Focusing on Your Perfect Client

 

Who is the perfect client? That depends greatly on your industry and business model. Often business professionals, particularly new business owners, mistakenly believe that everyone is their customer. They are not nor should they be. Additionally, your profile of the perfect client will change as your business grows.

For example, “Kate” has just opened a print shop. This is her first time as a business owner. She wants to provide quality customer service to everyone and anyone she can. Currently, her clients are people in the neighborhood who need small print runs of one to 25 pages. That’s a good way to get the buzz started and to cultivate a base of customers. But Kate can’t exist on just the work she gets from residences in the area. She needs to take a look at the local businesses and keep expanding that radius outward. She might consider looking to see if there is a particular industry that prints more forms than others, such as medical groups, or that needs booklets or pamphlets, such as a community college or human resources firm.

How to ID Your Perfect Client

Kate needs to determine who her audience is and what their needs are. To do this, she may need to speak with:

  • Other printers about their experiences and possibly creating a mentor/mentee relationship
  • Professionals who have similar clients to hers such as copywriters and graphic designers
  • Organizations such as the local Chamber of Commerce or a networking group
  • Current clients and how she can better fulfill their printing needs

 

Besides getting advice or support from others, Kate must also factor in where her passion lies and determine which industries those talents would best serve. Once Kate can give a face to her perfect client, then she can begin to cater to that individual or industry. That doesn’t mean she can’t still work with residents in the area. She still can as long as she has other clients who can bolster the workload.

 

How to Market to Your Perfect Client

How should Kate market to this base? It depends on what their needs are. For example, if they are continually feeding projects through her print shop, maybe she can develop a package plan that will save them money in the end, or offer special, limited deals for clients with larger jobs. The idea is for Kate to get clients to value what she can do for them so that they won’t look elsewhere to have their printing done. Her objective is to:

  • Gain their loyalty
  • Get them to appreciate your expertise
  • Be more than willing to pay her for that expertise
  • Get them to recommend her to others who can help grow her business
  • Proceed with projects they have put on hold due to cost effectiveness, etc.

 

Kate can create a successful business by developing a variety of customers—some her ideal clients and others as a supporting cast, each bringing different demands to her business, but all contributing to its overall growth.

 

Robin Kellogg is a local writer and owner of Robin Kellogg Associates, which helps businesses with their marketing and communications. She is the author of “12 Easy Steps to Better Business Communications”, available on Amazon.com. Robin can be reached at robin@yourwritingresource.com or via her website at www.yourwritingresource.com.

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Why You Should Have a Professional Biography Ready to Go

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A professional biography helps you stayed prepared for any business situation.

 

If you’re in business for any length of time, it’s likely that you are going to be asked to join a board of directors for a non-profit, school, service club or civic organization. Or write an article for a journal. Or speak at an event. And one of the first things these organizations are going to you for is a biography about yourself. Not your resume or curriculum vitae (CV), but a biography.  It should include your work history, any skills that may help the organization, awards or honors you’ve won or earned, your educational background (when applicable) and business or civic groups to which you belong.

It stands to reason then that most business professionals would make sure they had a biography on file. Better yet, several different versions of that bio in varying lengths depending on the entity requesting it. Surprisingly, this is not the case. Either the bios are terribly outdated or just have not been put together at all. This leaves many professionals scrambling when someone asks for their bio.

How to Prepare Your Biography

As in everything in life, preparation is key. Here are a few easy tips to writing your biography.

Create a short, medium and long biography. The short version should be about a paragraph and just give the basics. The medium length bio should be two to four paragraphs and a bit more detailed. The longest bio can be a page in length or even somewhat longer. Again, it depends on who requests it and what type of information is needed.

Write in the third person. It sounds more professional to say “John Smith won an award for…” than “I won an award for…” Remember, you are speaking to your audience. The biography is as much for their benefits as it is yours.

Let your personality shine through. Let the reader get a sense of who you are and why they should choose you.

Toot your horn. Mention your achievements, honors, and awards and why you received them. And do it without coming off as a braggart.

Write your biography. Start with a few bullet points and go from there.

Update your biography often. Remember to update your bio(s) to keep them fresh.

By creating bios of different lengths you give yourself options which will make the panic of creating one on the spot go away.

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Letting Go Allows You to Grow Your Business

Like many small business owners, you may have adopted the habit of trying to do it all because you don’t feel you can afford to pay someone else to do it. You answer your own phones, do your own billing and even write your own marketing materials. If you’re doing everything yourself, who is taking care of your business?

Part of growing as a business means letting go and delegating tasks that are not in your area of interest. Take marketing for instance. Do you really have all that extra time to create marketing pieces for yourself? Are you really saving that much money by doing it yourself? If you sat down and figured out what you could be earning hourly running your business, you’d find you are actually losing money.

Instead of trying to do it all yourself go to the experts. Contact a copywriter, graphic design or web designer to put your marketing materials together in a cohesive, organized fashion that will help promote your brand, get your customers to contact you and in the end save you money.

Don’t take my word for it. Ask others who have used professionals to get their message out and find out how it has helped them. Use the remainder of this year to let go and grow.

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Do Your Marketing Efforts Measure Up?

Do you use all available avenues to market your business? As business people, we tend to couch marketing in terms of business cards, meetings, promotional materials, advertising or social websites. What we do not include in that mix is how we present ourselves to existing and future customers and how we build and maintain loyalty with them.

Every time a customer walks away with the belief that his or her problem has not been resolved, it puts a negative spin on your company and business is lost.

Recently, I heard of a story about one company’s employee who seems to understand marketing better than most. His name is Angel, which in this story is very apropos.

A friend called Time Warner to upgrade her cable service. She was given a time slot of 9 a.m. to 12 noon. She wondered if she would be able to make a business appointment set for around lunch time that day.

The morning of the appointment, Angel, called early in the morning to make certain my friend would be ready for him if he came at 9:00 a.m. My friend could not say enough nice things about Angel. He was on time, upbeat, professional and courteous. Even when the job became more complicated than he had originally anticipated it would be, he maintained a smile on his face and did what needed to be done.

That one technician has made my friend a very happy customer. Not only was she thrilled with the work that was done and the time it was done in, but she also tells everyone she knows what an angel this Time Warner technician was. Now, that is marketing.

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