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Simple answer to the question in the headline…
- You should be spending all your energy on creating immediate income (or delivering on existing income opportunities)
- Next, creating a unique position for your product or service in order to create demand in the market place
Below I expand on how you would go about this. Today’s show topic came about from a response to the above 10 Steps to Becoming the Only Option in Your Target Market. In the first email we ask two main questions:
- What is your biggest marketing challenge?
- What’s one thing holding you back in your business?
Most of the responses are focused on what activities someone should be doing in both their business and marketing. Today I thought I’d share and expand on a recent email exchange that is usually where I start. Here’s the response from those two questions from Christi who is a photographer:
- What is your biggest marketing challenge? I am a fine art photographer in a huge crowd, many of whom have very established customer bases and more talent/experience. My work is good and will appeal to a specific customer base, I’m sure, but I need to be able to stand out so they can find me.
- What’s one thing that is holding you back in your business? This is a one-woman operation. I have to be marketer, artist, social networker, secretary, etc., and it’s a challenge to keep all the plates spinning. I officially hung out my shingle five months ago and have accomplished a lot in that short time. Now I need to figure out where to best focus my energies in marketing and networking so that I also have time to produce my art.
I love this response as it’s well thought out and gives me plenty of information to respond in detail. As an expert marketer there are a few things that really stand out. First, does she really have a target market defined? Next, how can she create a unique position in the market place so that she can create more demand for her service or product. Finally, this all equates to an income problem for her business.
Do You Have a True Target Market?
In my response I share exactly how to solve the income problem and find out if she truly has a target market. Here’s my response (which I expand on in more detail in today’s show):
Here’s a few things that come immediately to mind that I hope will help you gain a little more clarity:
- Can you list 5 people/business that should be doing business with you but aren’t?
First, If you can’t immediately name 5 then you have a challenge of really identifying who your target market is. So I’m clear, it’s not archetypes of customers but actual people that could (I like to visualize them taking out their checkbook) buy your services right now today. It’s important that they are real people you can get on the phone or call.
Second part, from the little you told me I’d suggest you spend most of your efforts connecting with the above. Drop all social activities except for follow up to to gain the attention of the above person/company. Your best tool will be in person meeting or on the phone. To me this will take you farther than any blogging, social, or other aspect of networking.
Photography is tough… I feel in some ways it’s like interior design, at least on the marketing side. Here’s what I’ve learned in that space. We helped a designer with marketing and at first his thought was that he can design anything, which is probably true. The challenge is this confuses the market, ultimately people want to work with the expert. That’s why you have to create a style (or look) unique to you. Then people work with you for that idea, for that style, look etc.
I think its probably the same for you. Not only is it doing the exercise above but it’s figuring out what you have to be known for… and I know that’s tough as an artist. Most artists I’ve worked with find that limiting. I think the key there is to interpret your style into the other things you do. When you do that you start creating a self selecting subset of people willing to do business with you–essentially they either like you or don’t.
Here’s Why I Responded This Way
First her question was about where to spend energy. To me her energy should be spent talking with real people who can actually pay her to deliver her service. If she can come up with 5 then that’s where to start. If she can’t then her first task is to create those 5–then connect.
Second, she’s in a field that is full of me-too type businesses. She has to find a way to add value to what she does. She has to create a unique position in the market place that creates demand for her service or product. If she was competing with photography being a commodity then she will have to still create a unique position but also understand it’s really the delivery method (as we talk about in this show). The key here is stepping out and being unique. Having a unique style that the market ascribes towards and will pay for. It’s not an easy task but it’s where the energy should be spent.