Marketing Tips – The Internet Marketing Secret That Stops Small Business Owners in Their Tracks

All of my clients are exceptional at the service they provide for their clients. However, many of them come to me for coaching because they’re having a hard time filling their practices and finding clients. Almost without fail, they tell me that this is a marketing problem. It is a marketing problem, but not the type they think it is.

When I ask them to describe their ideal client or target market, I’ll get a very general and all-encompassing answer like, “Oh, I want to work with entrepreneurs who are kind, loyal, courteous, have a great sense of humor, financially stable, etc.” — you know, in essence, the Boy Scout motto that covers a very large percentage of the world population. That’s a great beginning general descriptor about the type of client with whom they would like to work, but the description is, unfortunately, flawed.


Because it’s simply not specific enough.

Oftentimes, I’ll respond to their answer with, “I want you to open open up your local telephone directory and turn to the yellow pages listing with the heading ‘Loyal Entrepreneur’.” They are momentarily stumped, as, of course, no such listing exists in any phone directory I’ve ever seen.

Then we begin to work on the process of finding ideal clients in their target market by determining the demographic, industry, income, position, etc. I know without a doubt that the more specific they can be in their description, the easier their marketing becomes. So, I encourage my clients to identify as many specific characteristics as possible so that they can actually reach out and “touch” their ideal client — they know where the clients hang out on- and off-line, what they read, what groups they belong to, what they do for fun, etc. The point of the exercise is for these business owners to determine where they can obtain names and contact info or lists of people who are real, living, breathing, members of their target market that they can call, email, invite to a meeting, or send a mailing.

Once my clients have gathered this very specific info on their target market, the next move is to articulate the top 5 challenges of this group. Since my clients continue to tell me that they have “marketing” problems, I have more specifically defined “marketing” into these specific challenges:

1. determining what business you’re really in (i.e. you’re not selling career coaching but instead are selling a proven system to help someone land a dream job)

2. defining and refining your target market with very specific descriptors

3. determining how to find the members of your target market

4. understanding your ping vs. your pie (the benefits of working with you as opposed to the features of the services you offer and what makes you unique and different enough that they should work with you instead of someone else)

5. determining how to creatively and inexpensively promote your business online to your target market

Does this sound like anyone that you know?

Take some quiet time and determine the top 5 challenges for your target market. If you don’t know what these challenges are, ask members of your target market. Once you’ve articulated these challenges, focus your marketing efforts around these issues. You can address them in your web site, your elevator speech, your business card, the articles that you write, the talks that you give, the flyers and brochures you design, and in the conversations you have with prospective clients. Your target market needs to know you feel their pain and you’ve got the remedy that will help make that pain disappear.

So, now I’ve revealed to you the true secret of online marketing. Are you ready to harness the power of that secret and take your business to the next level?