MARKETING: Attract the Customers You Want

Posted on 3/15/2012 by Matt Walters

How do you figure out who your ideal client is?  The difference between target market and niche?   Who are your favorite clients and why?  We have a tendency to revert to MKTG 101 demographic principles of - They are 40 to 65 year of age, income level, 2.5 kids, retired, blah, blah, blah (target market stuff) but these characteristics are no longer enough.

If you are like many entrepreneurs and small businesses it is very possible that you have "MICD" or Multiple Ideal Client Disorder.  Is that you?  If you market to everyone, you are essentially marketing to no one.  This approach has a paralyzing effect on all of your marketing efforts.   None of your targeted customers feels special because your message is too general and they have heard it all before.

First Strategy - your marketing message must laser in on your ideal clients.  Be courageous and strong and really identify who you are, what you deliver and how that is unique.  You can say no to business.  If you take ownership of your ideal client, people will notice you.  With my Quail Park Lodge property, I have carved out a very unique niche and am confident in the product we offer and the clients who appreciate it.  We say 'no' on a daily basis to prospective guests because they are looking for a perceived value purchase that we don't offer.

I am a visual learner and when I am trying to figure out a Target Market and Niche, I make a triangle and put it in 3 parts:  Bottom Part = Target Market (demographic based);  Middle Part = Niche;  Top = The ideal client.  (Your 'niche' section comes from the top portion)

I’m constantly talking with small business owners who are struggling with the whole concept of figuring out their niche. They all want more clients and more money coming in, but haven't taken the time to sit down and take a moment to work through these steps and apply them to their marketing and customers service efforts.

Remember...your niche is the people you market to, not your products. I am going to say it again in all CAPS:  YOUR NICHE IS THE PEOPLE YOU MARKET TO, NOT YOUR PRODUCTS!   These people need to be a strong but narrow group that share a similar problem that you are fulfilling thier desire to help in some way.

It's okay to fall into this as you have probably been spending all your time on developing your products and services and you probably just 'kind-of' know who this audience is. The problem is, "kinda or sorta know" is just not good enough in marketing. It has to be crystal clear and focused.

1. For a service business your niche is always the people who you are marketing to. You need to understand who they are and what is their motivation.  It is more about what they want than what you think they need.  The best way to find this out is to spend time with them, ask them their motivations for using your service, provide comments forms, stay current in online forums and pull out commonalities to help identify the 'who' and 'what'.

2. Of course, your product or service can still be applicable to everyone, but I would question your motivation for having that mindset and guess that if you are like most people, it is because you are coming from a place of fear of not having enough business.  I'd bet that if you took the time and initiative to check in with yourself, you would know exactly who you would prefer to work with and why.

Continually keep in mind, your marketing needs to be focused on your niche group, regardless of who you decide to help. Without that niche focus you will not present yourself as an expert and your message will be watered down.

Second Strategy - Always highlight your unique and distinctive benefits. What words resonate with your ideal customer?  Take a look at the work of people you admire, companies that are successful and emulate how they benefit their customers.  I often refer to my 'Words that Sell' book and online thesaurus to find words that are distinctive and convey the message I am trying to send.

Think of some of the over used word and phrases you continually see.  Review your competitors websites and advertising, how do you differentiate yourself through your messaging and unique benefits?   What benefits do you offer that break through the clutter and speak to how you benefit these customers.  What is unique about what you do?  If it does not come through your marketing and communication channels - then it does not resonate. 

Until you feel 100% confident about your message, then just stop until you find the clarity, otherwise you will just mutter along doing the same thing with the same results. You will get to the finish line much faster with confidence and clarity.

Third Strategy: Define what makes you as a individual unique (if you are selling a personalize service)  or what makes your product or business unique?

Fourth Strategy: Translate this new found information into your distinctive marketing. 

Good luck and know that you know your self or business better than anyone else, reach for those core beliefs and take a risk, with marketing you will always be tweaking and changing the message as the audience becomes numb to competitors messaging.

Matt Walters - Grape Leaf Hospitality - Passionate Hospitality Expert. Marketing for Hotels, Wine Tourism, Lodging, Inns and B&B's.





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