I've written about how important it is to find a viable market to target — meaning there is enough work there that pays well and people who value that work.
But the next question is usually: How do you tell if a target market is viable?
It takes time and research (this is what I teach, by the way, in the Basic Marketing Group — next one starts later this month).
There are certain markets that are clearly not viable, though often it depends on the economy. We've seen that with real estate recently. At one point it was a great target market, then not so much. Who knows about the future?
Looking at my current roster of clients — almost all creative professionals — here are the target markets we are exploring: healthcare, high tech and software, maritime, restaurants and hospitality, travel bureaus, alternative health, law firms, higher education, oil and gas, renewable energy, sustainability and all things green, craft beers and fashion companies…the list goes on.
Are all of these viable?
Yes, potentially, because it's the actual prospects who make a market viable.
As I've worked with each client to explore their target market, I notice that each market has prospects whom we suspect are viable (though they may be in the minority) and prospects who are clearly not viable (because they're too small, too far away, don't value the services, etc.).
It then becomes a question of identifying and then pursuing the viable ones, through a combination of direct outreach, content marketing, email marketing and positioning yourself and your firm so the viable ones can find you.
Here's what one client wrote to me after we focused on her market to find the viable prospects:
"I narrowed our area of specialization after Ilise helped me see how much easier and more effective that made marketing. Once we did that, the opportunities seemed more abundant, not less. Best of all – I'm working with more my dream clients doing my dream projects."
Have you found this to be true? How do you find the viable prospects in a market?