If you are a corporate professional who has decided to open your own practice, you’d probably like to hit the ground running. With years of industry experience, you are ready to offer your services to a new clientele base — but finding ideal customers might be new terrain for you.
Whether your new practice is just getting off the ground or already underway, the following are some approaches you can take to reach your ideal market.
Identify a Clear Target Audience.
Honing in on your target audience seems like an obvious and unnecessary piece of advice, but one of the biggest pitfalls for new entrepreneurs is marketing to an audience that is too broad. While you may be inclined reach out to as many people as possible, the most cost-effective and efficient way to maximize your business’ reach is to really narrow your marketing to a specific audience. Imagine your “ideal” customer with regard to age range, lifestyle, occupation, interests, and more.
Networking is a very powerful (and necessary) tool for expanding your new practice. Consider joining your local chamber of commerce, Rotary Club, or industry-specific association to meet other small business owners and industry professionals. Getting to know other entrepreneurs can help you to identify your niche, and learning from their successes can help you achieve your own.
Leverage Your Business Relationships.
Leverage your past business associations for customer referrals, because word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective strategies to expand your clientele. If you can communicate your specific target market to your professional contacts, they may be able to recommend potential clients who fit the mold. Ask the same of your satisfied clients, and thank them for their support!
Build Your LinkedIn Presence.
LinkedIn is the perfect social media platform for small business professionals, because it enables you to do all three of the above. Connect with users that fit that “ideal” customer profile, and present your goods and services in way that will uniquely appeal to them. Join industry and area-specific groups with other professionals like you. FInally, seek endorsements for your skills and services from your customers and contacts, because these are essentially digital referrals.
Look for ways to offer your services or advertise your business in your local community. Donating your services free of charge to an event or organization can leave potential customers with a very positive impression, and this can be done with your target audience in mind. For example, if you are trying to reach parents with school-age children, consider sponsoring a local sports team.
Send Direct Mail.
Direct mail postcards are a simple and affordable way to reach local customers. Since no envelopes or inserts are necessary, these are more likely to be read, and can be mailed out at a very reasonable price. Check out your local Staples or other retailers for design and mailing options.
While attracting clients to your new business can be challenging at times, the reward of forming personal relationships with your customers and refining your services to suit their needs makes it all worthwhile. And once you tap into that target market, the hardest work is over, because your clients will be eager to spread the word about the work that you do!
Are you having trouble honing in on your target audience? Schedule a free 25-minute discovery call and I’ll help you get crystal clear about where your target market is and how best to reach them!