This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.
Last month, I had the privilege of speaking at WeddingWire World in Washington, DC as part of a panel of wedding business owners. One of the anecdotes I shared was how, when forming my company, I made the decision to target a very specific type of client, to the exclusion of all others. This definitely felt like a risk – I was drastically narrowing the field of prospective buyers, and potentially my income – but it also felt like the right choice for my business. By knowing exactly whom I wanted to reach, I was able to tailor every aspect of my business to appeal to that particular client, and the people who hired my company felt understood and confident in their decision. Essentially, it was a pretty foolproof path to greater customer satisfaction.
I had a pretty good idea of the kinds of clients to whom I wanted to market – people much like myself, to be completely honest – but I had to be sure that my instincts were correct, and that this was going to be a lucrative strategy for my business.
Here are some steps I took that can help you in identifying your target client:
I looked closely at the competition. I looked at other DJ companies’ websites, marketing collateral, bridal show displays, and print and online ads. This enabled me to determine who was already being well-served in our market, and what I might be able to do differently. What I found was that the DJ industry in my area, at least at that time, was saturated with older, single-operator DJs with a very flashy, high-profile, interactive performing style – exactly the opposite of the image I wanted for my company. Now I had my niche.
I brainstormed who would buy from me. I knew I wanted to offer a more polished, minimalist DJ style, and I now knew the market had a place for this. My next step was to envision exactly who would be seeking out this kind of service: their age, location, profession, hobbies/interests, music tastes, and general style. Obviously, our actual clientele would be a little more diverse than my target, but this gave me a starting point for creating a marketing strategy.
I narrowed my vision. By this time, I knew I was selling a “high-end” service. However, after having carefully considered my target client, I knew that marketing to people with money wasn’t enough. My target client wouldn’t be the type to choose the most expensive option, sight unseen. My target client would be a savvier consumer than that: they’d do a lot of research into a company’s reputation, they’d value integrity and experience, and they’d want to play a significant role in their own music planning. Because the idea was to get these people to buy, I also considered how this “ideal client” would make their purchasing decisions – what kind of marketing would appeal to them? What amount of research would they do? What would influence them to sign a contract with us versus another DJ company?
I created a brand. My next step was to ensure that every aspect of my company would appeal to my target client. I placed a tremendous value on transparency: publicly identifying our company’s core values, explaining exactly why the company was formed and what our clients could expect from us, and stating what we couldn’t offer (so that prospective clients who’d be better served by our competitors could find their way there!). I ensured that everyone I hired understood what the company was all about, so that they could be true ambassadors of our brand. I also made sure that all of our marketing would be well-received by our target client – it was essential that our website, information kits, and advertising were clear, polished, and informative, because our clients wouldn’t expect anything less.
I double-checked myself along the way. By requesting feedback from other wedding business owners I trusted, and polling former clients to determine what influenced them to choose our company, I was able to make small tweaks to our branding over the years to make sure we stayed appealing to the people who really mattered.
I know that, as a wedding business owner, it can be tempting to cast as wide a net as possible when it comes to marketing to prospective clients. However, I can say that by targeting a specific niche in the market, we’ve been able to create better, more mutually satisfying relationships with the people who hire us, and maintain a sense of staying true to ourselves and our brand – something I believe has been paramount to my company’s success.