Marketing Standards 101 – Part 1 of 3: You and your business


Identify your target audience.

Why is it important to find a niche?

If you serve everyone, you compete with all of the providers and consultants that serve everyone. More importantly, the service you provide suffers.

When you try to serve everyone, you can’t effectively serve anyone.

Serving a narrow target audience lets you own that audience — you can become the go-to expert for your niche, which makes it easier to get business and referrals.

What criteria do you use to niche?

You can slice up the total market for digital marketing (for example) in as many ways as you want. The important part is that you focus on a slice where you have a unique advantage.

Demographics are a common way to find a niche, but they are sometimes difficult to use for B2B services. Ultimately, everyone in your niche will share a common need — a need that you provide the solution to.

We recommend choosing a niche based on criteria like industry (e.g. “fitness”), business type (e.g. “eCommerce”), location, or company size.

Example niches include: “Solopreneurs who run subscription-based membership websites” or “small-to-medium sized companies that sell music equipment.”

How do you know when you’ve found a good target audience?

A great target audience has three major characteristics.

  • A serious and immediate need that needs solving
  • Lack of major competitors serving that niche specifically
  • Willingness and ability to pay for their problem to be solved

People without needs don’t buy products. People who can’t afford products don’t buy products. And people who have a lot of products to choose from are less likely to buy your products.

As you look for your target audience, it’s a good idea to look at your existing customers. Is there a group of your customers that accounts for more revenue, or gets more value, or has lower churn? It may make sense to put more resources into finding those types of customers.

Unique selling proposition

What is a USP?

A USP, or Unique Selling Proposition (aka unique selling point), is your advantage over your competitors. Put simply, it answers the question “what can you offer that no one else can offer?”

Why is a USP important?

A Unique Selling Proposition helps your customers choose you over your competitors. When you can offer unique value that’s hard to find elsewhere, you can capture more business and adjust your prices accordingly.

What could your USP be?

A Unique Selling Proposition can be just about anything not being offered by your competitors. Maybe you have incredible expertise and experience in a particular service. Maybe you can complete projects extremely quickly. Maybe you work with your clients more closely than other “hands-off” competitors.

A USP can be anything that provides value. Identifying an especially strong target audience can even be a USP in and of itself!

Here’s a formula for defining your USP:

The benefit you offer
+ downsides you avoid
+ group of people you serve
= your USP

How to find your USP

What benefits do you offer your customers? What key questions are going unanswered in your industry? Are there unmet needs that you could address?

Finding a USP can be difficult, but online market research makes it easier. We put together an article with 8 techniques you can use to get insights from your audience.

Developing a great USP usually takes direct customer conversations. This article has the exact customer research questions you should ask to uncover your customers’ unmet needs. As a bonus, this research will make it much easier to write your marketing copy later on.

In part two we’ll cover ‘How to Reach People‘.