Before I got serious about studying marketing (in specific, direct-response marketing), my goal was to market to every potential client I could. “If it has a pulse and a wallet, I want to talk to it.”
I didn’t care what it was, as long as I was being paid for my time.
Only now do I realize what a mistake that was…
Think about the medical profession for a moment. Doctors, on the surface, can be broken down into two groups: Generalists and Specialists. While sure, the generalists are making enough to pay the bills and then some, they will never be as successful as someone who is a brain surgeon or heart specialist.
The reason specialized doctors get paid more is because they spend all of their time perfecting a specialty and positioning themselves as an expert to their niche market. If someone specifically wants a dermatologist, for example, they’re going to seek out someone who offers exactly what they’re looking for (and pay more for doing so).
Now you might be thinking, “My business is nothing like a medical profession! If I don’t take every event I can get, I’m going to starve!”
This is an extremely common fear, and not just for small business owners. It’s common for every industry, but it’s frankly just not true.
When you switch from marketing to everyone to marketing to a specific type of customer or event, logic seems to tell you that you’re leaving a lot of business on the table by not taking every event you can get. Let me explain why this isn’t true, and what you should do to really see profits explode in a very short period of time like I did.
- When you choose a specific target niche, you are able to more clearly vocalize your message. A fitness instructor will more clearly convey what it is they do if they say, “I help busy moms who have tried every fitness program in the book get quick results by exercising in their own home,” than they will if they just say, “I’m a fitness instructor.”
- Your customers will seek you out, and pay you more. If someone is specifically looking for a heart surgeon for a life-saving procedure, they’re going to pay more for it. If someone is looking specifically for someone who can train them at home versus needing to drive to a studio, they’re going to be willing to pay more for it. The more niched down a product or service is, the more someone is going to pay for it in order to get exactly what they’re looking for.
- You’ll get to do more of what you love, and less of what you don’t. For example, while I think kids are cute and fun in small doses, I hated performing magic for kids when I had my magician business. When I first started performing full-time, though, I took every show I could get. This included suffering through those kids shows in order to make some extra cash. It wasn’t until I realized how much money I was actually losing by not targeting who I loved working with most and finding ways to make myself extremely attractive to those types of customers that I started making some serious cash, and I was happier because I was performing for adults instead of children.
So my advice to you is to think about the clients you’ve worked with that you especially loved. The clients that..if everyone was JUST LIKE THEM, your world would be an amazing place. These should be the clients that you’re focusing your time and marketing effort on — forget the rest.
PS Another common FEAR that people have when niching down is that they don’t want to “lose out” on the clients that they would like to work with, but that don’t fit their niche. My advice is…just because you aren’t marketing to a certain type of client, doesn’t mean that you need to say no when they try to give you money. 🙂
Sky Stover helps solo-entrepreneurs and small businesses position themselves as experts through Websites that are mobile-friendly and strategically designed. Sky has a growing Website maintenance program in which her members receive personal IT support, marketing advice, copywriting services, WordPress support, and more – all with world-class customer service that seems all too rare in the Web Design industry today.