Suzanne Falter-Barns In the marketing world, you hear a lot about micro-marketing, niche definition, and so forth. But not a lot about WHY this kind of focused and disciplined approach is important. Here’s the deal: You cannot (REPEAT: CANNOT) expand your market to the size it naturally wants to be if you’re vague and sloppy about who they are. Just yesterday I was on the phone with a colleague, Yvonne Divita, with whom I’m cooking up a majorly cool live event on publishing. In the course of just a few minutes we whittled our market down from ‘Just anybody on our lists and blogs’ to experienced corporate and wellness coaches, semi-advanced crafters who want to make a living from their business, and possibly therapists who want to break out and have been in practice at least five years.
(Don’t worry, you can come too, even if you don’t fit those niches.
) I hung up feeling strong and inspired … I knew who I was targeting and just where to find them. My action step: to find associations, SIGS and other groups that reach exactly these folks. And so, that’s your next action step, too. Do you know where your potential buyers and readers and fans hang out? And if you don’t, is it because you don’t know who they are? This is what I like to think of as ‘Micro Market Definition’, and doing so can triple your business and build your list like crazy. BUT … you’ve got to do your homework. First, determine exactly how well you know your people. Imagine a typical person in your market right now. What is she or he doing? Watching TV – and if so, what’s on? Or is she sitting at her desk, trying to figure out how to pay her bills? And agonizing? Or is he looking out the window, wondering where his own child is right now – the one who just moved away from home. This micro market definition is different from niche-ing, because you already know your niche, right? This is simply carving out a much more specific, detailed picture of who supports that niche and actively wants what you’re offering. More importantly, it’s understanding the exact emotional frame of mind of your market. We’re not talking about the usual, boring stats like age, marital status, geographic location and education.
Instead, determine the psyche of the person you’re selling to, their current highs and lows, and what the big needs and wants are that define their lives. By knowing this, you can design a website, a blog, an ezine, bonuses and infoproducts that speak right to their hearts. And so you can effectively solve their problems, deliver your work, and live your life’s purpose. You want to think empathetically. For instance, if you decide your market is teens going through major life transitions (parental divorce, moving to a new state, life threatening illness in the family, etc.), I want you to really put yourself in the position of that young person. Here are some key questions that will help you micro-niche your own business: 1. Are they reachable by industry or by some other situational classification, like Empty Nesters, teens about to go to college or recent retirees? Or are they distinguished by a life situation like depression, recent millionaire, or weight loss support group attendee? 2. Exactly where within their niche are they (i.e. not just ‘life coaches’ but ‘newbie life coaches considering a career in wellness but looking at several different options, maybe six months out of training’ 3.
What is their biggest need right now? Where do they go looking for support or advice? 4.
If they’re niched by industry, what level are they? (Managers, mid-level clerks, executives, CEO’s, solo pros, work-at-home Moms, etc.?) 5. How do they spend their lunch hour? 6. What do they do for fun? 7. What keeps them awake at night? 8. Do they hang out with other people in their field? Where? 9. In addition to their work (if they’re niched by industry) where else do they tend to congregate? (i.e. Life coaches who are also Unitarian Universalists, or Dentists who are into yoga.) (Yes, it is possible to go a little too tight here … but an interesting exercise. This works best with really big niches, like empty nesters or chiropractors.) 10. If there’s a gender slant to your niche, can you identify what’s unique about this group. (Note ‘women’ is not a niche. But ‘women who recently lost weight and are newly into healthy eating and approaching menopause are.’) 11. Are there any upcoming situations that your micro-market is facing? (i.e. New mothers who are about to give birth, or college graduates about to start looking for a job.) By having the discipline to sit down and really dig into your market – and possibly even get some help from surveys or focus groups with your potential market – you can lock in on who they are with much greater precision. Think of it as the difference between a mature business and one that’s only taking baby steps.
Go forth and conquer!