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Seeking out potential customers online is an important way to grow your list.  But it will only help you if you know who you are looking for.

Hint:  It’s not “Pretty much anyone really”.

Attempt to find “pretty much anyone” anywhere, offline or online, and you’ll struggle.  You won’t know where to look.  It’s so vague, no one can help you, and yet I hear this repeatedly from clients who come for support in getting their online marketing set up. 

Before you begin to target potential customers and grow your list online, you need to Know Your Niche.

Find the select group of people you want to serve and then offer them the most engaging and interesting content that they keep coming back for more.  This is a fundamental element in the Audience First Strategy. 

This can be a challenging thing to get right — and most people don’t get it right first time.  Usually, because they’ve left out a simple but critical piece of the puzzle.  And secondly, because it’s a bit of guess work to begin with.  That’s why we do some testing… It’s part of the game. 

Here’s how you play the game — to win and to become a better player, using all the pieces of the puzzle.

Know Your Niche

This is the point where the three key elements come together.  You:

  • Claim your Subject
  • Choose your Clients
  • Clarify Their Problems
Three key elements of your niche

Here’s how it works.   

Claim your Subject

Answer these few questions as fully as you can.

  1. What are you good at? What skills, expertise, knowledge or experience do you have that others might find useful?  Remember, that we tend to play down the very abilities that are most useful to others, simply because they come so easily to us. 
  2. What are you passionate about?  There’s no point in doing something you don’t enjoy.
  3. Where in the practice of your craft have you experienced pain or difficulty? This is an important link to your audience and the pain or frustration that they, too, are dealing with.

Then, take a step back, and ask a few questions about what you’ve written.

  1. Does it fit with who you are and who you want to become?  Does it allow you to express your natural talents and abilities?  If so, what you do and who you attract will be aligned with your purpose.  You’ll be feeding your soul as well as you family.
  2. Provided, of course, that you consider this one last aspect — profitability.  What scope is there for making money in this area?  Is it ‘evergreen”, i.e., one where there is a consistent and continual demand for what you might offer?

Choose Your Clients

Yes, you get to choose.  Again, answer a few key questions to discover the best fit for you and your business.

Know your Niche
  1. Who would you love to work with?
  2. Are they easy to find? Are there groups, associations, places where you can easily connect with them, either online or offline?  If not, you’ll struggle to find them.
  3. What do you have in common with them?  What attributes or experiences do you share?
  4. What do they aspire to? What are their dreams, their vision for themselves, their businesses, or their families?

And don’t forget that key, but often overlooked question:

Who has the money to pay you? 

Clarify their Problems

  1. With respect to your subject, what are their problems?  What do they struggle with?  What are they afraid of?
  2. Where have they tried and failed to find a solution?  What hasn’t worked for them so far?
  3. What typical mistakes have they made? Do people make in this area? 
  4. How do they feel when things go wrong?
  5. And where does their attention go?

Answer these, and you’ve Found your Niche.  That sweet spot, where these come together to put you in touch with the audience you so want to serve with your business. 

Share this with friends, associates, people who are struggling to find their target market on line.