How to Find & Target your Ideal Client | What is "Positioning" in Marketing?

Disclaimer: 20-Minute Guide

Just when I thought I was doing everything I could to maximize results was I hit with the reality that my most trusted means of marketing and advertising were outdated and totally ineffective. Great, in the sense that I now understand what I was missing and can continue to grow my business more successfully, but kind of discouraging because I realized I was missing a huge, let alone, vital detail in my marketing approach.

Last night, I attended a webinar by Danielle Leslie, where she (so conveniently) taught me about Positioning myself in my Marketing strategies. She let us all know that this new approach was basically the bread and butter of any advertising success, and though she highlighted the crucial importance of this method, she didn’t really explain what it meant, how it works, nor why it was so essential.

Great! It gave me something else to do today. This morning, I set out on a mission to learn (literally) everything I can about “Positioning,” so that I could, not only, tailor my own promotional campaigns more efficiently, but also enlighten some other entrepreneurs on what it is, how to do it, and why it will revolutionize your sales attempts.

What I learned was quite interesting.

For one, it’s basically this… Positioning yourself in your marketing strategy requires knowing who you are (as a business,) what you offer, who your biggest competitors are, what “category” or “market” you’re targeting, and who’s currently dominating it.

Now, let me break it down a little. Say you’re selling a planner (ha, like me) and you know it’s unique for a variety of different reasons. You offer insights and written passages, the approach to goal-development is totally different from what’s out there, and you offer weekly lessons for your customers to grow. Now, your biggest competitor(s) might be a list of other planner companies, in which two or three of them currently dominate the category “goal planner,” or “growth planner.” Whatever it is for your case, you’re positioning strategy should be creating an entirely new category, so you can dominate it completely and take all the niche clients in that sector.

[Another way of explaining it, which helped me understand the entire concept right away, is as following: Think of the social media latter. In order of dominance, you have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and then Pinterest. But, one day, Pinterest and LinkedIn realized they would never dominate the standard social media market, so they created their own categories to be at the top. Now, when you think of Pinterest you think of Ideas, Crafts and Recipes; while when you think of LinkedIn, you think Social Media for jobs and careers. They’ve, now, taken complete control over their niche and positioned themselves to be at the top of those categories.]

Get it?

Positioning is exactly that. Putting yourself in the absolute best position to take over your ideal market and dominate the category you’re in through a series of different marketing tactics tailored to your niche and objectives.

So, here’s the next step. If you want to position yourself in the best angle for your marketing goals, there are four basic methods of promoting yourself in the market.

  1. Positioning through Promotion (advertising)

  2. Positioning through Placement (what I call “client reality”)

  3. Positioning through Price

  4. Positioning through Product

Before we get into any of that, I need you to do this tiny exercise. [Now, I don’t care whether you do it, or not, it’s on you. But, skipping out on this might you put in a place of vulnerability because you’ll have no idea who you’re supposed to be targeting, and from that, you may miss out on a loonnnnng-list of potential clients.]

Anyways… “Class is in session, kids.”

The following four steps will assist you in determining your target market demographic and will give you a better idea of who you need to be directing your efforts towards and what you should be focused on doing.

Step 1. Determine which group of people or businesses will best benefit from the use of your products or services.

[In my case, three of my best examples were start-up entrepreneurs, struggling business owners and people who showed interest in e-Courses (specifically in business development) and webinars.]

Step 2. Think like your ideal client. Define their wants, needs, and interests.

[My ideal clients want a successful business, they want to learn the best strategies for developing their brands and they need a cost-efficient alternative to growing, succeeding, and sustaining their company. They’re (probably) mainly interested in other successful entrepreneurs, they love staying organized in their goals, and are very focused on learning how to acquire new clients through the best business strategies/advice.]

Step 3. Be honest with yourself. Establish what need is being met through the use or sale of your creation.

[Through my product and/or service, people are able to organize the tasks and goals required to get them where they want to be, both, in their life and their business. They learn the well-kept secrets of becoming the person that can grow and flourish in their endeavors. They learn the vital tips of developing a business, creating the best routine, and all the marketing techniques for supporting the success of their venture. The need that is best being met through my services (or products) is through learning – but also becoming – the person that adapts to each stage of building their empire; not only through effective planning but through the knowledge and information they acquire at each step of the way.]

Step 4. What category are you currently targeting? How can you refine it to dominate a whole new niche?

[At first, I was targeting goal planners, people looking to find a well-organized structure for developing their daily tasks and personal/business goals. Now, however, I’m dominating the market of start-up planners and tailored personal development guides in the growth sector. Not many other companies (if any) are targeting either or, so this is the perfect strategy for acquiring clients specific to my niche.]

See, I did it with you. I hope you actually took the time to set this information aside because it will help you in the next part of this lesson, (just kidding, got ahead of myself there, this article.)

So, what’s next? You’ve defined your target market. You know what makes your creation(s) unique. And, you’ve decided to target a more specific category so you can be at the top of the latter without extensive marketing attempts.

Let’s break down the various techniques of Positioning that you can strategically apply for your advertising attempts.

Positioning through Promotion (advertising)

Typically, this positioning approach is to target your new intended audience and specify the need you fulfill.

Yes, it’s as simple as that. I’m also pretty sure you’ve seen some attempts in the ads you face on a daily basis. Whenever you see an advertisement pop-up on your screen or timeline, someone has clearly stated that what they have to offer will be beneficial for solving a problem you’ve shown a sign of having.

You should tailor your marketing campaign towards specifically solving an issue (or meeting a need) your ideal client is having. Whether you promote a video saying “Hey, are you looking for this or trying to improve that? If so, I have just what you need,” or creating a post saying “We’ve helped tons of people conquer this specific issue and succeed at fulfilling that specific want/need; you should join them today.”

Essentially, you’re exploiting their problems, wants or needs as a means of landing your sale. And, before you think it, it’s not dirty, it’s fulfilling two ends of a bargain. It’s business.

That’s one specific approach, simplified. You’re putting your business in the right position to acquire your ideal client by promoting the fact that you have something they’re looking for, and using this approach to let each one of them know you have what it takes (whether in resources, products, services or knowledge) to help them overcome their hump or desire.

Ah. Number two.

Positioning through Placement… or, what I later named “Client reality.”

Reaching your potential client is not just a matter of running targeted ads all the time. Sure, it helps, and it’s one of the techniques you should be using. But, here’s where we take it another step forward.

What is client reality? It’s the truth behind the screen, the real person that will give you their money in exchange for something they find beneficial to their lives. Unfortunately, too many entrepreneurs are getting caught sending out mass amounts of somewhat-targeted ads, but are forgetting to specify the nitty-gritty details that will put you in front of the right eyes.

To our advantage, advertising platforms are getting wayyyy better at customer data. In this day and age, you can target groups of people by their physical location, their marital status, their income, their age, gender, and occupation; so many specific alternatives that will target the user-experience and get your ads seen by the people you’re intending.

That’s why I called it “Positioning by Client Reality.” I took their method of “Placement,” and refined it so you have a whole new dimension of positioning your ads.

Additionally, you also have the choice of distributing your ads on different channels. This is another client reality. Are they always on Facebook? Instagram? LinkedIn? What platform does your target client use the most? This is another way of positioning your ads correctly so you can get your message in front the right people.

Let’s dive into one example a little deeper. Though this example is more tailored to brick and mortar businesses, and not so much e-Commerce entrepreneurs, the idea is the same and highlights the importance of really directing(/positioning) your ads towards the best people for your goals.

Say you’re a business with a physical location in a certain city or town. Why would you submit a general ad targeted towards people of the country, if you’re only situated in one specific location? Positioning yourself and your marketing campaign would only be effective if you targeted the ad as close to your location as possible.

Meet the requirements of your ideal clients as closely as possible, period. Whether you’re targeting teenage girls, grown men, or the elderly; positioning yourself effectively would mean learning everything about your intended demographic and focusing your ads on the very last detail from specific age (14-21, 65+, or 73 y/o), to their gender, their location (Toronto, or USA) and whether their using Instagram for their referral purchases, or Facebook, Twitter, any other.

Positioning through Price

Price tags. Boy, have I struggled to learn about this one. As a disclaimer, it should be thoroughly noted that the psychology of pricing plays a large role in buyer experience. The truth is, the price of your product or service will reveal more about you (and your business) to the client than you might anticipate.

I’m sure you’re aware of the stereotype that people associate high price with high quality and low price with… well, you know. But! What if I told you that positioning, both, your prices and your pricing approach/explanation correctly might land you far more results than if you were unaware of it completely. [Yes, I innovated it, I invented yet another whole new dimension to better positioning yourself. Yay, me!]

Here’s what I mean… When I first launched my business, I was well aware of the pricing structure for my items. I started off targeting people who had the money to pay, but who also wanted to develop themselves in key areas of their life.

But, now that I have my course and I’m faced with an entirely new demographic, aka. struggling entrepreneurs, I know that asking $1,500 for an online business course is unrealistic for these people.

That’s why it’s important to position yourself, not only, in price but also in your pricing approach. I know that most start-up entrepreneurs are broke. I remember feeling so disappointed in myself for listening to free webinars to acquire my knowledge, and not having enough money to buy an extensive course.

But! It brought me to my latest targeted pricing approach. Part of my strategy is, yes, targeting struggling business owners, but also offering them a price that they can afford because I know it’s not simple to dish out two-grand to learn about how to be successful when you’re already worried about the state of your current business/income.

It’s not a lack of quality within my course. On the contrary, actually. It’s just about using that pricing and its explanation as my strategy to position myself in front of the people I want to help and sell my course to.

So, using your pricing and the reason for your quotes can be used as a whole other positioning approach to put you in front of ideal clients.

Which brings me to the last formal positioning method.

Positioning through Product

This is probably the most commonly used positioning approach for brands, in the sense that it makes up most mainstream advertising techniques because it has so many layers.

I’m going to name the four basic layers of Positioning through Product, and I’m sure by reading it you’ll think of a few ads or commercials you’ve seen that have used these techniques.

  1. Product Attributes

  2. Product Benefits

  3. Product Quality

  4. Product Use or Application.

Product Attributes. Yep. Simple, but effective. I know you’ve seen tons of marketing campaigns using their products unique or high-end components as a means of advertising their products. For services, it generally includes listing what’s included in your package, sharing the different descriptions of the product or service to sell it to customers.

In this strategy, you should list a few of the most important features of your creation as your client-interest.

Say, you’re a facial moisturizer company, you’ll use the ingredients, convenient packaging, and product details as your way of selling to clients. If you’re selling a service like investment trading (or, whatever) you’ll probably describe the vital stages of growing an account, what your specific approach is to investing, and a set of facts that give your customers a good idea of who you are and what you offer.

Then, you’ve got the Product Benefits. Yes, yes. It’s fucking everywhere, but it is definitely the most effective method of marketing your product and positioning your company towards a particular niche or advantage.

This includes showcasing results, client success stories, other beneficial factors of choosing your product or company over a competitor. You can even use the features of your products that have proven to help your clients in achieving desired results.

My tip for you, however, is to really be creative when coming up with your benefits. Not to mention, choose your selected strengths to appeal to the targeted demographic you’re intending. Don’t use general benefits you know everyone else uses as their sole marketing technique. Put yourself in the position of gaining a better audience because you’re offering something totally different, convenient, and beneficial for unique reasons.

And thennnn, you can showcase Product Quality. This method is most often used by High-end brands and companies who strive to offer the most authentic, organic, and (most definitely) expensive components for their creations.

Whether you’re a product brand or a service agency, you would use this technique if the quality of your ideas and work are your selling point.

I don’t, personally, use this strategy. I think product quality can be demonstrated through product benefits. But, again, if the quality of your components, ingredients, services, or whatever, are you primary selling feature, by all means, use it to your advantage.

And, last but not least, Product use or application. I think this is such an exclusive positioning technique because you wouldn’t normally think to use it as an advertising strategy as opposed to a standard way of explaining how to use your products or service.

You’re putting yourself in front of your ideal clients by (and) teaching them, beforehand, how to use it. It’s a like a two-in-one. Not only are you getting your product known by teaching prospects how to use it, but you’re also teaching them how to use it! (Which, psycho-subliminally might induce them to choose you and your product over anyone else.)

So, basically, I started this post having absolutely no idea what positioning myself in my marketing strategies meant. Now, I’m a full-blown advocate and I highly recommend refining your means of getting in front of new clients through the many different angles of positioning your business.

To end this blog post, I want you to know the following - and question whether you need to re-position yourself in your branding attempts, or if you’re really killing it out there and don’t care to change the way you’re advertising your products.

The reality is, if you’re not in the top two results of your targeted keywords (searches), you need to consider taking a different approach.

Is your business popping up on the front page of your ideal category? Are you the LinkedIn or Pinterest on the latter of your Standard Social Media category? Because if you are, I highly suggest you take a few minutes to define what your true ideal client looks like, what you have to offer to them, and what kind of positioning approach you can take to finally get in front of the clients that are looking for what you’ve got.

You might have a whole category you can dominate, right now, but you’re sitting on the bottom of the latter of your own Standard Social Media List.

I love you all so much. I sincerely hope this blog post was insightful for you. I know it was for me. If you need any help, any advice or any tips on how to optimize your methods of meeting your business (or lifestyle) goals; I am happy to be of assistance. You can comment below, email me directly or check this page to get some tailored help, and I will definitely get back to you as early as possible.

All my love,

Sarah ELLE