Discover your free Construction Marketing Ideas Email Newsletter

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Finding your ideal client

This can be easier said than done, but one of your primary marketing challenges is to focus your energies, resources, and strategies on building the trust and respect of your "ideal" potential client.

I put "ideal" in quote marks because this person (or organization if you are selling to other businesses), is not always as easy to find as you would like, and isn't always what it seems at first sight.

Nevertheless, if you have been in business for a while, you probably know who your ideal clients are: You probably can look at your current client list, and quickly find the top 20 per cent -- in loyalty, profitability, ease of service, and enjoyment.

The question is, can you find more of the same, or more clients with enough attributes that you would still be happy to have them?

You can then survey your market, and determine how many potential clients fit your description. In a local business-to-business space, you may find you have just a few dozen possibilities. In the residential market, you can connect the dots of demographics, neighbourhood size, and market area, to find your totals.

Then, take a close look at your former clients; the business you have either lost to the competition, or because the former clients simply do not see enough value in your service (or have had such a bad experience they have vowed not to return). This group should get special attention: If you can recover just a percentage of them, you will be ahead of the game.

Next, you have to develop your strategy to reach these individuals/organizations and attract their interest.

Along the way, of course, you may find your marketing process takes twists and turns.
Consider our business, for example. Eighty per cent of our business is from editorial feature profiles generally supported by supplier advertising. We've learned these are generally effective for businesses with sales volumes greater than $2 to $3 million annually (of course within the architectural, engineering and construction community.)

The actual advertisers, the suppliers of the profiled companies, don't need to be so large but we won't get their business without a direct referral from their clients and these clients need enough volume to have 'clout' with their referrals.

This blog reaches many thousand readers, but only a small fraction are decision-makers within this select community.

Ironically, this blog originated as a client service initiative. Advertisers, spending hundreds of dollars to support their clients (the featured businesses) were originally treated with less-than-respect by our business; we sold them their "support" ads, sent invoices, and then moved on to the next feature.

I started the blog to give the actual advertisers some real value -- ideas and insights to help their business grow. I certainly didn't anticipate it reaching international proportions, or achieving top rank on Google searches.

This status of course has led to other opportunities, and market development potential. So it hasn't been a linear or totally scientific process.

But our core marketing model hasn't really changed that much, we still need to focus our energies on businesses within the qualifying framework; the only difference is we now can communicate and offer something of value regardless of where they are located.

Consider your focus; but sometimes you can find the best results by looking in places where others don't go. Unfortunately, while it can make sense to head off the beaten track, I can't tell you where, or how.

No comments: