The idea of narrowing down your target audience and defining your ‘ideal client’ seemed crazy to me at first. I thought that by doing this I would just be rejecting a lot of potential clients and business, which as a startup company is terrifying!
But hear me out. Choosing a business niche and defining your ideal client does not mean that you have to turn away business that doesn’t fit into your category. Especially if you are just starting out and need the experience and to make money. It just means that your business has a clearer direction as you know exactly who you are trying to target and who it is that you are wanting to work with.
So, where do you begin?
Find your high valued products/services.
First of all, write a list of all the services that you currently offer.
Example: You are a web and graphic designer and your design services include websites, logos, business cards, flyers, leaflets, advertisements, social media graphics, album cover artwork, blog graphics, and letterheads.
Now identify your high-value services. This doesn’t necessarily mean your most expensive services, but the services that are most valuable to your customers and are most frequently requested.
This will be your area of expertise and your businesses main service.
Not only is it a lot easier and less stressful for you to focus on one service, but you can then begin to thrive in that area and become an expert. (People trust and look for experts).
At the end of the day, you cant be everything to all people at all times. Especially if you are a one woman show.
Be more specific about your service.
Offering a broad service such as web design is great but think about it in more detail. What are you great at and what do you have a lot of knowledge about?
What style of website design?
What platform do you use?
Do you include coding?
What is your lead time?
Do you specialise in custom animation web design?
Do you photograph the images for the websites?
The more specific you are about the service that you provide, the easier it will become to attract the right types of clients. For example, you niche your website design services to WordPress website design, you will only be attracting clients that either have or want a WordPress website.
Find who you like working with.
Obviously, this comes with time and experience but once you have both of these things, you will easily be able to point out the ‘nightmare clients’ to the ‘ideal clients’.
Think about who your ideal clients were and see if you can spot any similarities. For example, their occupation, gender, age, lifestyle, annual salary etc.
Identify a common problem for those specific group of people.
By clearly identifying a common problem for your target audience, you can simply create your product or service to solve their problem. (That’s basically what business and marketing is)
Example: You are a WordPress Web Designer and you like to create feminine designs. You know that you best work with other female entrepreneurs and beauty bloggers. You notice that most beauty bloggers struggle with making their blogs unique and appealing and also don’t have the time to try and design it themselves.
Create a product or service to solve that problem.
Example: You can create WordPress themes or templates especially with beauty bloggers in mind. Or you can offer WordPress website design for beauty bloggers (make sure that your portfolio fully supports this).
To clarify, know what you offer, who you offer it to and how it solves a common problem.
It would also be beneficial that you continue to refine your services and your business niche every six months/a year.