january 2016

4 Ways To Figure Out What Your Target Client Really Needs

Earlier this week we talked about your “how” and making sure it offers a specific solution. But, as promised, today we are going to talk about figuring out what your target client actually needs solved. The thing is, we don’t want to spend time figuring out the perfect thing we want to offer and have no one actually buy it. There needs to be an expressed interest or need for your product or service, so by doing a little research, you can figure out what is a solution to your target client’s pain points. This goes for anything – your services, your products, your courses, your free products, etc.


FACEBOOK GROUPS

I know everyone loves Pinterest and Instagram, and I do too, but I am still holding onto the value of Facebook groups for business. Facebook groups are easy research, because people use them to ask questions all the time. The hardest thing I found with Facebook groups was finding the ones where my target client hung out.  Eventually, I resorted to a Pinterest search for “Facebook groups for online business owners” (or something similar) and found a ton of articles pointing me towards ones to join. So that is my recommendation to you – spend a little time finding where your people are, jump in, and start reading their questions, struggles, and pain points. Then begin to cater your offerings to answer or fix some of those issues.

Just a disclaimer here, remember that YOU have to do the work once you get a client. Make sure your offer not only serves your target client, but also is something you want to do and are capable of doing!

If you’re in Facebook groups and don’t see these sorts of things come up, check what day you are allowed to post polls/questions and ask people in there questions. I see this all the time! People will ask things like, “are you more interested in XYZ?” or “What would you see more valuable a package with XY or a package with YZ?” Now I am not saying to be spammy or “me-me-me” all the time, because that turns people off, but you can definitely reach out to ask the masses.


ASK YOUR SUBSCRIBERS

There are a ton of beneficial features to having an email list and subscribers, but one of the best is that you have a resource available to you as a way to communicate with your audience. So, for example, when someone joins my list my welcome email asks them to let me know what areas in branding they feel uneasy about or want to talk more about. Granted, not everyone responds, but those that do have fueled the topics for my newsletter, for my blog posts, and other offerings.

Some people do this as a survey they send out, just to get feedback and ideas generated. That’s a great way to go about it, too. I haven’t done a survey at this point, because it doesn’t really fit my voice/content strategy, but I might do one in the future. For now, I just work on building relationships with my subscribers and making the conversation feel open and accessible – a) because I genuinely do like talking to people and curious about their business endeavors and b) it helps me to formulate what to talk/help with.


RESEARCH SIMILAR TOPICS

Lately I’ve started researching areas where people struggle in fields related to branding – and see if there’s a solution that I can offer.

This might sound confusing – here’s an example. If someone says, “I’m struggling to bring in business” that might be a business-related problem, but it could also be a branding-related problem and that’s where I come in. So if you know your target audience and you’re stalking them (yes, CREEPY!) on social media or their blogs or wherever and they are expressing hang-ups that they are having, see if there’s a way that your solution might help. Maybe you’re a virtual assistant and you see people saying things like “I spend so much time in my inbox!” They might think they need a better email tool, a more organized approach to their day, maybe a coach – but if you could present your skills as a VA in a way that says “I know you don’t want to spend all day your inbox – I can help you manage that and get it under control!” Then you’ve offered them the solution they never even realized was an option.

This helps you also start to get a grasp on exactly how your target client speaks about their struggles so that you can respond accordingly. So I might say “I offer branding” but that doesn’t tell my target audience anything they want to hear. Instead I say “you’re going to stand out, you’re going to be influential, you’re going to be seen as an authority” which are all things that I’ve read, researched, and heard my target client wish they had (that I am capable of offering).


CHECK RELATED OFFERING’S REVIEWS

I can’t take full credit for this idea – it actually was something I learned from a Mariah Coz* course at some point along the way. Basically I spend some time looking up books about branding, courses, workshops, etc. and I see where people felt they needed more specific help. So something someone might comment is that they “loved the end result but want to make sure they are reaching their target client” – so then I know to make sure I include a huge emphasis on this part of branding and use that as a selling feature or way to stand out.

Again, this takes work and a little bit of stalker tendencies, but it’s worth it for the intel and ability to cater your solutions to your audience or potential clients. You can see what things work and where they fall short, so you can adjust your own offering accordingly.


Other ways that you can start to research your target client and see where they express a direct need for something you might be able to offer – checking out related hashtags on social media, checking out quora or reddit, simply typing things into Google and seeing what populates in the dropdown, or ask questions in your blog (for them to comment answers). There are a lot of ways you can determine your business success by skipping over that part where you wonder if something is going to work or going to sell. There’s a sweet spot, where you are doing something you love and someone benefits from it – and that’s the goal to figure out. Let me know in the comments below how you decided on your offerings, I’d love to know!

If you think you need some more detailed help with things like figuring out your target audience and how can you serve them, check out my new e-book Branding 101: Building Your Base. It's currently in pre-sale now, so lock in the best price by clicking below!



kaitlyn.jpeg

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


* That link is an affiliate link to the Femtrepreneur Course landing page - basically the courses that will change your life and business. I wouldn't recommend Mariah if I didn't think she was ah-maz-ing.

4 Reasons Your “How” Should Offer a Specific Solution

I wrote about a related topic to my newsletter a few weeks ago, because I started to realize something was missing from explanations of your target client. While doing #31BrandingScopes it started to dawn on me that a lot of people (myself included) tell you how to define your target audience and tell you to figure out your ‘why’ and ‘how’ but they leave out how those pieces of information work together to help you and your business.

Here is the link between those answers – what are you fixing? What are you solving? What problem does your target client face that you can be or offer a solution to? I mean – think about why you buy anything. It’s resolving some sort of issue for you. Why do I buy Chipotle? Because it lets me pretend I am healthy and alleviates the fact that I’m not a great cook. Why do I buy pink post-it notes? Because I like the color and I need to write down to-do lists 100 times or I forget things. Why do I seek out a coach, a photographer, a designer, a copywriter, etc.? Because they offer something that I need their help with.

When you are thinking about your “how” – consider this: you need to offer a specific solution to your target audience’s defined problem. There’s a separate blog post that is going to cover how you determine your target client’s pain points, but for today, here are 4 reasons your “how” should offer a specific solution.


DO THE WORK YOU LIKE

When you make your offerings solve a specific solution – you get to make sure it is something you actually LIKE doing. You don’t have to do work that you don’t want to do. For real. That’s one of the benefits of being your own boss and owning your own business. So, just because you can solve XYZ of your target client’s problems or pain points, doesn’t mean you have to. If you hate making opt-ins for customers – don’t offer it. If you get so annoyed editing people’s blog posts – don’t offer it!

Having your “how” solve a particular issue or pain point lets you really focus down your offerings and come across as more professional and structured. What I mean by that is – when I see a website where someone offers 45 different services, it makes me wonder how good they are at any particular one. I am experienced in a lot of things, but not knowledgably enough that I would try to sell a service based around all of them.

If you focus on the things you can and like to solve you will give your client a better experience, and have a better experience yourself. Just because I can schedule your buffer feed, hand-assemble special stationery, and write your Instagram captions – doesn’t mean I have to offer those things. I don’t specialize in those things. I don’t want to specialize in those things. It might take some time and experience to figure out where your skills, your likes, and their needs combine into the perfect combination – but that should be the overall goal. Of course, there are always exceptions, and if you enjoy working with a client then help them in whatever way you feel acceptable (I do!) but don’t feel like you have to do everything in an attempt to “win over” clients. That is the complete wrong approach.

If you find yourself bending over backwards to fit a client’s needs, doing work you hate because they insist – it’s okay to educate them on what you do offer and why you are good at it. So, if someone insists that I develop their blog content for them – I could say something like, “I really do love approaching branding in a strategic way. We will talk about how to carry your newfound knowledge of your target customer into your content and develop a basic understanding of what you can talk about in your blog– but you have to actually write the blogs! That’s not a service I currently offer.” I say what I do offer/can do and am assertive with what I won’t. I realize that developing ideas and writing content might be a problem my target client struggles with, but I am only the solution for part of that problem. Just to be clear though – I never recommend being rude or ungrateful; make sure you do include what your services are and what you can offer to do for them.


STAND OUT TO YOUR POTENTIAL CLIENT

This is something that we talk about when you niche down your target audience – the more defined, the better. But this carries over into figuring out your “how” as well. Here’s an example: I could offer “graphic design services” but that is pretty broad. What does that really mean? I could be doing business cards, logos, e-books, flyers, posters, stationery, websites, front-end app design, and so on. I enjoy all these things, but I know that is overwhelming and not conducive to catching a potential client’s attention. They might see “graphic design services” and assume I can’t do the more specific thing they need me to do.

Instead, I offer branding + web design, which is more a more specific solution for my client. I don’t work with people who just need me to make a poster – that’s not the client I want to stand out too. I want to do branding, so I want to stand out to a customer as a branding designer specifically. By listing what I offer (and it being a focused list) I’m able to stand out as the exact solution to their exact issue. They don’t have to waste time inquiring if I am good fit, or wondering if I can do the things they need.

Here’s another example: Let’s say you own a roller-blade store, but you promote yourself as a sports apparel and equipment store (to try and appeal to more people). I need equipment for my sweet roller-blading exercises, but now I am confused and wondering if you have the solution for me. This turns me away and on to find a store that I know will be the solution to my problem. If you had instead accepted the fact that you own a roller-blade store and named it “Roller-Blading and Being Totally Awesome” – then there’d be no question of what you offer and if I can benefit for your offerings, and you’d have a customer.


FOCUSES YOUR CONTENT

Outside of thinking strictly about your services, having a specific solution with your “how” also allows you focus your content. I offer branding – so I know my content should somehow relate to branding and similar topics (business, blogging, starting an online business, social media, etc.) because I know that’s what my audience cares about.

If I was offering “graphic design services” then we get a little broader on what I can blog about. It might be app design one day, a technical tutorial the next day, and a flyer design the next day – none of which is really going to appeal to my client and doesn’t help me find new ones or promote myself. If I was even less specific and offered, “design services” – well there’s about a million types of design. Industrial design? Interior design? Organizational design? It’s too broad and makes clients, customers, or readers do too much work to figure out if I can help them.  Instead, focus on what you can solve within your target client’s needs, and offer related content and resources.


STREAMLINE YOUR PROCESS

The fourth reason your “how” needs to offer a specific solution is this helps you streamline your process. Once you know how exactly how you help someone, you can put a system into place. When you have too broad of an approach, you are constantly having to make new services, new packages, new quotes, new proposals, new contracts, new invoices, etc., etc., etc.

Instead – create a system and streamline your process. You will get to the point that every client is choosing package #1, package #2, or package #3 and then follow the appropriate workflow from there. Say you are a editor and you offer editing for 5 blog posts/month, 10 blog posts/month, or 15 blog posts/month – that’s three packages, three workflows, three canned email responses, three proposal templates, and so on. You won’t have to re-type or re-calculate for every client.

I totally get that this might be a scary step – committing to something specific can be difficult. What if a client doesn’t need four printed collateral designs? What if a client only posts 8 blogs a month? There will be exceptions that you make for clients and that is fine and part of doing business, but the overarching majority will use these specific solutions you’ve created. There’s a stage of research and test-runs that you have to account for, so if you notice that a large number of inquiries is for something slightly different than your package – adjust accordingly. It’s not going to be perfect the first time, but eventually you will develop the right solutions for a majority of your clients and make your life so much easier.


Here’s your action item: get specific with what you can do (and want to do) to help your target client. I know I’ve said this before, and many others before me, but narrowing down doesn’t hurt or limit you – it propels you further. Let me know in the comments below if you have a specific solution for your clients or audience, I’d love to hear! 

Ready to dive in deeper? Great! Check out my new e-book Branding 101: Building Your Base and learn more about your target audience and how you can offer solutions to grow your business. 



kaitlyn.jpeg

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!