In this blog, we're going to start with the
Most basic of all questions:
Well . . .
My friend Dominic Canterbury - a word of mouth
marketing specialist - came up with this list:
You know your targeting sucks when:
1. Your marketing strategy consists of "just getting
your name out there"
2. Your target is, "People who can afford me."
3. Your Unique Selling Proposition is a lame platitude
such as, "I work to truly understand my client's needs."
4. You wish you didn't look just like the competition
5. You define it by age, income and geography
6. Your word-of-mouth strategy is based on lines like,
"The highest compliment you can pay us is the referral
of a friend."
7. You blew your marketing budget on advertising that
did nothing for you
8. You don't like your clients
9. Or, you've run plumb out of fresh marketing ideas
Hard but true.
One of the classic blunders in marketing is:
Not clearly identifying your ideal client.
But most businesses have never really answered
the question, “Who is my niche?” in any meaningful
way. And it’s probably one of the most important
question you’ll ever answer for your business.
They say, “We help everybody . . .”
“Who are you trying to reach?
Who’s your target market?
Who’s your niche?”
There is likely no decision in business more central
or profound than this one.
And no question that meets with more resistance.
After all, that question asks you to make a decision.
Once you decide who you’re trying to reach you have
also, by necessity, made a decision about who you are
no longer trying to reach.
You are asking yourself, “who am I best able to help?”
And this brings up a lot of very personal issues about
what you’re passionate about, why you’re here on Earth,
what your talents are - questions that are often dealt
with by ignoring them.
I’ve found that many people sort of “short circuit”
when asked to address this question directly. Their
eyes glaze over and they go into a deep haze.
But it must be addressed.
And yet, most entrepreneurs aren’t even aware that they
have a problem.
Why is identifying your niche important?
Dominic Canterbury (www.dc-strategic.com) told me once that,
whenever he feels stuck or cloudy about what to do next in
his marketing work with a client he takes that as a sign that
he’s lost sight of the niche. So, he’ll stop, review who the
target market is and instantly, ideas will start to flow.
Why is that?
Your niche is the very center of all of your marketing efforts.
You must identify a niche. Until and unless you do that:
1. How can you possibly make your business attractive to
them (or yourself)? And why would you market? You will be
irresistibly attracted to your ideal client - and this will,
in the long term, make you irresistibly attractive to them.
Having a client you’re excited to attract & serve gives you
* * *
You have 24 hours to find the perfect gift for my friend or
else you will never see your family again. ( . . . “Does that
include my in-laws?” you ask.) BUT! The catch is that I won’t
tell you anything about them. This is, of course, impossible.
* * *
2. How do you know how to word your marketing materials?
The more that people feel you are speaking right to them, and
nobody else, the more likely they are to buy. You want them
saying, “that’s me!” not “so what.” The better you know them,
the more you will know what to say and what to avoid saying.
It’s about knowing exactly the right thing to say to them to
get them to act.
3. How do you know where to invest your marketing efforts?
4. How can you possibly expect to receive any quality
referrals from your existing clients? If you can’t tell them
the kind of people you want them to send you - how will they
5. How can you know where to find them if you don’t know
who they are? You’d be surprised how often people miss this
obvious point. People ask me all the time, “Where can I find
more clients?” and I ask them, “Well, what kind of clients?
Who are you looking for?” Most folks can’t really answer that
except in vague notions of “people who are open to change”.
That’s likely too vague. Different sorts of folks hang out in
different places. Some people may already have your ideal
client as their clients. You target market is already spending
their money somewhere. They’re likely already hanging out
For most businesses I know, finding a niche is one of the
most important steps. If you can’t be everything to everyone,
then who are you best able you serve? What are you best at?
So, over the next few weeks - roughly once a week - we're going
to focus on this issue.
In the Part 2 - the next email I'm going to cover Five
Important Premises to consider when identifying your niche
(that can take a lot of the fear out of it).
In Part 3: we'll look at eight characteristics of a great
niche. It's a really useful checklist you can use to see
whether the niche's you're considering are worth the effort
(and if your current niche isn't working why not)
In Part 4: we'll look at 9 ways that you might go about
identifying your niche (some of which are really obvious but
most people never consider them).
In Part 5: We'll look at how to describe your niche in a single
In Part 6: You'll get a tonne of real life examples of niches.
That's the plan.
I hope you're well.