The most critical foundation of marketing your services to have a written, detailed profile of your target market. It may sound strange, but not having a clearly detailed profile is probably the single biggest marketing mistake most small businesses make.
Without a written target market profile, your marketing writing is so general that no one identifies with your description. Think about this when you read the marketing materials that you receive from other businesses. What are you looking for? You’re looking for the answer to, “What’s in it for me?” If you don’t recognize yourself in the target market description or see benefits that you’re specifically attracted to, what do you do? You move on, and continue to look for something that does solve your problems. That business might have had your answer, but because their marketing writing did not address you specifically, you kept looking for a solution elsewhere.
How do you create a target market profile that attracts exactly those clients and customers you want? Here are a few ideas.
1) Your target market wants to solve a particular problem.
Start your marketing writing with the problem that you solve for your clients. To illustrate the variations in the problems you regularly solve for people, lay out a range of scenarios. Each “scenario” describes a different aspect of what your clients struggle with and what you work with. Be sure that your scenarios describe the situations you want to work with (not ones you no longer want to deal with).
Some samples are things like, “The small business struggling to get clients”, and, “the entrepreneur beginning to define their business” and, “the established business branching out in new directions”. These are all target markets you want to work with. Ask yourself what those scenarios are for your business and for those clients you want to attract.
2) Describe the feelings your target market suffers from having the problem.
Are they anxious, fearful, worried, unsure? How have your former clients described these feelings to you? What words have they used? What have you heard or observed? What particularly effective “word pictures” do you remember hearing?
3) Make sure you include any specific demographics.
This would be things like age, location, needs, or other statistical identifiers. Perhaps you work with stressed mid-level executives, or mothers of young children, recent college graduates, or women returning to the workforce. Use demographics that help your prospects self identify. Your demographics would vary with your scenarios.
4) Include psychographics. What psychological characteristics are relevant?
This could be things such as attitudes toward success, commitment to goals, follow-through characteristics, trustworthiness, confidence, or ability to execute plans. What are those psychological characteristics that are common to clients who succeed while working with you.
5) What kinds of solutions is your target market looking for?
This would come from your experience in working with your market in the past. Often there can be a range of possible solutions. What is your specific target market looking for? Describe this in emotional terms. How does it feel to have the solutions you provide? What have your clients said to you about how they have felt once their problem was solved? Use these descriptions.
6) Get your target market profile in writing. If you need help with the writing, get help.
If your marketing writing starts with a compelling description of your target market and their problems, you’re much more likely to attract their business.
Take it as the first order of business to create a written profile of your target market. It will really pay off for you. Marketing writing without a fully detailed target market profile will not be effective.
Suzi Elton provides business writing that attracts targeted prospects to your service business and converts them into clients for you. She is a Robert Middleton Certified Action Plan Marketing Coach, as well as a professional writer. Her website offers a free series of 8 assessments you can use to analyze your own site.