The first obvious challenge most business owners have is defining their ideal client. Nailing down who your ideal client and target market is, is your first step to business success. And the key is to select no more than three primary targets, not 23 and definitely not 53. Scattered efforts yield scattered results. Once you’ve got that determined, the second question I’m asked the most is “where do I find my target market?”Hit Your Target Market Bullseye
There are a lot of very good answers to this question for both B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) target markets. You can also select between online virtual sources and offline, real time sources. I recommend balancing the two as it is important to leverage face to face and voice to voice whenever you can.
Here are 5 Proven Places to Find Your Ideal Client:
#1 Associations (Online and Offline)
The fastest way to find the right associations for your target beyond a Google search is to use the reference guide created by Columbia Books. These can be found on Amazon, the latest version can be an investment, but you can easily use an older, used version or better yet just go to your local library. It’s old fashioned but it works and it’s free! Most industries have dozens of associations, so you will have to do some research to determine the best one that your target market will belong to. Many also have newsletters (electronic or by snail mail) and are looking for expert content. You have a golden opportunity to provide free articles and posts that will include your bio, contact, and a link back to your website.
#2 Forums (Online)
This works for both B2B and B2C because forums aren’t limited to business topics but include personal development, health issues, parenting, relationships, and a whole lot more. You can google forums with keywords related to your niche market. Remember that forums are not to solicit clients, but instead to act as the trusted advisor and provide relevant answers, solutions and value content. Of course, you can conveniently and appropriately include a link to a topical blog post or downloadable content that goes in depth and may require an opt-in (so you can capture name and email for follow up.)
#3 Chamber of Commerce (Offline)
When serving B2B clients never overlook your local Chamber of Commerce, it is a hotbed of all manner of business owners and it is likely you will find some of yours among them or even many. This means live networking, one letter away from not working. Focus on getting to know a few key people instead of scattering your efforts to everyone. Look for the gatekeepers and gate openers to your target market if not the actual market itself.
#4 Meetup.com (Online and Offline)
Whether B2B or B2C, meetup.com is a powerful resource with thousands of interests available to choose from. The better you know your market, the more targeted you can get on Meetup. Looking for singles who hike, lawyers who golf, accountants who cook, a mom’s bookclub, meetup has it all. Go to a couple of meetups that interest you before creating your own.
#5 LinkedIn Groups (Online)
While you surely know LinkedIn as the premier online business network, the real magic lies in using LinkedIn groups. Search for groups that your target market would be playing in and join. Joining alone isn’t enough, you’ve got to contribute expert content consistently and persistently and be interactive in the discussions. Again, like forums, no soliciting, this is a vehicle to build trust and invite people offline.
Yes, there are many more places to look for and find your ideal client (once you know clearly who that is). Start with the places detailed here and COMMENT BELOW on your resource of choice or others you’ve used effectively.