Monday, September 29, 2008

Marketing Plans, Target Clients, and Ideal Clients – part 1

Creating a marketing plan for your small business is like building a house. You need a foundation to build upon. You need supporting walls to hold up the structure. You need a roof to cover the building.

Far too many businesses have a throw it at the wall approach to marketing without a thought to strategy of how the whole house fits together. This makes for an ineffective marketing plan.

An effective marketing plan includes two very important elements: a strategy aimed at your Ideal Client using your Unique Strategic Position.

Today I will be explaining a Target Client in order to set the stage for how an Ideal Client is different and crucial in your marketing strategy.
If you’ve done much reading or taken any marketing courses you may have run across two terms related to clients: a Target Client and an Ideal Client. There are profound differences between the two.

A Target Client is a demographical profile of the type of customer you want to target. Clues to who you want to target lie in your current favorite clients. Examine your records to see if there are any patterns. Do you seem to have quite a few clients in a specific industry? Have you developed an idea of what it is they seem to need?

A Target Client Profile includes things like age, gender, profession, income, education, and geographical location. Completing this type of profile helps you establish where you will best find your clients.

How do you approach marketing? Do you decide what to do based upon products and services you already offer? Or do you try to find the holes in the structure of your target client’s abode? Do you look for unmet needs where you could slide in with the perfect solution and save the day?

An example: You are an independent financial advisor. You may find that your typical client is 45 to 60 year old male small business owner in the home building field who is concerned about taxes and having enough saved to fund retirement. He is also monitoring the cost of health insurance for his employees, the cost of managing his workplace 401(k) plan, and finding a buyer for his business when he retires.

A great place to market your services would be at the local Home Builders Association. What kind of short talk could you put together that addresses the concerns of this client?

Next time: Ideal Clients and Your Marketing Plan

Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors

No comments: