How to define your target customers for your business

Clearly defining who the customers you want to attract to your business will set up your marketing for success. Not doing it will cost you lots of money, time and frustration. Gary Halber in his book the Baron letter says the fastest way to grow a business is finding a starving crowd. That’s the aim of this article, to show you how you can clearly define your starving crowd. The people who would respond to your offer. 

Who are your best clients/customers?

If you already operate a business who is the best type of client you have worked with. The ones that you don’t have to worry about, don’t question the quality of your work. Or don’t complain about everything. 

For me as an audio engineer and producer, I was recording artistes that had a job and clearly knew how they wanted their music to sound.  These artists pay on time, focus only on the music and are well prepared when they come to work with me. The rest are always trouble. They complain a lot and always have a story about why they forget to pay you. This is worst when you send tracks for feedback, they never respond. 

Perry Marshall in his book 80/20 Sales and marketing says 20 per cent of your clients bring in 80 per cent of revenue. The other 80 per cent cause you most of the problems. Get rid of the ones that cause you to stress, and target the ones that bring in revenue. 

To do that, pay attention to their profile, their interest and other things that can help you find them online as well as ou may learn more about your ideal customers.

What if you’re just starting out and have no paying customers?

The best thing to do is to assume and picture who you would like to work with and who would respond to your marketing message. This is simple if you examine the problem your product/service solves and flip it. 

I help persons with __________ solve _________________. Anyone with that problem would be your ideal customer. You can also narrow down that statement further as well. Here are a few questions to think about:

  1. Where are your customers located?
  2. What interests do they have?
  3. What is their gender male/female?
  4. What is their income level?
  5. What problems do they have that your business solve?

These 5 questions can go a far way in helping you find the ideal customers for your business.

How to choose a domain name

Choosing the right domain is very important. This is how people will find you online. It is also used as part of your marketing to drive customers to your offer. The name you choose shouldn’t be too complex. So how do you choose the perfect domain name for your business?

Start with your business name

To begin,  start with your own business name as your domain name. This is the basic place to start. Why because that’s how you can begin to claim your real estate online. Have a place to send customers with your name attached to it. 

To buy it, go to a domain registrar, for example, ” namecheap.com” I use this registrar to buy my domain names. Enter your business name to see if it’s available, and purchase the .com version. It’s that simple. That’s how you buy your business name. 

What if the business name is complex?

if your business name is complex, coming up with the right domain name may not be so easy. You have to find an appropriate abbreviated version that works. Make it concise and simple Don’t get too technical about it. You want something people can remember. yourself and your staff included. Example one of the local banks business names is National Commercial Bank but their domain name is jncb.com. 

The other point I want to make is that if your business name is complex, maybe its time to change it. Or even modify it to something more simpler. 

Use your own name

In his book “The brand called you,” Peter Montoya says people do business with people. SO its a no brainer,  to buy your name as your domain name and use it to build your business. This solves the ‘complex name ‘issue and helps you build your personal brand. 

 you can have a little fun with his option because you have variations to choose from. Here are sine options.

  1. Firstnamelastname.com
  2. Firstinitaillastname.cpom
  3. Firstnamemiddle.com
  4. Iamfirstname.com
  5. Firstnamewhatyoudo.com
  6. Lastnamewhatyoudo.com

This is just to get some ideas flowing, for your domain name. Once you choose your name just go to namecheap.com or a similar site and buy it. 

One last thing. you don’t have to buy your business name. What I’ve seen some other businesses do is have a blog and redirect searches for their business to the blog dedicated to their industry. Whatever the situation, claim your domain name today.

The Frustrating thing about building a personal brand

The world is changing and how we go about looking for a job is not the same. A large part of the process is either finding persons willing to hire you to work, or pray and hope someone finds you. The latter is not the best strategy so it’s wise to put yourself in a position to work on your own terms.

Reaching a level of comfort, having enough leads and paying clients per month takes a very long time to master. It’s not like you can buy some ads and sit back and watch the leads come in. You have to work hard to build trust and your reputation. Paying for advertising don’t always work unless you have the right system in place.

I have tried multiple ways to build my personal brand, in order to branch out and work on my own terms. Not much worked. Maybe it was the industry I was in, the methods I was using or I might have missed a few steps along the way.

All in all, it’s a long process and one must be willing to do it for the long haul until something sticks.

Because of my personality, I stayed away from anything that has to do with video. I wasn’t as comfortable looking into a camera when I started.

I started our writing blog post on my website. The aim was to attract Christians to check out my site and hope that they would listen to the music I released. I wrote inspirational articles and stuff I was reading at the time, that I thought persons would like. I did it on a schedule as was recommended and over time I started getting lots of traffic.

My music was selling, though not by much, the needle was moving but I could not identify if what I was doing was contributing to that. I was, however, looking for feedback on my efforts and nothing.

As I researched more about content marketing I found out that I should be writing to attract my buyers talking about the problems they have and how to solve it. And eventually found out what I was doing wrong that led to a lot of frustration.

Not having a marketing funnel

In order to benefit from your marketing efforts, you must have a well thought out system. WHich means you get attention from potential clients, you capture their data and continue talking to them until they want to buy.

To do this effectively you need to have a well thought out marketing funnel. This will help you create messaging that will help potential clients make a decision about trusting you. Taking the time out to map out the funnel will help make your decision making easier.

They are people who say marketing funnel doesn’t make sense but all in all you have to have a system that will make your brand building and marketing activities easy.

I never used landing pages and didn’t create lead magnets

I must admit it took me a very long time to figure out what lead magnets were. This was ignorance of marketing jargons. But essentially using a landing page which is basically an advertisement in the form of a webpage with no navigation links to convince persons to join your mailing list in exchange for something useful.

This will give you free access to continue marketing to potential clients called leads. This makes marketing cost cheaper overtime once the list grows bigger. I ignored this piece of wisdom because I couldn’t find a way to apply it to my situation.

Having patience and being consistent

The last thing is showing up regardless and being patient. I lost patience not seeing the results I expected after putting in a few months at a time. My overall fear was being rejected for not being authentic. And just being afraid no one might like my point of view. So after a few attempts, I thought I was a sign of rejection.

But that’s far from the truth. I have written stuff and friends read it and never leave a comment on the piece, but say it to my face. Even from persons I never expected to read my stuff read it and give valuable feedback.

Conclusion

I’m in it for the long run because building a brand is a marathon and not a sprint. From the mistakes I have made I have learnt how to put my best foot forward. As well as spending the time to put the necessary things in place.

The best way to protect your career diversify your Income

Too many persons like the creatives – artiste, music producers depend on only what they are doing ( working with the artist, recording them, shows, selling music) to earn money. One of the traps you might end up in is if the music is not selling and you are not getting shows how are you going to eat or make money. what do you do then?

The alternative is to diversify your income. Create by-products of the service your offer.

For example, creating a clothing line.

Artiste such a Konshens, Vybz Kartel Jay z and others all have a clothing line or another company selling something besides music.

Examples:

  • Konshens – Kons 876
  • Vibes Kartel- street Vybz rum
  • PDiddy- Sean Combs
  • Jay Z – Rockerwearater

This alternative is another source of income, independent of the main income. There are unique ways to add to what you are doing to earn a living. Though primarily the focus may be making money, the bottom line is that you are creating a safety net in order to earn.

Consider this, if you are not booked for a show for some time, no music is selling. Ask yourself the question ” what else is there to do to earn an income?” After a while, you’d like to start a business. you have the option to do something else. It may not be a merch line, where you sell branded products. Other options may include speaking engagement, and related events supporting a cause.

For example:

The staging of a conference addressing how you overcame an issue. You collaborate with other persons, give the event a title, then charge for the event. This is now an income stream.

The basic thought is to determine what else can you do to be used to diversify your income.

In essence, you do not want to depend on one venture as your source of income as a creative person. Keep in mind there will be down times meaning no shows, no music sales. If you are a producer, you may not get as many clients for a period. You have to find other things to do to fill the void in order to manage.

There’s no need for stress or worry when these times come. You are protecting yourself.

Living in a country like Jamaica, for example, there’s is the idea that there are limited options apart from merchandise. Instead, you think globally. With the internet, you are able to create small businesses and sell products or services to persons without the worry of storage or establishing a physical location to sell your goods. you have direct access to the consumer.

There are services that allow you free access to set up your store. This is just one of several options.

You have skills that you can promote and charge for service as a freelancer. Persons will pay for the service.

You may be good at marketing and social media persons can pay you to manage their social media page or run campaigns. If you are an accountant you can charge persons to manage their personal or small business accounts or another artist.

Branch out, at the end of the day the income that comes in overtime adds up. For instance, you do five shows consecutively and earn fifty thousand ($50000), and at the same time you are managing a social media account for a small business for a period of 6 months. you receive $50,000. Adding the 2 two incomes you have a total income of $100,000 per month. If you have a clothing line that brings in $100,000 that’s an additional $100,000.

Evaluating your monthly income all together with what your expenses are, there should be an adequate amount to cover the expenses. You are able to save and expand doing whatever it is. In the event, you decide on doing other things you have a protective base for your income and investment options.

How to get paid for the work you do

One of the worse things is doing work and not getting paid

You pour your heart out getting everything perfect. You spend the time, busting your brain figuring out every detail. Taking the time to craft the masterpiece and deliver it on time to the client. Finally, the stress is over and you can move on with your life and get paid.

Then the unthinkable. Nothing. Silence. No comment about the job. Nothing. You don’t even get paid.

As a freelancer, this is one of the most frustrating experience I have ever faced. Not receiving feedback from a client and worse not getting paid after all the hard work you put in. Is it a lack of principles? Is it a lack of good judgment when accepting the work from a client? What is it that makes not getting paid sucks so much.

We must ensure we protect ourselves from deceptive clients. This will ensure we get paid for the hard work we put in. No one likes getting a six for a nine and lots of stories and excuses. And worse of all no one likes doing work and not getting paid.

Here are some things that will help you guard against deceptive clients.

Ask for a deposit

Getting money upfront helps to ease the cashflow burden. You get a percentage of the total fee and start the work. This proves the client is committed to getting the job done. The process has begun. But asking for it is very uncomfortable. It’s very simple but uncomfortable.

Here’s an example of how you can do it.

You: to do this project will cost you $25,000.

Client: Ok, I can work with that, when do we begin.

You: We can start this week. But I’ll need a 20% deposit when with the signed contract.

That’s it. Nothing complicated about it and this can be done via email.

Get all your money upfront

Asking for all your money upfront can be a pre-qualifier to weed out bad clients. You might lose sales doing this but at the end of the day when you start the job, you are already paid. All the money worries are out the door and you can work on the project stress-free.

Here’s an example of how you ask for payment in full.

You: To do this project will cost you $25,000.

Client: Ok, I can work with that, when do we begin.

You: We can start this week. But I’ll need full payment with the signed contract.

Ensure you get paid before you deliver the final product

Nothing is worse than delivering on your end only to no hear from the person ever again. To prevent this ensure they pay you in full and you deliver the final product. Fair is fair. If there are any changes that need to be made you can quickly make adjustments and move on.

Conclusion

All in all, asking for money is uncomfortable. But if you don’t ask you won’t get paid. I had to learn to ask for money and get comfortable explaining the cost of my different offerings.