yet, most entrepreneurs aren’t even aware that they have a problem.
Why is identifying your niche important?
Dominic Canterbury (www.dc-strategic.com) told me once that, whenever he feels stuck or cloudy about what to do next in his marketing work with a client he takes that as a sign that he’s lost sight of the niche. So, he’ll stop, review who the target market is and instantly, ideas will start to flow.
Why is that?
Your niche is the very center of all of your marketing efforts.
You must identify a niche. Until and unless you do that:
1. How can you possibly make your business attractive to them (or yourself)? And why would you market? You will be irresistibly attracted to your ideal client – and this will, in the long term, make you irresistibly attractive to them. Having a client you’re excited to attract & serve gives you energy.
* * *
You have 24 hours to find the perfect gift for my friend or else you will never see your family again. ( . . . “Does that include my in-laws?” you ask.) BUT! The catch is that I won’t tell you anything about them. This is, of course, impossible.
* * *
2. How do you know how to word your marketing materials? The more that people feel you are speaking right to them, and nobody else, the more likely they are to buy. You want them saying, “that’s me!” not “so what.” The better you know them, the more you will know what to say and what to avoid saying. It’s about knowing exactly the right thing to say to them to get them to act.
3. How do you know where to invest your marketing efforts?
4. How can you possibly expect to receive any quality referrals from your existing clients? If you can’t tell them the kind of people you want them to send you – how will they know?
5. How can you know where to find them if you don’t know who they are? You’d be surprised how often people miss this obvious point. People ask me all the time, “Where can I find more clients?” and I ask them, “Well, what kind of clients? Who are you looking for?” Most folks can’t really answer that except in vague notions of “people who are open to change”. That’s likely too vague. Different sorts of folks hang out in different places. Some people may already have your ideal client as their clients. You target market is already spending their money somewhere. They’re likely already hanging out somewhere.
For most businesses I know, finding a niche is one of the most important steps. If you can’t be everything to everyone, then who are you best able you serve? What are you best at?
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