VPS-Catalyst Many small businesses try to be all things to all people and find it hard to really focus or succeed at serving narrowly defined market segments. Small businesses don’t necessarily intend to be all things; it just sort of happens from a lack of focus and a prospect on the phone asking for some help in an area that’s not really your area of expertise.

Marketing Strategy Success Tip: Build your entire marketing strategy around attracting just ideal customers.

While it may seem like growth to take on a new customer, if that customer isn’t a good fit, it can actually stunt real growth. In some cases, trying to work with customers who are not ideal clients can lead to such a bad experience for both your business and the customer that you actually create vocal detractors for your business. That’s horrible for referrals and building trust.

Most businesses are best suited to serve a narrowly defined market segment – what you may call a “sweet spot” or niche. This doesn’t mean the sweet spot won’t grow, evolve and change altogether over time, but at any given time there exists a definable ideal client for most businesses.

What keeps you from “trying to be all things to all people” and more focused on your sweet spot is understanding what that ideal client looks like in the most specific way possible and then going about building an entire marketing strategy around attracting more of client just like them.

For some, an ideal client might simply be a subset of people who can afford what you offer. (OK) For others, the ideal client might be comprised of six to eight long-term clients. (Good) A perfect fit may mean that the customer has the kind of need your company can really help with (Better), but it also might mean the client values your unique approach and treats your staff with the respect the relationship deserves (BEST). A multiple red flag client, taken because they said they can pay, will suck the life out of a small business faster than almost any other dynamic.

These 5 steps, applied to a current client base and worked in order, will help you and your small business learn more about your true ideal client:

  1. Find your most profitable clients.
  2. From the above group, identify those that refer.
  3. From that even smaller group, find common demographic characteristics.
  4. Take the time now to understand the behavior that makes them ideal.
  5. Draw a fully developed biographical sketch to use as a marketing guide.

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