ICS Magazine

Reaching Your Prime Market

July 14, 2006

Does your ideal client live here? Then work on getting your message to them.

Most business people realize that their services are best "targeted" to a specific segment of the marketplace. In other words, since you can't be all things to all people, be the ideal thing to some. The challenge then becomes identifying just what segment of the market is the best fit with your business.

If you are the highest-priced, best qualified and most service-oriented company in your area, you should market to a totally different market segment than if you are an economical, no-frills service business. Some of the characteristics of your business to consider in defining your place in the market include prestige; image; budget/ economical; convenience; qualifications; years in business; experience; credentials/certifications; affiliations; and reputation.

Once you have a clear picture of where your business fits in the overall marketplace, build a profile of your ideal client. This will include age; gender; income level; family status; education; neighborhood; general hobbies; and any other traits you can think of. Next, with your profile in mind, outline a plan to get your message in front of this ideal client.

For instance, the prestige/image type of customer would be better reached by advertising in the symphony program or country club newsletter, while the budget-minded client might be reached better through the local penny saver paper. The "soccer mom" client might be best reached through radio spots, as she spends a lot of time in the car, or perhaps by sponsorship of a local Little League or soccer team.

In other words, try to get inside the head of your ideal clients and determine what they are likely to be doing, what kind of music they might like, or what things are important to them. Design your marketing plan to highlight the interests of your clients and to be in the places they will be looking. Unless you represent that ideal client profile, be careful not to impose your personal likes, beliefs, and ideas onto your potential client.

Review and make a list of all the avenues available to you to get your message into the market place and begin to rule out those that don't fit your client profile and highlight those that fit the profile well. Include in your list things like display ads in newspapers and other publications; radio and TV spots; the Internet; direct-mail coupons or postcards; newsletters; telemarketing; door hangers and flyers; home shows; referral networks; leads clubs; local affiliations such as the chamber of commerce, and telephone directories. Take the time to make your list as complete as possible. From the list that remains you can develop an effective plan to reach your ideal client.

Next, now that you know your means of delivery, create the message. Don't try to tell a potential client everything about your business in a single ad. Instead, focus on the key points you identified as important issues to them, and plan a program making several impressions in a given period of time. Be concise, giving a single point of service or feature of your business, while always being clear on how to find or contact you when your services are needed.

It all boils down to properly identifying and understanding who your client is and designing a plan to be visible as they go about their daily routine. Reach your client on their turf, not yours.