Marketing takes your message out into the world and is even more important than the mastery of your profession or skill. One of the things I consistently hear from women I coach when they want to grow their businesses is ‘Maybe I should go get additional training in, for example, herbal remedies or a specialized psychotherapy skill or whatever adjunct skill or technique for their area of expertise. I advise them to stop for a moment and realize just how gifted they already are and what is really needed is more training in how to market their talents and skills.

More than likely, you never learned how to market when you learned your trade, profession or craft. Becoming the marketer of your business- rather than just the practitioner of it – does require a paradigm shift.

And whether you are an author, an artist, or a small business owner or a self-employed professional, marketing is what will bring you a continuous flow of clients, customers, or patients.

In today’s world, marketing your business requires both offline and online strategies. Some of the most important principles of marketing are: target your market by defining who you serve, develop a relationship with your target market and stay connected to your target market in order to stay top of mind.

Target Your Market: Define Who You Serve

Knowing exactly to whom you are marketing your product or service supercedes in importance the actual product or service. This can be a revolutionary concept to many people…after all, the product or service is supposed to be the ‘raison d’être’ of a business.

You may have a truly excellent product or service but if you don’t know the right market to which to offer it, one that will be receptive to buying from you or using your services over and over, it really doesn’t matter how good it is!

Major corporations can tell you exactly to whom their marketing is targeted…the “who” they are selling to. These companies have it distilled down to one person.

Focus in on whom you truly want to serve and develop your products and services to be of ultimate service to this market. Many people worry that if they narrow their focus too much, it will cut down on the number of potential customers and clients they can have. But the truth is…marketing to everyone dilutes your message. The more you try to appeal to everyone, the more invisible you become. You can still serve others outside that target, but all your marketing efforts will be geared to that very specific segment of the population (e.g., midlife business women).

Now once you have your target market identified…go deeper. Distill your target market down to one person…the person who would be your ideal client. Describe that person by:

Marital Status
Number of children if any
Where the person lives
Where the person likes to shop
What does this person need?
What is his/her problem that you can solve
Make this person as real as you can. Give them a name and give them a face (find a photo from any of the online graphic art service).

Once you have distilled your target market down to one person, it becomes much easier to design not only your products and services, but also your marketing messages, your advertising and your promotional items. As you write and design each piece, you will imagine yourself talking to her. It will make the process of marketing so much simpler.