In business and marketing, the concept of an ideal client avatar or niche is often met with eye rolls and skepticism. However, understanding your niche and ideal client is not just a marketing buzzword; it’s crucial for your business’s success and the well-being of your clients. By clearly defining your niche, you not only attract clients who will benefit from your services but you avoid potentially harming others in ways you might not quite expect. As we explore the significance of understanding your niche, we will uncover the detrimental consequences that can arise from a lack of clarity.
Why Business Owners Avoid Choosing a Niche
You’ve likely heard the popular idiom, “The riches are in the niches.” I could dig up a dozen quotes from successful people who will also advise you to find your niche and stick to it. So, if your niche is the difference between the business you’ve dreamt of scaling and your current business, why do people object to going full-in on the niche they serve?
The number one reason that business owners avoid directing all of their efforts at a particular niche is a mindset of fear and scarcity. I see this all the time. Business owners worry that if they create a client avatar and identify a particular niche, they will say no to all the other clients coming their way. The truth is that it works the other way around. The stronger your niche and the more robust your understanding of your avatar, the better your business will do.
Think of it this way: I have never spoken to a highly successful business owner who has rolled their eyes at me when I asked them who their avatar is. I have never talked to a highly successful business owner who said, “I can help anyone.” It’s just not how it works in the service-based business-to-business entrepreneur world.
A Client Avatar Based on Demographics is Just Boring
One of the reasons the idea of a client avatar elicits eye rolls is that many business owners stop their efforts of understanding their avatar with simple demographics. As a result, their description of their ideal client is tedious and downright dull. For example, if you are a physical trainer or a fitness coach, and all you can come up with as your client avatar is that you work with a 40-55-year-old female living within 10 miles of your city who likes fitness, then of course, you will not be excited about talking to them.
That client avatar is not fun for either of you. You will not be excited to talk about them (or to them) in your marketing because that just is not very interesting. It sounds very flat, and humans are not flat, especially not a niche at the prime of their life and doing exciting things professionally and personally like a 40-55 year old woman usually is.
What if, instead, you spent time to dive deep into the characteristics of the person you want to talk to – the one you are beyond driven to make a difference for? Using our same example, consider this more complex, exciting version of the same person:
Your ideal client was a high-school or college athlete or had previously identified as an athlete. They are way into their career and family obligations, but health and fitness are still important to them, along with the million challenges that come with trying to balance those responsibilities. They are frustrated with how they look and feel, as they can no longer keep up the athletic ability that used to mean so much to them, affecting their confidence. They feel like their body is starting to betray them when it used to be what they could always rely on to perform.
This avatar sounds like a human being having a very messy, very human experience. This avatar also sounds like someone you could converse with and connect with as a human rather than just the recipient of your marketing. How cool would it be to be able to talk to them and help them?
Creating an avatar with this much detail is the difference between understanding who you can help, why you are uniquely positioned to help that person, and how to talk to them. This detailed avatar is also how to create content that connects with them on a human basis instead of just trying to pitch your widget and sell some business. This avatar sounds like someone you would like to know, and you could converse with.
Trying to Serve Everyone Can Cause Harm
Seth Godin is famous for saying, “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.” But taking that a step further, when you try to serve everyone, you might hurt people by saying yes to them when truthfully, you have no business doing so.
I recently had an experience with this on the client side of the equation. I have been looking for a new doctor to work through some health issues, and I did my due diligence to ensure a particular doctor could help me. The person I spoke with to schedule my appointment assured me that this doctor specialized in what I needed, so I took the next available appointment, which meant a three month wait.
Turns out not only could she not help me, she completely dismissed me, would not answer any of my questions, and essentially told me that what I thought was wrong could not be wrong.
From a business perspective, the doctor has every right to have whatever practice she wants. She has the right to focus on what she wants and serve whatever clientele she wants. However, the office wasted my once-a-year insurance coverage checkup by saying yes to me when I scheduled an appointment. They wasted three months of my time when I could have spent three months on a waiting list for a more appropriate doctor. As a result, I am still experiencing the issues I am trying to solve, will have to wait even longer to solve them, and will have to pay out of pocket.
While most of us are not in businesses where we can cause physical pain, it’s crucial to think about where you might be doing something similar in your business. Are you saying yes to a client to whom you should be saying no? Do you waste their time scheduling a discovery call with them when you will not be the right fit? Or adjust what you offer or charge to make a sale when it is not in their best interest?
Outlining your niche and client avatar to include who you do not serve is a win-win. It’s a win for your prospect to know that you are not the best fit for them, and even better if you can refer them to someone who is the best fit. It is a win for you because it will improve your life and help your business grow faster when you focus on exactly who you serve.
Connect as a Human First
In my recent ebook, “Connect as a Human First,” I delve into compelling content, emphasizing that it encompasses more than just social media posts. Content encompasses everything you communicate about your business and expertise, whether speaking on stage, appearing on a podcast, hosting a weekly live show, engaging in networking events, or crafting email newsletters. In essence, content is the embodiment of your business and its message.
Lead generation, the process of intentionally bridging the gap between marketing efforts that raise awareness and sales conversations that involve discussing the exchange of money for services, relies heavily on compelling content.
By embracing a human-centric approach to content creation, you can enhance your lead-generation efforts and forge meaningful connections with your audience. Connecting with your audience personally establishes trust and credibility, making them more receptive to your message and more likely to engage with your business.
Download your free copy: Connect as a Human First.