The more you address, the fewer you attract

I don’t know about you, but for me, August has always been the month that made me suddenly aware that the year is going to end at some point.

I don’t know about you, but for me, August has always been the month that made me suddenly aware that the year is going to end at some point.

And I know that it can be a stressful time, too. We might feel the urge to expand our target market, so we can create more business before the end of the year. Or we might feel like taking on more types of work, so we can get those bigger clients we’ve been working toward.

But if you’re a service provider trying to find new or more profitable clients more quickly, you need to address a smaller market, not a bigger one.

It feels counterintuitive, and you may have started expanding your focus area already.

But if you want to grow your business, you need to narrow your focus.

To attract a new customer on a basis other than price, they need to believe that yours is the business best suited to help them.

But is “one-size-fits-all” ever the best option?

And to get their interest, your marketing messages will need to address their specific Job to Be Done and their specific Struggling Moment that created demand in their lives.

But can you ever target specific challenges with general messages?

The reason most of us struggle writing our website copy, our social media posts, our proposals, and our ads is because we haven’t focused enough.

We don’t know exactly who we’re talking to and exactly what they need from us, so we’ll never know exactly what to say. And they’ll never know that our business is exactly right for them.

And when you try to reach everyone, you end up needing to serve everyone—with more service offerings, more leads, more proposals, more pitches, more meetings, and more discounts.

Which gets more and more expensive and less and less profitable, making the original problem worse and worse.

But when you focus on one real customer set, with one real challenge, and one real set of struggles, you know exactly what to say. Exactly what to offer. Exactly what to charge, and how to create meaningful value for your clients so they keep coming back.

I say this with a fair amount of personal interest, and I understand that it’s so much easier written than done.

When we started our business, we offered a little bit of every type of marketing to everyone. It got us off the ground and kept us busy, but over time it started to grind us down. We weren’t sure who to focus on and what we should offer them, when we could do so much for so many.

Energy and time investment went up, and profit (especially emotionally) went down. But, over time and through a lot of work, we were able to narrow our focus and the scope of our services by applying the strategy lessons I’ve written about in this newsletter.

Now, we only do one specific thing (marketing strategy) for one specific customer set (business owners looking to create more profit through marketing), experiencing a specific set of struggles (not knowing what to say, write, or promote to attract more profitable clients).

There’s no confusion or question anymore about what to say or what to offer. There’s no back-and-forth over pricing or scope. What we do is clear and valuable to some and, just as importantly, unnecessary and difficult to others. And there are plenty of alternatives and opposites a potential client could pursue instead.

Because it turns out that people don’t highly value a business that could work with anyone. They want to work with a business that’s best for them.

So, if you want to go into the next season feeling confident about your marketing, take the time to figure out your best clients.

Understand exactly what they need and what they value.

Structure your business around doing that better than anyone.

And reinforce that position in all of your marketing.

That’s the hard part.

Doing work you love for clients who love what you do is the easy part.