Wednesday, September 5, 2007

What is a Target Market?

What Does Target Market Mean Exactly?

For the small business owner, target market is the term used to describe the group of consumers being targeted to purchase their products or utilize their services.

Another word that may be substituted would be to call this group your ‘niche’.
How about an Example?

That sounds good to me.

Let’s consider a Virtual Assistant.

Virtual Assistants are the Administrative Assistants, Secretaries and Receptionists of yesterday. They bring the everyday support services needed by a variety of business owners and professionals to the internet, making it easy for anyone to maintain a well staffed office – even if technically they don’t have one.

The Virtual Assistant industry has literally exploded. The demand for quality virtual support is still growing and it’s not terribly hard for a new VA to introduce their business with some basic networking and have a few clients to start with.

However, the market is mature enough at this point that to truly thrive as a VA, you have to do something to set yourself apart. (We’ll talk about this more later when we discuss the Unique Selling Proposition.)

One way to help gain momentum and grow your business is to focus on a specific niche or target market.

Rather than saying that you are a VA for anyone – you introduce yourself as the Coaches VA or the Podcasters VA or the Real Estate Professionals VA, etc. By identifying clearly with a specific target market, you let them know that you feel you are uniquely suited to meet their needs and this will help you to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

But I Don’t Want To Risk Excluding Potential Clients.

This is a common fear.

Yes, by declaring a niche – you are excluding the wider general market. But really, that’s just fine. If you try to position yourself to appeal to everybody – you won’t specifically appeal to anybody.

Does that make sense?

Let’s give another example.

Say that I am a Health and Weight Loss Coach and I am hunting for a VA to help me manage my business and free up some of my time. It’s really important to me that my VA make my life easier and that she will be comfortable with my topic matter and be able to discuss things intelligently.

I cruise around the web and I find hundreds of Virtual Assistant websites and directories. I read many testimonials and compare prices.

Then – I stumble into a VA website that says this:

“I specialize in supporting Health and Wellness Professionals.’

My eyes widen and I get excited. I can’t wait to talk to you and see if you are indeed going to be a great fit for me.

If that VA had been afraid of excluding the rest of the web – she would have missed out on connecting specifically with me.

And truthfully, the majority of service providers DO fail to make a specific connection with a target market.

Because they fear missing out on even one client, they create a website and promotional materials designed to cover every base and meet every need. They work so hard at being all things to all people and they end up being nothing to nobody.

Determine today to identify your target market. It will help you to have a clearer vision for the success of your business.

Carole DeJarnatt
Alliance Advisors, Inc.

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