The Alchemist's Lair
Thoughts on writing, language, life as a freelancer,
and what comes to mind.
and what comes to mind.
We can define a target market as a selected group of customers and potential customers a business has decided to target with their marketing activities. Defining a target market is essential to create successful marketing campaigns, both on a large and on a small-mid sized scale. This is why defining a target market is key to freelance marketing as well.
Today's marketing pill will help you define the best target market for your freelance business. Let's get started.
WHO'S AFRAID OF THE MARKET MONSTER?
When marketing their services, most freelancers struggle to track down a list of potential customers who might be interested in working with them for their upcoming projects. Looking at the broader picture, this is often caused by what I call the fear of the market monster. They don't know where to start from because they think of the market as a huge, big and scary single element.
Let me make this clear: there is no such thing as "The Market". When it comes to developing a marketing strategy and defining a target market, the idea of a giant market monster is your worst enemy. The market is not a 7-head monster: it is a collection of specialised markets and sub-markets, of broader groups and smaller niches of businesses and individuals working within the same business area and interacting with one another.
Once you realise this, your chances of successfully identifying a target market for your freelance business become dramatically higher. You're already half way though.
BENEFITS OF DEFINING A TARGET MARKET FOR YOUR FREELANCE MARKETING ACTIVITIES
Defining your target market before engaging in marketing activities caters for
IDENTIFYING YOUR TARGET MARKET IN 3 STEPS
So, how can you define a target market for your freelance business without being marketing analysis experts? Here's a simple strategy in 3 steps.
STEP 1: B2B vs. B2C
First of all we shall decide whether we’re willing to work mainly for companies (B2B, business to business) or if we want to target consumers i.e. private buyers (B2C, business to consumers). Many freelancers such as web specialists, copywriters, translators etc. usually tend to develop their business in B2B model by working mostly for companies or agencies.
B2B marketing and B2C marketing have their own set of rules, so defining your area of interest would help you create focused marketing material to introduce your offering more effectively.
STEP 2: LOOK AT YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMERS & AT YOUR COMPETITORS'
After deciding on a B2B vs. a B2C approach, start looking at your existing customers more closely. What industries are they in? What do they buy from you and why do they chose you over the competition? What other service providers do they work with? This analysis will help you understand how many different industries you are already serving. It will also you provide you with some valuable information about the marketing triggers you can use to promote your services amongst your target audience.
Now have a look at your competitors' customer base, and try to answer the same questions. You will see that some of the categories overlap, and that's where you will have to dig deeper to define your target market. Write down all the overlapping categories and industries.
STEP 3: POLISH, EXPAND, IMPROVE
Now you have some information you can start from. Start thinking about all the other companies falling within the categories or working in a given industry. List names or business categories (e.g. legal offices, customer association, etc.). The quantity of companies would vary according to the market you're working in, but you will find out you have far more choices than the ones you thought before.
To make an example consistent with my working experience, a freelance translator specialising in marketing translations could identify his/her target market with:
1. Translation agencies specialising in the marketing translations
2. PR agencies & press agencies working with international customers
3. Marketing and design companies working with international customers
4. Manufacturers who might be interested in translating their promotional material
And all of the above both in your country and abroad.
As you see, it’s a matter of selecting the business areas and companies which are more relevant to your services and skills. Once you successfully managed to identify your target audience it will be time to develop your own marketing strategy ... but we'll talk about this a bit further on.