Small Business is not a Target Market

This post is NOT for those that work at Walmart, Coke, Fedex, Microsoft or anyone else that has the budgets, resources and opportunities available to “BIG” business. It is for small businesses that have limited budgets, strained resources and in general less than 1000 employees (but usually WAY smaller). This post is for the small business- entrepreneur.

I hear so many entrepreneurs tell me they are comfortable in having a broad niche and they *think* that variety makes them great. I understand this all too well. In fact, in the early years of my business, I would have described my target market as “small business,” which was too broad. But I learned the hard way that having such a fuzzy audience is no way to build your business. With all the competition out there, you have to be crystal clear about who you serve and demonstrate that with a smart marketing message.

Back when I defined my audience as “small business” I had clients, but it was really hard for me to develop a steady stream of leads and even harder to make conversions. I always wanted to write a book and develop programs for my business, but until I found a true target market, I struggled. Once I narrowed my niche, I found that many of my marketing decisions flowed better. I knew which events to go to for networking and how to develop offers for my market using my target market’s language and examples that directly connect to them. I knew how to create content that would connect my audience to me and my brand.
If you agree with this concept…read on.

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What is a “target market”?

It is a clear description of who you serve. It can be either vertically or horizontally focused. Think of it this way: vertically focused is aligned with a specific industry, e.g., real estate or financial services.

Horizontally focused is not as easy to describe because they can be any one of the following:

  • Demographic – based on the person, e.g., women owned firms
  • Stage – companies can be described by their stages, like new, start up, growth or established phases
  • Challenge based – what problem does the client need (e.g., increase online conversions or registrations)?

Any of these will work to narrow your target market. But if you really want to develop a strong position, you should select a vertical and horizontal focus to have a “niched company.” A great example of this is run by Brett Neal who develops WordPress websites for cement construction companies. His strategy has produced amazing results so far. For example, Brett recently got the chance to speak to a room full of cement construction executives and walked away with 13 projects from that one speech….one speech!! (talk about some focused marketing efforts!). Brett knows this business and has stacks of references and testimonials that directly relate to this narrow target market.

Your target market will seek you out if you write your web content and emails directly to the heart of what really matters to them. If you create a video that addresses them directly and with empathy you will get more clients. This is true because I have seen it work for so many clients and I have seen it work for me (remember I am a Business Coach to Entrepreneurs that want to find their target market and the profitable niche just in case you forgot).
One final thought here…Your “target market” must be black or white.  This means that people will see if they are included in your target market.

[spp-tweet “A target market is clear to people you want included…it can not be fuzzy.”]

This means that your client will positively associate themselves to that target market. The stronger that someone will defend that position, the better your target market is. It is critically important to have clients see themselves based on the words you use. Don’t pick some cute- fancy name just to be different. You want your target audience to easily recognize who you are.

Now after you find your “target market” you have to do some work to find your niche. Look for our next post about finding your niche.

I would love to hear more stories from you about your target market. Leave me a comment to start a conversation.

Related posts:
Episode #034 – Gene Hammett | Discovering Your Real Target Market

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