Why it's Important to Get Specific About Your Target Client.
The whole point of branding is to attract your target audience and entice them to invest in you. In order to brand effectively, then, you need to know who you are trying to attract.
Who is your target market? Even better... who specifically is your ideal target client?
Once you pinpoint your target client, you can begin to observe what they like, which businesses they frequent, what they're attracted to, and what drives them.
Knowing who your specific target market is, and what drives them is a crucial understanding for every aspect of your business... branding and beyond. It helps to steer absolutely everything you do... what you offer... how you offer it... how you innovate... how you network... who you partner with... how you deliver.
Grasping the concept of choosing a specific target client was super uncomfortable for me when I started my photography business. I didn't like the idea of confining myself, or limiting myself to a specific demographic, and potentially losing out on business from the rest of the population. It wasn't until someone explained the concept behind this saying that I began to understand the importance of narrowing your focus:
'If You Try to Please Everyone, You'll End Up Pleasing No One.'
More specifically, they explained... think of the most successful and popular clothing stores. They all market to a specific demographic. Imagine if Gucci started selling cheap, low-end clothing in order to cater to the population they're currently missing out on. What would happen? Their high-end brand name would be completely compromised and they would lose their elite status and clientele.
What if Urban Outfitters began carrying conservative mature women's clothing? Suddenly the popular clothier designed to attract the hip, youthful population would not be so cool anymore when their clients' moms and grandmothers would begin shopping in the same location.
These businesses are the hugely popular, successful establishments they are because they are particular about who they are, what they offer, and who they cater to.
My portrait studio, Sash Photography, offers high end, artful portraiture and promotional imagery and boutique sessions designed for each client I work with. This is very specialized photography. What I offer is extremely different from low-end department store photography in which each session is standardized and clients all end up with similar poses, lighting and backdrops, and expect to pay discounted prices. I cannot cater to the demographic which wants department store photography. My style is entirely different and my costs of doing business are much higher because I require state-of-the-art equipment, offer only the highest quality heirloom products that I've personally selected, often from local specialty boutique vendors, offer sessions on-location, and put in a lot of time and attention catering tediously to my clients' every need, providing top notch customer service to assure they have the best possible custom experience. By offering low end photography, I'd be devaluing the boutique status I've established. If I tried to cater to the customers who want discounted sessions and products, my work would become inconsistent and I would confuse my clients as to what exactly it is I'm offering and everything would be a complete mess.
If you haven't done so already, take a moment to think about whether you've really pinpointed what specifically you want to offer. Do you want to offer a discounted service/product? Do you want to offer a high-end inclusive boutique service/product? Or are you somewhere in the middle? There is no right or wrong, better or worse option. This simply will determine whether you want to be catering to the low income or bargain shoppers and aspire to sell more volume... or whether you're trying to attract those elite individuals who place a high value on quality and service and are willing to invest more to get it.
How to Identify Your Target Client
So... who is your target client? How do you identify them?
Specialists recommend creating a very specific vision of your target client.
Get out a pen and paper and start writing down every detail you can possibly think up of who your ideal target client is (including both demographics and psychographics) to form a real, solid vision of this person. Getting into the head of your target client and understanding their lifestyle, hopes and desires gives you the leverage to begin designing your branding in a way that will attract them.
Here are some specifics to get you started in visualizing your ideal client:
First, think about the clients you've had in the past that you LOVE to work with. What do they have in common? They can be a great starting point. Now, get specific on creating your one ideal client:
Job... where do they work? What do they do?
Are they married? Single? Divorced?
Where do they spend their time... online and offline?
What's their favorite brand of clothing?
What are their greatest struggles?
What do they dream of for their life?
What are their eating habits?
What are their hesitations in working with you?
Keep in mind that every visual aspect you publish represents your business/service, and entices an emotion and judgement from the people who see it. I recently was visiting the tiny historic town of Galena, Illinois with my father. We passed by a coffee shop and the window sticker sign outside, of a cartoon coffee bean with legs and arms and a big smile inspired an instant judgement by me. Their chintzy image turned me off, as I related the cheap-looking logo design to an equally-cheap grade of coffee. If you're already publishing Facebook or Google ads and aren't getting the response you'd hoped for, or attracting your ideal target client, keep in mind that the dilemma may be in your branding.
In the next segment of the DIY Branding series, we'll talk about choosing your tone words.
Love + Wellness,
Are you ready to jump-start your branding visuals? Head over to the Wellness Stock Shop Photo Store for beautiful, professional, affordable stock photography!