When business owners first think of marketing their products or services, they tend to think big — or at least “broad”. It’s natural. Why wouldn’t you want to get the word out to everyone?
Actually, there are a couple good reasons:
- It’s expensive and time-consuming to pursue “everyone”. What return on investment would you need to make that kind of effort worthwhile? (Rest assured you won’t get it.)
- “Everyone” is a very diverse group. How would you message to “everyone,” understanding that what turns some people off is exactly what others want to hear? (You know the old adage: “Try to please everyone and you’ll end up pleasing no one.”)
Imagine, for example, that you are looking for a CPA who does tax preparation and you come across an advertisement for one that says she offers “expert tax preparation for individuals and businesses of every size.”
How confident would you feel about bringing your business to this CPA? Do you believe that she really is “expert” in so many different areas?
The fact of the matter is that this kind of messaging makes no one feel special — and makes everyone doubt your expertise.
Let’s look at a rudimentary model of the CPA’s potential clients. They could be divided into four basic segments. In the first scenario, our CPA intends to pursue business from all four:
Targeting potential clients for tax preparation — Scenario 1
Message: Expert tax preparation for individuals and businesses of every size.
Think of the cost of this approach as 100 percent of X.
In the second scenario, our CPA intends to pursue business from just one of the four segments of potential clients.
Targeting potential clients for tax preparation — Scenario 2
Message: Expert tax preparation for high-income individuals.
As there are some basic, across-the-board costs for any marketing or advertising endeavor, we can’t say that the cost of Scenario 2 will be only one quarter that of Scenario 1, but it will be substantially less. And what about the return on investment? It will easily beat that of Scenario 1 because the targeted segment will respond to the targeted message far better than the broader market would respond to the broader message.
Scenario 2 is the one the CPA should go with. It will cost her less and yield a bigger return. Guaranteed.
Here’s more good news: Running your business and keeping your clients happy will be easier if you focus on a subset of potential clients and meeting their particular needs well.