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Target Market vs Niche vs Ideal Client – What’s the Diff?

If you’re in business, especially online business, you’ve probably heard the term ‘target market’. You’ve also probably heard that you need to find a niche. And also that you need to define your ideal client.

But what the heck is the difference between all these things?!

Let’s break it down because this shiz is confusing, but it’s important to understand if you want to sell lots of stuff, make a big impact, and avoid crying on the inside because all your clients suck.

What does it mean to have a target market?

Your target market is the beginning point of defining your customer — it’s very broad. Way too broad, in fact.

For example, my target market for Little Beast would be people with businesses that need branding & websites.

For my old business, The Love Vitamin, the target market would be people who struggle with acne.

Target Market vs Niche vs Ideal Client
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What does it mean to have a niche?

Your niche is a subset of that target market. It’s basically just your target market narrowed down further, because otherwise it’s hard to market effectively to such a broad field of people.

For Little Beast, my niche is branding & websites for women with personal brands (coaches, consultants, service providers, authors etc).

For The Love Vitamin, my niche would be natural, holistic treatment for adult women who struggle with chronic acne.

What does it mean to have an ideal client?

Defining your ideal client is breaking your niche down even further and defining the exact characteristics of the person within the niche that you would just love to work with.

AKA the dreamy client who is super duper easy to work with, respects your boundaries, pays your bills on time, and is just all around awesome.

You really get into the nitty gritty here, which is what knocks your marketing out of the park. When you know exactly who your ideal client is, their personality traits, their exact struggles and their exact desires, then you’ll know to say to get them to take action & buy your stuff.

I personally believe that defining your ideal client is so, so, SOOO important. Only defining your target market and niche is not enough.

Note that you can have more than one ideal client. Most likely you’d have characteristics that you’d want all your clients to have, but then in terms of struggles and desires you might have a few different ones, and you’d have services or products that cater to each.

Example of an Ideal Client Profile

As an example of how detailed we’re getting here, this is Little Beast’s general ideal client:

Women 25 to 55 who are personal brands (ex. coaches, consultants, online course creators, service providers etc) and already have an established business or a solid business idea and want to take it to the next level with unique custom branding.

Personality wise, she’s down to earth and ambitious. She’s super real, has a sense of humour, and is fun to chat to. She’s talented at what she does and incredibly passionate about her business, but design and branding ain’t her wheelhouse. She knows the value of professional website and branding and trusts me as the guiding expert. She’s punctual, respects boundaries, and is happy to pay for good work. 

What she struggles with (in her own words):

I need a new brand and website. I’m losing money because I’m not marketing and/or wasting time trying to figure this out myself.

I’m ashamed of my website. I don’t feel professional. I’m not excited to show up in my business because my website doesn’t reflect the real me or where I’m at with my business. I’m frustrated about losing money. I’m frustrated trying to figure out the tech. I’m tired of wasting time DIYing my own website and branding.

What she wants (in her own words):

I want a brand and website that is functional and beautiful (and to feel supported and guided during the process of creating it).

I want to feel confident in my business… I want my brand to feel like home and accurately represent my expertise and what I’m trying to convey to my ideal client.

I want it to help me reach my business goals so I can make money to fund the lifestyle I want to live. 

How to Use Your Ideal Client Profile in Your Marketing

In your marketing copy, you want to specifically call out your ideal client. Make it really clear who you serve. Say things like “Calling all red-wigged clowns who wish they were better at balloon animals”.

Wherever you can, outright say or allude to the characteristics of your ideal client. Build it into your brand imagery — for example, if you serve red-wigged clowns, don’t use green-wigged clowns in your images. Make them see themselves in what you’re offering.

And when you’re describing how your service or product can help your ideal client, you’d use the exact words and phrases that they use to describe their problems and desires. It makes them feel like you totally get them. And when someone feels like you get them, they trust that you can help them… so they buy your stuff, your business flourishes, and life is A-okay.

Have you defined your ideal client yet? If not, go do it now! It’s one of the better things you’ll ever do in your business.  

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Hi! I'm Tracy

I create stand-out branding & websites for unstoppable women. Click here to learn more about Little Beast! 

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