I know you want clients. You want lots of clients of decent quality so that you can be picky and choose the ones that fit your ideal client profile. If you want this it all starts with a niche.
Contrary to the thoughts of most consultants and business owners the best way to get lots of prospects is to say you do less. Narrow your focus down to a specific niche out of the millions of potential clients in the world. Focus on a few thousand that sit right where you want to be in the market.
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Focusing down on a niche has one big advantage for you, by allowing you to focus your marketing material. You don’t have to try and figure out what everyone in the market will respond to and then produce reams of content that they might read. You only need to find the problems of your small niche of prospects and all your marketing can target those issues.
This focused marketing is going to pay off long before the scattershot approach of being everything to everyone.
Before you can really dive in and find your niche you need to do one thing -- know yourself and your goals better. The exercise I like most is to take a piece of paper and divide it in half, top to bottom. Now fold it in half side to side. You’ll be left with four rectangles on the page.
Inside these rectangles you are going to list the most important areas of your life, organized by the top four categories. My top four categories are Family, Travel, Business, Fitness. It may take some time to nail them down so don’t sweat it if at first you aren’t sure you've identified the perfect four categories at first.
Now what do you want each of those areas of your life to look like in five years? For me in my Family quadrant I know that in five years I want to be able to be around homeschooling my kids a few days a week. I know I want to be able to take them on multi-day backcountry trips without needing to check back in on the Internet.
Once you've identified your four quadrants start thinking about the projects you’ve already done. Which ones were the most fun? Which ones make you smile to look at them still? In all likelihood those projects that were the most fun are at least closely related to the niche you should operate in.
Another way to work out your niche is to list all the problems you’ve solved for clients over the last few years. Think hard about why each client came to you and what service you provided for them. It may be that while you did design a site, the client's real problem was poor sales and what you really did was help them get more sales. The site design is simply the thing you can see that fixed their problem.
Once you have a few ideas that could be your niche it’s time to go back to your four quadrants and make sure that they line up with the life you want to live in five years. For me that’s meant I don’t develop plugins for sale because doing so would mean I need to be around for support daily. I want to cut my required Internet time down to two days so that I can be around for my family.
Once you’ve centered on a niche it’s time to start to dig into the problems your niche has as a way to generate your marketing material. The first step is to identify the top problems that your niche has. You should already have a list of some of them from your work to identify the niche, but as you move forward write down every question your prospects ask you. Don’t just answer them once on the phone or via email, use the answers to generate ideas for your blog.
Another way to find the problems in your niche is to go find where the people already are in the niche. There are Facebook groups or forums for any niche around. Find the top five and join them. Now read through most of the content there and see what people are struggling with. Some things you’ll be able to answer right away in the forum or group, so do it. Take those answers and write them down so you can expand on them later in writing on your site (or other sites which we’ll talk about in a future post).
By picking a niche you’re going to be able to focus your marketing message to only those prospects that have the problems you can best solve. Doing this is going to get clients in that niche knocking on your door and leave you booked out for months. I’d love to hear about the niche you’ve picked in the comments.
If you need more help finding a niche get my book Finding and Marketing to Your Niche. It includes a great 3 step marketing plan to take the guess work out of marketing.