One thing separating successful entrepreneurs from less successful ones is that they have a clear picture of their ideal customer or audience. If you don’t have an idea of who you want to attract to your business, you’ll wind up with fewer customers.
The mistake lies in thinking that your product or service will appeal to everyone, that there is a general market of general people clamoring for a general business like yours. This is simply not true. Your offerings could be so general that there is nothing unique that would grab the attention of potential buyers. No matter how broad of a market you try to reach, there will always be people who cannot afford your prices, who don’t click with your story, and who don’t identify with your branding. And that’s okay.
In fact, not only is it okay, it’s great! Why? Because there will always be a select set of people who are looking for exactly the niche you’ve carved out for your business. Anyone can run down to the nearest big box store and buy average to low-quality products that will fill their immediate needs; but where can someone go to get a specialty item or service that is not widely available?
It can feel like an overwhelming task to identify your ideal customer when you’re just starting out, so begin with the basics.
- Is your customer base or readership male or female?
- What age group do you want to appeal to?
- What economic group?
- Is there a special interest group you want to appeal to—for example, cat lovers or coffee addicts or nerds?
Take a look at the favorite brands you buy or your favorite online shops, local boutiques, and service providers. Are you able to quickly identify who they market to?
Needs and Goals
- What do you think your client as an individual hopes to achieve?
- Will your products or services help someone reach those goals?
- Is she trying to create an Etsy shop to sell her crafts or build a profitable blog so she can stay home with her kids?
- Is he in the process of creating an online resource for comic book collectors?
- Is someone in search of a ballet, piano, or Jujitsu teacher?
If you don’t know what potential customers are looking for, you can’t help them get there.
Where along the path are they?
Is the person just starting out or well along the path?
How you speak or write, what marketing methods you use, and what prices you charge will all be determined by your ideal client’s needs and level of ability. Whether you’re teaching aspiring authors how to self-publish or helping dog owners train their beloved purebred pooches to become award-winning show dogs, their level of commitment and willingness to pay the costs involved needs to be taken into account.
Is this their first book or eighth? Their first dog show or are they a consistent third-place winner?
You won’t be able to effectively reach your market if you don’t know the very needs and goals of the market you want to capture.
Instead of diluting your message by trying to appeal to everyone, narrow your focus to the kind of clients or audience you want to attract. Doing so will greatly increase your probability of success and put you ahead by leaps and bounds!