Can you honestly answer this question - "who is your target market"?
- If you’re a plumber – you could say "anyone who owns a house"
- If you’re a real estate agent –you’d probably answer "anyone selling their house"
- If you’re an accountant – you might say "anyone with a job or a business"
- If you're a gardener – you’re bound to say "anyone who has a garden"
If your answer is like any of the four above - or even one step broader – your answer is "anyone with a credit card", then read on . . . …. because you are making things really difficult for yourself.
By trying to be all things to all people and appeal to as many people as possible, you will attract all types of people – many of whom are not the type of clients you really want. So you end up spending time and money marketing to the wrong people, instead of focusing on the right ones. Does this scenario ever happen to you? You spend good money with Google Adwords and on printing and distributing letterbox flyers to get the phone ringing. 50% of calls you get are from people who immediately ask for your price and then say “thanks, I’ll get back to you.” These are price shoppers, not the people who really want your service.
So How Should You Be Marketing Your Services?
I recommend getting crystal clear about your target market, niche, and ideal client. Only then will you be able to create marketing campaigns that attract the right kind of enquiries and shoppers. The first step to streamlining your marketing efforts is to understand the difference between the three.
1. Who is Your Target Market?
This is the broadest section of the population you're targeting. Consider what segment of prospects will get the best results, in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of effort because of working with you. For example, perhaps you run a cleaning business in Sydney. Is your target market "everyone who lives in Sydney?" Certainly not! Why? Because not everyone in Sydney needs or wants their house cleaned. But some do. So who are they? Who are your best customers – or the target you’d most like to work with?
Are they affluent couples with children? If so, then you need a brand profile and quality controlled service offering that presents your company as an upscale, top of the line and exclusive service.
Maybe they are flatmates, or single parents on a budget? Then perhaps you structure your service offerings accordingly and promote yourselves as the most affordable cleaning service in town.
Maybe they are real estate agents looking for a someone to spring clean homes coming on to the market? In this case could present your company as professional cleaners and declutterers.
The old saying "you can't please all of the people all of the time" definitely applies to target markets, so narrow yours down and decide on which group you want to target.
2. What is Your Niche?
So now that you’ve thought about your target market – ie: the geographic and demographic profile of your customers and prospects, let’s move on to your niche. Your Niche is all about you.
Landscaping is an industry. "Edible Gardens" could be your niche - that is, what you offer to people interested in gardening. Or maybe it could be Waterwise Gardens, or Native Gardens, or Disabled Access Gardens.
IT Service is a big industry. "Laptop maintenance” could be your niche, or “IT Maintenance for Tradies in the Field", or “Networking Setup in Apartment Blocks” or “IT Services for Medical Centres.”
It’s way easier to differentiate your business from the thousands of other businesses who also do what you do when you focus on a niche. It’s also possible to charge more for your services – because you are perceived as being a specialist in that field. Think about it. Let’s say you’re a 40 year old recently divorced female, in need of a holiday, and you had the choice between the discounted travel shop in the local shopping centre staffed by 20 year olds, or the specialist online Agent who only sells “Fun and Safe Travel Escapes for Women Over 30” – which one are you more likely to choose?
3. Who Is Your Ideal Client?
This is where we really hone in on the detailed description of your perfect client or customer. It's difficult to connect with a nameless, faceless group of people, even if you've done your homework and "niched down." An “ideal client” represents your favourite sort of client – you know the one that you’d like to clone so you end up working only with people who are just like them. (If only!) Well, if you want to attract more people who are just like your ideal client – it helps to identify them in detail. Create an Avatar of them (a fictitious character that represents your ideal customer.)
Demographic traits: age, gender, job type, salary bracket, location
Psychographic traits – interests, likes/dislikes, biggest fears, social group, passions
Example: As a marketing mentor and marketing services agency, we have several avatars, representing our ideal clients. Here’s one of them.
Avatar Dave He’s 28, a trade business owner in Sydney earning $200k gross pa, employs 1 apprentice. Dave has 1 child and another on the way and is keen to build his business up so he can provide for his growing family. He’s into camping, fishing and property investing. He works long hours and does paperwork at night. To grow his business Dave knows he needs to do more marketing, win more quotes, manage his finances better and learn how to use technology to managing the business. He’s tried a few things himself, been to a couple of seminars, but he’s overwhelmed. He wants info and help that works, from people he can trust.
Dave’s avatar has been printed out and is up on my wall, so every time we create new products or prepare marketing posts, website copy, newsletters, emails or social media posts for the tradie target market – we do so to "Dave". We’re marketing to one person, instead of thousands. It makes it so much easier to resonate on a deeper and more personal level.
What To Do Now
Defining your target market, niche and ideal client makes it much easier to create effective marketing pieces. Some businesses may have several different types of ideal clients – eg: working women aged between 30-45, retired couples, business owners, etc. They may all be valid “ideal clients”, but each will probably have different requirements when it comes to your services, and so you will want to market to them a little differently.
I recommend creating an Avatar for each type of ideal client you have (or want!). Believe me, it will make marketing creation a whole lot easier. The more specific you get, the more effective your marketing will be and the more qualified your leads will attract.
If you need any help with defining your target market, niche and/or ideal customers, then why not book a mentoring session with me? I've helped many business owners finally get clarity around what their target market and niche should be.
We'll schedule a phone session at a time which best suits, when you can focus with no interruptions. We'll work through the five key criteria which will help to determine where your best opportunities lie.
Avatar Dave image credit: Scott Lewis