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How To Determine If You're Targeting Your Ideal Market

Aug 17, 2007
In the world of business, there are two dynamics that are constantly in motion, and they are...
1) A problem for which a solution must be found (owned by the client), and
2) The solution to that problem (owned by the service provider).

It's the degree to which you can solve that problem for that client that will determine how easy (or hard) it is to capture the work and land the client. That's why sophisticated marketers focus on finding the "#1 pain" of their market. They know if they can correctly identify a target's #1 pain (that thing that keeps them up at night), they can then provide the service that will solve that pain.

For any service provider, the first marketing challenge is to find the target market that's right for them. If you pick wrong, a market that doesn't have a strong need for what you have to offer, for instance, you'll struggle to land clients, perhaps unaware that the problem lies in your misunderstanding of what it is they really need.

Let me give you a real life example. Lynn is a lawyer-turned-copywriter who knows the legal field very well having worked in it for many years. Therefore, would it not be a good idea to specialize in helping law firms with their marketing?

In our work together, we certainly had to consider the market. But upon close examination, we determined that using her new copywriting skills to help law firms was not her ideal market.

Lynn's research, intuition, and past experience told her that law firms generally do not place a high value on copywriting, and that the largest categories of law are dominated by individual practitioners who might find it hard to pay the rates she wants to charge. What's more, she had lost her passion for law, which is one of the reasons she decided to change careers and become a copywriter.

Yet she was getting some business from this trade. So we decided to target a market Lynn could get excited about, the self-improvement (SI) market. For now, Lynn continues to help her local law firms as a "sub-niche" until she has a full roster of SI clients.

The lesson is, when you target a market, run through a checklist to see if you're really well-matched for it. Here are five starter questions to ask yourself:

1. Does this market really want and need what I have to sell? To what degree?
2. Do I understand this market's #1 pain and can I articulate my solution to that pain in a powerful way?
3. Do I enjoy this market and will I enjoy it five or 10 years from now?
4. Can this market help me achieve my financial and business-building goals?
5. Will this market need my help long into the future or is it susceptible to change?
About the Author
Chris Marlow publishes a free newsletter for consultants who want to land the high quality, high value clients.
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