We all have an amazing opportunity to grow our businesses through marketing, and it is vital that we don’t squander our efforts on the wrong things.  Too many people get marketing wrong because they don’t focus. 

The worst marketing mistake that web designers and developers make is not intentionally targeting a specific market that they can best serve.

How To Define Your Market

The first step to targeting your market is to define who it is.  It can help to try to think of your ideal customer.  You can get as detailed as you’d like, including their age, gender, income bracket, hobbies, or even the type of car they drive.  This is called your niche avatar because it puts a face on who you are trying to reach as a client; you can even give your avatar a fitting name.  Let’s call your potential avatar Bob for now. 

It isn’t that you are locked into only having Bob’s as clients, it just helps you to think about what appeals to Bob when you are putting your marketing together.  What are Bob’s needs, his wants and desires?  What does he lie awake at night worrying about?  How can you help Bob?  Of course a lot of Bob’s needs will be the same as Susan’s or Jose’s, and you can certainly take their business, too — but you are targeting Bob.

Another guide in defining your market is to look at your current and past clientele.  Sort out the ones you wouldn’t want to work with again and narrow down the top 20% of your clients.  What do they have in common?  If you want to get as detailed as having an avatar, they should probably look something like these top clients of yours.

Eliminate who you are not targeting.  I can make some broad general assumptions about who you are not targeting right now.  There are not a lot of kids or teenagers with need or resources to require the services of a web developer.  Scratch them off your list.  Chances are you will only do business with those you share a common language with. Scratch the majority of the world who doesn’t speak English or whatever other languages you speak off your list.  (I am assuming you speak English since you are reading this now.)   See, already we have eliminated 90% of the worlds population.  If you want to focus locally, you can scratch off anyone outside of your city, state or region off your list.

You can see how narrowing who you want to reach with your marketing can drastically reduce the amount of money and effort that you need to put into it.  “But doesn’t this decrease my chances of getting business?”  NO!  It multiplies your money and time because now you are more likely to reach potential customers by tailoring your message to actually speak to them!

Now, further define your market by what they do, what kind of business they own or work in, who their clients are that they hope to reach with their website.  Where do they go, both online and in person, that you can market to them most effectively?

Targeting Your Market

A million people may see that billboard ad, but only 100 of them are interested in your services, despite the fact that you paid good money to reach 1 million people.  Instead, find a way to reach 1,000 people where 200 of them may need your services or reach 20 people where you know every one of them will need your services…. I think you get the point. 

By targeting your market you will have a better Return On Investment (ROI).  This will free up your time and money to finish more products or invest in new software… or go on that vacation you have been dreaming of.

What do you think?