Niche client or ideal client? People often use these terms interchangeably but in fact they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. It took me years to figure this out.
I often go to business meetings where people stand up and say, "My ideal client is..." They continue on sharing about who they would love to work with and why. Sometimes they even say that their ideal client is someone who is able to pay for their services. This makes sense because ideally, people want to get paid.
Your ideal client is:
• Someone you love to work with.
• Someone who allows you to do what you love.
• Someone who will pay you big bucks.
You would likely have no trouble describing this ideal client because it is really all about you and who you ideally want to be helping. So it's easy to describe.
However, many people are often stumped if you ask them who their niche client is. They scratch their head and often answer this way:
• In generalities; often they will say, "anyone."
• Begin to talk about what they offer and why it's so great.
• Admit that they don't really know.
Here is my easy definition of these two terms, using an an example to make it easier to understand.
Kate owns a graphic design business. She builds visual branding for small business owners. She loves being creative and helping people. She's an artist.
Her ideal client: A small business owner who has chosen to get professional design and artistic help for their visual materials and sees the value and the return on investment. This ideal person is committed, willing and has a positive outlook. Her ideal client allows her to do the work she loves and will pay her. She tells all of her friends as well. Her ideal client is about Kate, what she wants.
Her niche client: This is the person powering her marketing plan. Her niche clients are restaurants and bakeries. They are great at their skill of providing good food and products but they are struggling financially and need to have a stronger presence both online and physically in order to grow their business. They need help developing a strong branding and a new look to help their businesses flourish. They are focused on their own issues and the benefits they want. It is about them and what they need. It is not about Kate.
It is important to understand the difference between ideal and niche as it will help you understand your own marketing focus. Don't mix up the two by focusing on your ideal while calling it your niche. This is a common challenge service-based business owners have because they are thinking all about what they want to do.
Your niche needs to be a narrow, specific group that you are aiming your marketing toward. It is all about them.
Occasionally a new prospective client will ask me whom my ideal clients are. I answer by describing my niche because this is what she means. She cares about herself and her problems and I need to connect with her in that way.
In order to build a strong, powerful marketing plan, you need to learn to really focus on your niche because these are the people who will help you to grow your business. You can talk about your ideal clients to your mentor, as this is more a part of professional development. Does this make sense? Have you been confusing these two things? I would love to hear your comments.