Do you want more customers? Every business does. Here’s the very best thing you can do right now to start getting more customers immediately:
Narrow your target market.
That’s it. It seems simplistic and even counter-intuitive. After all, why would you narrow your available customer-base if you want to get more customers?
Here’s the answer: The bigger your potential market, the harder it is to speak clearly and compellingly to their problem. Conversely, the smaller your potential market, the easier it is to truly connect with their problem and demonstrate how effective your solution is.
Here’s an example: If you have a friend who has a problem, you can give them advice, assurance, and a little helpful guidance to fix their problem. You’re laser-targeting your solution to your friend’s very specific needs. But what if you have several friends who each have the same problem? You might not have enough time to help each one individually so instead you help them generally or as a group. Your recommendations will still be targeted to their problem but it will be slightly more generalized. But to extend the analogy further, most businesses tell all of their friends about the solution, whether or not their friends have a problem.
That’s how it works in business. In a perfect world, you have one customer with a problem and you work with them until the problem is solved. Your message to them, as well as your advice and recommendations, are laser-targeted. However, that is not very profitable. So you need to back up just a bit and find a bunch of people who each share a similar problem and you can communicate to all them a little more generally. Unfortunately, many businesses (the struggling ones, at least), share their solution with anyone and everyone, regardless of whether or not they want to hear it. One is not enough, “everyone” is too many. The best thing to do is find the group in the middle — those who all share the same problem.
If your business is struggling a bit, or even if it’s humming along nicely but you’d like to get more customers, the very first thing you need to do right now is to identify your target market… and be as clear and specific as possible while describing a fairly large potential base.
If you’ve been in business for a while then you have some examples of previous customers to draw from. Find the ones who are the most profitable, the most positive, the ones who tell others about you the most enthusiastically… and figure out what is similar about them.
Then, look at the people who didn’t become customers, as well as your least profitable and highest-maintenance customers. What characteristics do your best customers share that these “worse” customers and almost-customers do not share? Try to identify the characteristics that DON’T describe your customer-base.
Once you’ve done that, you have a pretty good idea of who IS and ISN’T your ideal customer. Then hone your marketing to meet those specific people.
And if you haven’t sold anything yet, then give it your best guess but be prepared to refine it further — perhaps even dramatically — if you need to.
Let me give you an example from when I was doing a lot of a freelance writing.
I started by writing for anyone I could find. Over time, I found that I was being asked to write a lot of business (specifically B2B), financial, and real estate content. Later, I realized that my best customers were from the financial and real estate field, particularly in the US. And even later, I learned that my very favorite and most profitable customers included real estate investors, debt collectors and credit experts, and lenders. With each “step” toward a more specific customer base, my marketing was refined, I closed more deals, and my prices went up (because I was more specialized and there was less competition)!
So if you’re sitting at your desk and wondering what you can do right now to improve your business, drop everything else and refine your customer-base. Get very specific and narrow them further than they have been. Trust me, it’s the best thing you can do for your business right now.