During the “60-second commercial” portion of a networking event, a chiropractor gave his laundry list of chiropractic services. Then he ended his commercial with the phrase, “Do you know someone with a spine? I can help them.” Everyone laughed and said it should be easy for him to find business “except maybe in Washington.”

Even though the population of people with spines is very large, the ability for him to acquire customers may be harder than one might think. While everyone in the room knew people who “qualified” to be his patient, including themselves, the question that still lingered in their minds was who is an ideal patient to refer to the chiropractor? Because of that question, he will receive few referrals.

The chiropractor’s lack of a specific target customer made his message too generic. He did little to connect his services to a particular audience’s needs. He therefore left people wondering what area does he specialize in, why is he different, why should someone go to this chiropractor instead of someone else, and most importantly why are his services important to me or someone I know?

Many small businesses, like this chiropractor, are trying to be too many things to too many people. They assume the wider the audience the more likely their brand will succeed. These businesses consider everyone a possible customer. When it comes to reasons to buy, they are often relying on the potential customer to fill in the dots. Even though these small businesses spend a considerable amount of time telling us what they can do and how they do it, the customer never sees specific reasons to consider the company’s product nor why they should buy from that particular business.

Small businesses need to focus on matching up with a narrow group of “the right people” and to stop watering down their offerings and messages to appeal to the masses. By understanding who the business best matches up with, they can better identify potential prospects which fit the ideal target profile.

Once a small business has established a list of ideal target customers, it can begin to examine the specific products and messages those customers are looking for. The company then can construct offerings, create extraordinary experiences, develop true relationships and build passion amongst those customers. This will make it easier to recruit and retain loyal brand advocates.

So instead of marketing to everyone with a spine, spend some time profiling the right people to do business with and develop products and messages which exceed expectations and turn these people into fans of your business who will do everything in their power to see that your small business succeeds.

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