These 3 Companies Will Inspire You to Narrow Your Target Market

Image of Market Choice Narrowing“You can please all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot please all of the people all the time.”

That’s a variation of the famous quote from Abraham Lincoln. We’ve replaced the word “fool” with “please” yet it still holds true.

You can’t please your entire market all the time. Your business can’t put smiles on everyone’s face every time you launch, manufacture, record, publish or whatever you “ship” in your industry.

There are a select few out there who will fall in love with your services. People who will share the news of your wonderful services with their family and friends.

But “they” are a segment of the market. They are a targeted group of folks who want to be heard and catered to by a company that understands them.

Need clarification? Then here are three examples of companies that know who they serve and strive to make their well-defined market very happy.

1. OurTime.Com – The Place Where Singles Over 50 Meet

Are you over 50 years of age and single? Then OurTime.com seems to be the perfect solution to help connect you with other mature singles.

It’s “your time” to get out and enjoy life. You’ve raised your kids, you’re mature and single, and you’re ready to reap the rewards of your hard work while enjoying it with a fellow 50+ single companion.

Go ahead, visit OurTime.com and read their tagline. Then take a look at the image on their website of the man and woman. It says to any 50 year old: “hey, they are like me. Maybe I can be the type of happy person who connects on here.”

At OurTime.com you can see they specialize in servicing a specific market. Although you can select an age range younger than 50, everything about their site is geared to 50+ singles.

Question: Are you as open and direct as OurTime.com with identifying who you serve?

2. HJMews.com – Beautiful Toys, Accessories & Classic Furniture for the Discerning Feline

Who doesn’t believe in buying their cat feline the very best?

Cats and dogs aren’t pets anymore. They’re family. People adore them and would do anything for them. So, it follows that there is a high-end feline boutique to supply our finicky feline fanatics.

HJMews.com is all about cats. Read the about page and see how they’ve transformed it into a culture, a world, all about their market. There is no mistaking what they offer at HJMews or for which pet their toys, accessories, and furniture are best suited.

Question: Will you take a page from HJMews.com’s book and be willing to live in, or create, a world that revolves around whom you serve?

3. PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com – Love Your Dress

Brides on a budget will understand this one.

Wedding dresses are notoriously expensive. And why wouldn’t they be? They’re customized, worn once, hold extremely high sentimental value and retailers know they’re charging for an experience.

They’re charging for a forever memory.

Let’s take a look at an interesting quote from the founder of PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com (POWD.com):

“If you buy a $90,000 Mercedes and own it for one year, the cost of ownership is 17 cents a minute. If you buy a $5,000 wedding dress and wear it for five hours, the cost of ownership is $16.67 a minute.”
~Josie Daga, Founder POWD.com

There’s clearly a lot of money riding on the wedding dress. This is likely why modern women are apt to use a service like POWD to recoup the money from this one-time-use product.

You can buy new and sample wedding dresses at POWD. Well, you can do that at any brick and mortar store.

What makes this unique, is it’s a service that brings buyer and seller together in the purchase of a pre-owned wedding dress. The website doesn’t get involved in the negotiation. They simply charge a listing fee and bring the interested parties together.

The dress then lives to see another magical wedding day (albeit less pricey in round 2).

Have a look around their site. Sure, there are some sponsored ads for different apparel but the site is all about wedding dresses. Plain and simple.

Question: How will you provide a targeted platform to connect the following three aspects (as POWD has): your product or service, a buyer, and anchor it to a strong emotional benefit?

Narrow your market

We could all use a reminder about this stuff, my own site here included. I just wanted you and I to give thought to how we may better focus our efforts.

Identify who you will serve best and focus on serving them exceptionally well (even exclusively). The more laser-focused you are with your product development and marketing, the easier it’ll be to explore the mind of your ideal customer and make the sale.

Your clients will love you for knowing what they truly want. After all, isn’t it what the client wants that counts?

Photo: cambodia4kidsorg


18 Responses to These 3 Companies Will Inspire You to Narrow Your Target Market
  1. Martin Dale
    June 27, 2011 | 10:03 pm

    Jon,
    this is so vitally important!
    The whole subject of staying focused on your own narrow niche is of utmost importance.
    Thanks for sharing it in such a simple to understand way.

    I really like that quote at the top about not pleasing everyone all the time. It is so true!

    Stay focused,
    Martin Dale -your friend in business

    • Jon
      June 28, 2011 | 10:00 pm

      It’s easier and more effective overall to focus and excel than spray your attention and dilute your effort. Glad you liked the quote :)

  2. Tisha
    June 28, 2011 | 11:16 am

    Hi Jon,

    I agree with Martin. The quote you put at the beginning of your post is something I need to read and your whole post was a great reminder to keep my market narrow, to put my focus on the people who will benefit from my services.

    I will stay focus! Thanks…:-)

    Tisha

    • Jon
      June 28, 2011 | 10:01 pm

      Excellent, Tisha. I wish you well keeping focused to serve your target audience in a great way. You’re welcome.

  3. marquita herald
    June 28, 2011 | 1:17 pm

    Really enjoyed this article Jon – and it’s well timed for me. I’ve been tracking response to various blog posts. I already knew that I need to fine tune my categories, but wanted to confirm what I though should be dropped. Turns out my readers agreed because I could see a very clear trend. Growing an online business is a fascinating process, and one that continues to evolve. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Jon
      June 28, 2011 | 9:59 pm

      It’s good to know this was timely for you! Hey, it’s a great thing when your readers do the heavy-lifting for you, isn’t it? When in doubt – ask!

  4. Hector Avellaneda
    June 29, 2011 | 12:28 am

    Jon! What’s going on, man!? Long time budd!

    Excellent point here. I think this is something that is really overlooked by small business entrepreneurs, especially those operating exclusively on the web,

    We may get blinded by the fact that we have access to all people in almost every part of the world that selling something to everyone doesn’t seem like a implausible (I learned that word in college :) ) idea.

    I agree with you and definitely think that you want to keep somewhat of a narrow focus on your target customer, however, I also include that you would want to give yourself some breathing room.

    I’m not sure if you’ve studied this or not but the law of diffusion of innovations says that there are 5 different sectors of the market:

    Innovators (2.5%) – This group pursue new products or ideas aggressively and are intrigued by any fundamental advance. They are a very small percentage of the population that challenge the rest of us to think and see the world a little differently.
    Early Adopters (13.5%) – This group appreciates and recognize the value brought on by new ideas and technologies and are willing to suffer an inconvenience or espouse an idea that feels right. They are not idea generators but rely on intuition to make decisions. They trust their gut. Early adopters are also willing to spread new ideas and give referrals of products they really like, without incentives.
    Early Majority (34%) – This group is more practically minded although slightly comfortable with new ideas and technologies. However, they will not try a new product until someone has tried it first.
    Late Majority (34%) – This group is also practically minded. Practical factors matter more and will not try something until someone else has tried it first.
    Laggards (16%) – This group usually only accepts new technologies or ideas because they have no other options.

    The law states that you should only concentrate all of your efforts on the Early Adopters – 13.5% of the market, those that believe in your product and believe what you believe. The reasoning being that those that believe in what you believe (this should be your narrow focused target market in your examples) ar the one that will naturally and authentically help your product enter the mass market.

    Early adopters spread the word and give referrals to other people without the need for incentives!

    I hope this makes sense and sorry for writing a blog post for a comment! :)

    • Jon
      July 2, 2011 | 2:16 pm

      Hector – Your “blog post for a comment” is welcome any time! Thanks for sharing your knowledge here; yes I”m familiar with your lessons here. Mainly from business classes but also from high-profile books (such as The Tipping Point).

      An early adopter helping spread your/our message based on their belief and desire to help is GOLD, my friend. It doesn’t take too many influencers and believers like that to help you stay profitable and build trust and authority for you.

  5. Oliver Tausend
    June 29, 2011 | 4:32 am

    Hi Jon,

    interesting post. It is so true that it is all about narrowing our target market, speaking its language and catering to its needs.

    The quote of the POWD founde really makes me think. How cheap a Mercedes can be…

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Take care

    Oliver

    • Jon
      July 2, 2011 | 2:17 pm

      Ha! How cheap a Mercedes can be. Yes, the way she framed her comparison of the cost of ownership made me want to go car shopping as well. Thanks, Oliver.

  6. Peggy Baron
    June 29, 2011 | 6:26 am

    Wise observations, Jon. And I like how you give concrete examples of what you’re talking about.

    “It’s easier and more effective overall to focus and excel than spray your attention and dilute your effort.” – love that. :)

    I know in the beginning of my online journey I didn’t get it. Now I’m more focused, but the problem is ME – I’m interested in so many aspects of online marketing.

    Thanks, Jon.
    Peggy

    • Jon
      July 2, 2011 | 2:18 pm

      Thanks, Peggy! I see you doing a lot of solid work over there, shipping is a good thing! You may take many interests but I see you doing something powerful: taking action.

  7. Jayne Kopp
    June 30, 2011 | 3:21 am

    Jon certainly a reminder with lots of clout. These last few months, I have tried to get back to the ‘narrowing’ of my market.

    When I first started I was very focused on a tight niche. I found since getting further into my personal development, the temptation is to write ‘broadly’ because, lets face it, in this business, it seems the market is huge when talking about personal development because we ALL use it.

    Though I will continue on with my JayneKopp site, I have also started a Mom Blog, (very new) but already getting decent traffic.

    If that isnt proof in the pudding, I don’t know what is!

    Loved the examples you showed Jon. You sent a terrific reminder!

    Thanks Jon

    • Jon
      July 2, 2011 | 2:21 pm

      You’re welcome, Jayne. Congrats on your new Mom Blog – I wish you continued success. The personal development space is crowded but which (lucrative) market isn’t? The great part about it is that you can weave your high-level topic into so many focused topics that it won’t be hard to drill down to find your rhythm. To find the core two or three topics you will continue to center your content.

  8. Hi Jon,

    For most of us, in order to get people to trust you enough to pull out their credit cards, you have to brand yourself in a way that will result in that trust. I don’t have a problem there, becuase for reasons other that business, I try to present myself in a fashion that glorifies God. If there are people who don’t like that “brand”, I suppose they’ll hit the back button. But, I think there are plenty of people who like what God makes.

    Lou Barba

    • Jon
      July 2, 2011 | 2:23 pm

      You’ve got a good thing going there, Lou. You share your own personal story (and great fictional ones!) with us which builds trust. Your readers feel like they know who you are and what to expect. Plus, as a Believer, I know being trustworthy is something we just feel comes naturally or is a requisite in any environment; business or personal.

  9. Stacy
    July 1, 2011 | 8:07 pm

    Hi Jon,

    You found some great sites to make a really good point! Sometimes it can be scary to narrow a niche down, I know as my niche is pretty wide. Though it’s more narrow than when I first began. At first it was just personal development then I narrowed it to personal development for the entrepreneur and blogger.

    Thanks,
    Stacy

    • Jon
      July 2, 2011 | 2:25 pm

      You found your rhythm, Stacy. Personal development as it pertains to the entrepreneur (or blogger) is more focused. It’s a hot topic and you won’t be starved for traffic due to overly narrowing your focus. You may, in time, find that you’ll drill further down if you change your stride or engage in more side projects of your own.

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