How to Find Your Ideal Client by Going Fishing


Image compliments of chefrandan

Is your marketing going fishing?  Not real fish, though this one is a lovely example (done on a computer).

I mean fishing for ideal clients.  It turns out that marketing, and finding your ideal customers, has quite a lot in common with fishing.

Don’t try to please everybody

One of the hardest lessons for many solopreneurs (and even bigger companies) to learn is to not try to please everyone, only your own school of fish.

Apple doesn’t care what “everybody” thinks. Some people love the iPad. Some don’t care. Others hate it. Apple focuses only on the first group – and it’s a big enough tribe that they sold $150,000,000 worth of iPads in one day.

They know how to find a niche market, determine what they want, and how to deliver it.

Focus only on  your “fish”

Before you can sell anything, you need to know what your ideal client “fish” look like, what information they need, and how you can help them get it.

Are they big fish (companies)? Small fish (solopreneurs)? Are they older fish (established businesses) or newly-hatched fry (baby fish)? Knowing this will tell you more about how to reach them, who to talk to, and how much they can afford to spend on your products or services.  For example, bigger companies have more resources, but are also likely to be more bureaucratic.

Where are they?

Where do they swim?  In lakes? Or the ocean? Or are they in rivers?  Apply this same principle to the clients you want to reach. Where are they? Locally? Nationally? Internationally?

What meetings or industry events do they regularly attend?  What industry magazines do they read?

This also applies, by the way, to their online presence. Which social networks do they use (if any)? What forums are they active in?  What industry sites to they comment on? Or do they own one, where you can comment?

What do they want?

Actual fish want to know what’s for dinner and where to find it…the best sources for smaller fish, or plants, or flies.

Your clients probably don’t eat flies (at least I hope not), but they will want to know how to get their contract employees’ tax files processed. Or how to set up a blog. Or an ebook on how to get more web site sales.

Have you been able to find a market niche (or your fish)? Want some help figuring it out? Try this free ideal client profile worksheet (just download it, no obligation).

What Every Small and Medium Size Business Ought to Know About Niches

large niche image

What is your niche market? What does it look like? Can you see a picture of it in your mind?

Is it grand and glorious, with padded couches, like the one in the photo?

Is it plainer, simpler and very narrowly focused? Or somewhere in-between?

Here’s more on what a niche is, why it’s important, and how to find one.

How to Narrow Your Marketing and Improve Your Results

Is Your Niche Too Big?

Does Your Business Have a Niche?

When is it Smarter to Have Two Web Sites?

Image thanks to: hamed

Is Your Business Niche Market Too Big?

crowd of colored pegsTrying to sell to an audience that’s too small can kill your business before it starts. Hamster shoes, anyone?

Too big, or too varied a niche can be a problem too.

Trying to reach too many people (or two entirely different groups of people can sink your marketing before it starts.

A business marketing niche that’s too big

Just the other day, someone wanted a business name for a company she was putting together with two friends. She was having a lot of trouble finding a good name, and asked for help.

Each of them had a different specialty. They were: fitness, safety training (first aid and construction), and weddings.

Several people (including me) begged her to reconsider. We said, that’s three businesses, not one. Split them up. She left, disappointed that she hadn’t gotten what she wanted.

Why this business niche isn’t a niche

  • it confuses prospects – the three businesses are so different, people will wonder how you can be good at any of them
  • It may drive people away – do people looking for a wedding really want to see smelly people working out in a gym?
  • They’ll need three marketing plans, three brochures, three sales pitches on the web site, and three sets of audiences to build

A real niche marketing strategy

  • Picks a specific business to be in (say the safety training)
  • Narrows that down further (maybe safety training on construction sites)
  • Chooses a specific problem in that niche (safety training for new workers on commercial construction sites)
  • Addresses marketing, web, business cards, ads, etc. to the people in that niche and only the people in that niche.

Not everybody, just your tribe.  The blue guys.

If you really want to be in two or three different businesses, maybe you need two different web sites.

Tomorrow, can your niche afford you?

Image thanks to  svilen001

Is Your Business Niche Big Enough?

hamsters in a wheel

Is your niche big enough?

Sometimes businesses make the mistake of thinking too big (trying to sell too many things to too many different types of businesses and people).

However, you can also make the mistake of thinking too small. You may want to sell sandals for hamsters, but that doesn’t mean anyone will want to buy them.

Yes, build a tribe. Yes, focus on a narrow niche – but not so narrow that you and three other people are the only ones in it. If you do, your business won’t have enough customers or prospects to survive very long.

Do some research first

Check Google. How many results do you get for “sandals for hamsters” (with the quotes)?

Is there a newsletter? A magazine? How about blogs? Are there any other sites selling hamster footwear?

Find a good angle

If you want to focus on hamsters, maybe you need a different angle. Like hamsters 101, or hamster accessories. Or build-your-own hamster habitats.

If there are people who share your interest, they’ll be on the Internet – they’ll have forums, magazines, blogs, Facebook groups, and events.

Hamster shoes are, of course, silly. The real point is to do some research and make sure there is a market for what you want to sell (hamsters with cold feet?), that it’s big enough to support you, and that they can afford/find value in what you’re selling. $5,000 gold and diamond hamster shoes? Probably not. How about a nice plastic wheel instead?

Photo: cdrussorusso

When is it Smarter To Have Two Web Sites?

round niche and square nicheWhy do you have a web site anyway?

Once, they were somewhat exotic, but now most businesses consider them as necessary as lights and telephones.


Your web site is your introduction to your customers. Your web site should reflect your niche(s) and appeal to “your people,” (the kinds of clients you want to attract) rather than trying to appeal to everyone.

Are multiple niches OK?

It’s OK if you have more than one business niche, or more than one business, as long as they fit together. You can start with marketing to brides and expand to new moms. Or work with both elementary schools and law firms. Elementary schools and law firms have little in common, but it works if you’re providing the same service to both (say, IT consulting or graphic design work).

However, there are some things that just don’t belong on the same web page (or even the same web site).

Divorce lawyer and bait shop?

Do not offer your services as both divorce lawyer and bait shop on the same web site.

Sauerkraut and ice cream are both great. Just don’t mix them together and expect the result to taste good.

People seeking a divorce have different problems and questions on their minds than people who want to go fishing. One needs to know about separating assets, possibly alimony or child custody. The other is interested in fishing line, rods, reels, and which bait attracts a particular kind of fish.

If you’ve got two wildly different businesses, separate them. Have one site for the bait shop, and another for the legal services. It’s not only confusing to put them together, it’s poor marketing.

Domains are cheap. You can buy one for $10. Hosting is cheap too. Try Hostgator (use this link and I get a reward).

Get an opinion

Think  you need two sites?  Not sure?  Post your niches in the comments and find out.  I’ll answer your questions there.