Choosing a Target Market is Harder Than It Looks

Photo Credit: Tobe Gaulke on Flickr.

“When are you going to be satisfied?”, he asked.

My husband was frustrated. We’d been perfectly happy in that little house for nine years already. So what if it was getting a little crowded? What was wrong with that?

Why ask for more?

Because I wanted to grow. Because I knew we’d want the space when the kids hit adolescence.

Because I was ready for a change.

I’ve always liked variety. Even when I love something (as I did that little house) there comes a time to move to the next stage of the journey.

So it’s no surprise that I seek out variety professionally as well. As a psychotherapist, I never wanted to work in just one area, so I’ve done a lot of different things. There’s very little in mental health that I haven’t had experience with at one time or another.

And as a business coach, it’s the same. I love the variety of my clients’ businesses. Attorneys. Event decorators. Energy healers. Yoga instructors. Psychotherapists. Coaches of all kinds. Employee engagement specialists. And yes, even a biochemist.

And yet…

Most business coaches would say that my audience is too broad. That my market isn’t clear enough. Narrow enough.

That I need a niche.

Perhaps they’re right. There is a lot about niche marketing that makes sense strategically.

For one, when your target is a narrow range of customers, your business may be more efficient.

You’re communicating with the same message, using the same kind of materials for everyone. You may offer a variety of programs and services, but there will be more overlap, because they’re all designed with such a specific audience in mind. You won’t waste time and money developing different materials for different groups.

Your marketing gets clearer, too.

You’ll get to know their needs at a much deeper level.

Consequently, it’s easier to develop products or services that specifically meet those needs. In fact, done well, they will feel like you get them in a way no one else ever has.

And that, my friends, is golden.

So you’ll probably make more money.

Because when you speak, market, talk, listen to and serve a narrow, niche market, the connection can be especially strong.

And they’ll love you.

You’ll be a big, helpful fish serving a small pond, and the dollars are more likely to flow your way.

For example, let’s say your target audience is women in construction, but not just any construction. You focus on developers in the sustainable housing industry.

You’ll be more efficient because you don’t have to create marketing materials that speak to both a female audience AND a male audience.

You’ll more likely understand their needs: the isolation, the hidden prejudices they encounter, the multiple demands they face in the roles they play.

You’ll be an expert, not just in their industry, but in who they are as human beings.

And when they’re ready to buy the service you offer, they’ll be drawn to you – because you get them in a way that others don’t.

And yet…

I struggle with this myself.

Perhaps you’ve noticed. :)

I could oh-so-easily build an entire coaching practice just serving psychotherapists in private practice. I know that world inside and out. I’ve made my share of mistakes, and have been successful in some unusual ways. I really do have a lot to offer.

But I like variety. :)

So I instinctively resist anything that says I have to do things a certain way. And I’m a seven on the Enneagram. We’re pretty resistant to limits of any kind. :))

Plus, there are challenges to being identified with a niche.

For example, I just learned that my VA once taught marketing at a university. Not only is she a whiz at managing the back end of a business, she knows how to create marketing plans! Who knew?

I myself am known for my work with women in particular, so I am often asked if I will work with men. (I like variety! Of course I will!)

So I go back and forth.

Sometimes I market to heart-centered entrepreneurs as a whole (the Quick Start Consults I started back in the fall).

And sometimes I speak specifically to therapists (the money masterclass I just launched to help them move away from insurance and towards a self-pay practice).

My choice may not be the most efficient or the simplest or even the most profitable. But for now, I’m going to keep walking in both worlds. Because, after all, I want to #lovemybusiness, and that makes me happy.

What do you think of my choice?

And what about you? Would narrowing your niche work better for your business? Or not?

Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

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