Marketing is everything you do to get and keep clients. In order to do that cost effectively and profitably, you need a clear understanding of what types of clients you want to attract.
What is a Target Market?
When choosing a specific market to work with, look for the people who already need and are looking for the types of services you provide. A target market is a group of people who:
- have a specific want or need for your service
- have the ability to buy your service
- are willing to buy your service
- share common characteristics that make them identifiable.
Many people think marketing should be about trying to convince or manipulate people who might not need your products and services to buy from you. It’s far easier to get someone to buy from you if they are already looking for that product or service you offer.
Why Choose a Target Market?
It may seem counter-intuitive to choose a target market, especially if you are just starting out or need business badly right now. After all, clients mean cash to sustain your business, so it’s easy to fall into the mindset of “I’ll work with anyone who may need my services.” So why might you want to narrow your focus?
- You don’t have a massive marketing budget. Mass market advertising is expensive. Large companies spend fortunes on TV and radio commercials trying to reach everyone several times a day. When you don’t have a million-dollar marketing budget, you must think more strategically about how you’ll market to those people in need of your services.
- Not everyone makes a good client. Some people out there just won’t make a good client. This may be because they nitpick or nickel-and-dime everything, are rude, don’t respect your knowledge and experience, challenge you on everything, micromanage, or a whole host of negatives that make those prospects a pain in the neck to work with. Those types of clients drain your energy, are never happy with what you do, and will never refer business to you because disappointed clients don’t refer business.
- People want to work with specialists. It may sound good to help “anyone who might need your services,” but you are only one person with limited time and resources. How can you best spend your time to help those people who will most benefit from and appreciate your help? When prospects have problems, they want to work with the company they think will help them solve their specific problem in the fastest and most cost-effective way. It’s a strange fact of life, but the busier you are and the more selective you are with prospects, the more people want to work with you.
When you choose a target market for your business, you are telling prospects that you work with a specific type of client to solve a specific type of problem. You aren’t a one-stop-solution for everyone out there, but you are excellent at the problems you do solve.
3 Key Benefits of Being a Specialist
When you pick a target market and serve it well, you become the obvious choice over all your competitors. Specialization and mastery are the keys to success when offering a service. Specialists:
- Commit to learning everything about their niche for the long-term.
- Keep up with industry trends and focus on solving its top problems.
- Strive for mastery of their specialization at all levels.
- Target clients who need solutions to these particular problems.
- Serve their clients by doing their best work.
Unfortunately, becoming a specialist isn’t as easy as saying I’m a “specialist” or an “expert” in a particular area.
To actually be perceived as the specialist, you must really and truly master your area. You must be aware of all the pitfalls and mistakes and obstacles your prospects will face, and know the solution to whatever the problem is – or at least have a good idea of where to look for that solution.
However, the benefits of being a specialist are great.
- Differentiation – You differentiate yourself from your competition so much that you are the obvious choice for your prospects – which gives you greater freedom to choose ideal clients and even turn away business that might not be right for you.
- Authority -You gain authority and respect among your prospects, clients and peers as someone who can get the job done seamlessly and by providing excellent client service to boot.
- Loyal Clients – You get a stable of happy clients who provide testimonials about your service and send you more business referrals.
Most people don’t make it to that level because they don’t stick with it long enough. They want instant success. They want to skip the long hours required to learn and master the trade and go right to expert status. Those who do stick with it reap great rewards.