Determining your ideal client, your best target market, your preferred niche – this is the essential foundation of a strong marketing plan. Every Joe with a dollar in his pocket is NOT your target market.
I’ve had people say, “well, are you saying we can’t do business with people outside our target market?” The short answer is “no, I’m not suggesting that.” We have done lots of business with clients who don’t necessarily fall under our predetermined segmented niches (by the way, that’s a hint: you’ll probably have multiple target markets, each with its unique marketing strategy).
I will say that by perpetually doing business with people outside your target market will likely keep those same types of customers knocking at your door. And if you are not clear to your strategic partners, you’ll get all sorts of these same clients referred to you, some that you almost wish you didn’t have to deal with. Clarifying your niche market will not only ensure you get the best referrals, it will also keep you focused on where and how to spend your precious resources: time and money. When you have time to give or a dollar to spend on advertising, you can sift every decision through the lens of this question: “does this effort help me reach my target market?” Often times, we find ourselves justifying our expenditures simply because somewhere, somehow our target market might see this generic marketing effort targeted at no one. That’s not targeted marketing. That’s a good attempt at being bland.
Know you market, and clearly identify everything you can about it. I hope you are familiar with the market itself: its way of purchasing, its language, its pains and frustrations. I spent almost 10 years in Africa as a missionary and one of the best things we did was to learn the African language – the local dialect of the people among whom we lived. By learning their ways, their customs, their habits (you learn alot more than words when you learn a language), you become an insider with access never afforded a foreigner speaking through a translator. We know the people and therefore I am able still (when I return for follow-up visits) to speak in terminologies, felt needs and in specific ways that resonate well. Your marketing messages need to do the same thing.
I write about this topic even further in an article I wrote for HP Small Business Marketing Guide. (see other articles by The Marketing Twins here)
target image credit: zmogo (you’ll not only see the image, but read a great article on niches)