How do you find your potential buyers? How do you know if they’ll actually buy? Will I have a fighting chance in my current market? My tips below are a great starting-point for all of these burning questions:
Define your service, and what you can offer.
This is kind of a no-brainer, right? If you don’t actually know what you do, how are you going to promote yourself? Not only that, but if people are going to pay for what you’re selling, you need to be able to exchange their pain and/or struggle for your relief.
So what pain-points can you heal with what you’re offering? And who is going to be willing to pay you for it? if you know the answer for this, you’re already half-way there.
Identify your ideal client.
You have some idea of who you actually want to be working with. Be honest with yourself. Whether it’s industry specific, or more niche than that, there’s an area of passion where you’d most like your talents to shine.
For me, it’s always been local small businesses and female solopreneurs. I love being able to sit across from my clients at a local coffee shop without any pretense or sales-y tone to our conversation. I thrive in having genuine, real, transparent relationship with them—because I want their businesses to grow and see them succeed. I haven’t gotten this intimate contact when I’ve worked with larger-scale organizations, which takes a lot of the fulfillment out of my personal client relations.
Study your competition.
Looking at your competition’s clientele gives you a great indication of what kind of clients are in need of what you have to offer (they’re clearly buying from somebody!). If you’re really stumped, researching your competition will give you some insight of who you’ll be marketing to.
The other side of a competitive analysis, and in my opinion the most important part, is that through tracking your competition’s movements and clientele, you can find gaps in the market. A gap in the market is where there’s a lack of service for a particular portion of industries and/or people who are still in need of the service—but it’s just not attainable for them. Having a product or service you can sell isn’t enough—there needs to be a demand for what you’re selling. Find the gap where your competitors aren’t touching, and be the God-send that swoops in and gives the left-out population exactly what they want and need.
Find a specific niche.
Right now, you might be saying “I’ll take anyone, I don’t care! I just want customers!” The issue with this is that you’re being far too broad. It’s necessary to narrow your focus for several reasons:
Think about it: you’re someone looking for an electrician to fix your faulty fireplace. You’ve got two options at about the same price, one who is a general electrician and the other who specializes in electric fireplaces. Which are you more likely to choose?
Finding my own niche.
I’ll keep this to the point. I looked around me and my city, and noticed several things.
Narrowing down, I had three definitive solopreneur social media marketers in my area. However, two of them focused most of their clientele outside of the city, and the one who was in the city was out of reach for your typical small biz marketing budget. That left a HUGE gap in the market for social media marketing that was affordable for my ideal audience. People were asking around in my city for someone, but until me there wasn’t anyone around to meet the needs of that demographic. Enter The Clever Quill—I found great success early on through word-of-mouth marketing which allowed me turn my side-hustle into my full-time gig years earlier than I’d anticipated.
Where’s the gap in your market that you have the potential to dominate?
Gillian Sisley is a social media-savvy strategist hell-bent on engaging with people on a real, human level.
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