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Raising your prices is something you should be doing on a regular basis, but it’s not uncommon for service professionals to raise their prices and then have to go back to where they were because their prospects can’t afford them.

Now in some cases this is warranted… though rarely. Because most of the time if you’re raising your prices, you’ve done your research and know that:

  1. Others are charging similar prices with as much (or less) experience that you have.
  2. The value of the results you provide far outweigh the price tag.

So, let me be frank, you aren’t off your rocker and your pricing isn’t the problem.

I’m willing to wager that there is something off in the message you’re delivering with your marketing.

The higher level your pricing, the more tuned in to your market you need to be in order for them to understand the value right away, and to make sure that you’re attracting the right people in the first place.

Recently I was interviewed about how I help my Trailblazers Collaborative clients dial in their messaging and I wanted to share with you one of the exercises that we talked about.

When it comes to your target audience we’ve all been taught it’s all about narrowing things down and getting specific.

While specificity is important, the word “narrow” is one I want to put the kibosh on because it immediately kicks up fear that will actually block you from attracting the right people.

When you’re told to narrow your audience, it feels very limiting. The word “narrow” makes you fear, that you won’t be able to serve as many clients as you wish, or be able to deliver all of the magic you have up your sleeves.

Instead, I want you to think about how you can deepen your target audience.

When you deepen your target audience, you deepen the level of connection you have with your ideal clients by making them feel heard and understood.

Without further ado, let me share with you the three levels of target audience.

1. The first level is your target market.

This is what you traditionally start with by answering the question “what is the demographic of the people you want to serve?”

Are we talking to men? Are we talking to women? Are we talking to both? Are they married? Are they single? Are they divorced? Are they in certain age ranges, certain kinds of jobs, certain industry, how many kids do they have? Do they not have kids?

Most of the time, this demographic doesn’t help at all with knowing what types of content they will relate to, however sometimes it does help with targeting for ads or identifying marketing outlets.

So let’s go deeper…

2. Who within that market are your ideal clients?

Your ideal clients have special qualities, attitudes, and values that make them the type of people that you do your best work with. Consequently, they are also the type of people that are most likely going to buy your programs.

A common mistake service professionals make when they are narrowing (instead of deepening) their target audience, is to narrow down to a market that isn’t actually going to be interested, or in many cases able to pay, for their services.

Who you’re marketing to needs to value your services and be prepared to pay for them.

Let’s say you have a dog walking business and your demographic are people that live in cities, they have families, they are working 10 to 12 hours day. They need their dog taken care of during that time because they obviously don’t want to come home to a mess. This is your Target Market.

What kind of qualities would someone have that would make them an ideal client for a dog walker?

Maybe they treat their dogs like they would children. They bake homemade dog treats and buy the more premium brands of dog food. Maybe they get Bark Box for their dog every month because they want them to be stimulated and not get bored living an apartment life.

These people are already spending extra money on their dog’s well being, they are demonstrating how important their dog is to them. Do you see how those qualities would lead them into wanting your services?

An unideal client would be someone that is perfectly happy leaving their dog loose in the house or in a crate for the day. They buy regular food at the store and sometimes get new toys, but only when they can afford it. They have different priorities and attitude toward their dog, and probably wouldn’t see the value in having an Class-A dog walker come to their house every day.

We’ve looked at one side of the spectrum, and the other, and of course there’s going to be people at many levels in between. For our marketing though, we want to focus on those who are ideal clients that we want to sell our services to. Not only will they be more likely to buy, they are going to be a heck of a lot more fun to work with.

3. Level three is your avatar.

When deepening to the avatar level, we’re going to pick one person in the group of ideal clients that we are going to market to specifically.

Now, you’re probably saying, “But Holly, you said we weren’t narrowing, that’s scary. I’m only going to market to one person?”

Yes, and here’s why.

Going deep is different than going narrow, because you aren’t arbitrarily eliminating traits or circumstances, you are speaking to your best prospects in a way that they feel heard. You can use specific examples that they relate to, you can speak to their fears and desires, and you can go much deeper into how you’re going to help them.

And believe me, even though we are using the fears, desires, stories etc. of one person we are speaking to THOUSANDS because there are so many others just like them, that wish someone understood what they were going through. And of course, YOU are that person.

Going back to the dog walker examples.

Let’s say your avatar is a family who owns chihuahuas. Their concerns are going to be MUCH different than someone who owns a Saint Bernard for example.

Chihuahua’s are nervous and can be aggressive toward other dogs (or people). They are very delicate and can be easily stepped on with horrible injuries. They can easily slip out of harnesses. They are the kind of dog that you carry around in your purse instead of leaving home (but obviously you can’t carry them to work with you).

In your marketing, you may not mention chihuahua’s specifically, you might just create a service for “small dogs” but you will use the things you know about the avatar above in your marketing.

When you’re using very specific language that speaks to the fears that a specific person has related to their situation, and the desires that they have for, in this case, their animal, you can market to them in a very effective way.

You could create an ad, or a flier, or content, around why you only walk small dogs. Because you understand how delicate they are, and how they might be a little bit more nervous than larger dogs, because clearly they have to be afraid of being stepped on. You can speak to the heart of that owner, their worries, their fears, and they know, “Oh this person gets it,” or at the very least, “Oh, I don’t have to worry about that with this person.”

This is how you speak to your prospects in a way that makes them think you’re reading their minds. Ultimately, they’ll want to work with no one but you because you understand them so well.

In summary, the more your marketing connects with your ideal clients, the more of the right people you will attract and they will value working with you.

Now here’s one last tidbit that I’d like to share with you…

Bonus Round: You can have multiple avatars.

I do not recommend having multiple target markets, but you can market to multiple avatars either with separate or the same offers.

Going back to the dog walker example for continuity sake. You could create ads for small dogs, and different ads for large dogs but still offer them the same pricing and packages. You just walk the dogs at different times so you can cater to their specific needs.

In this way, your prospects still feel heard, they feel like your services and your packages are geared toward people like them, but you’re still able to serve multiple levels within your audience.

Now what do you do with this information?

Well first of all, obviously you could take this and apply it to your marketing, and look at the three levels of target audience for you.

Sometimes it’s easier to practice with an industry and offer that is NOT yours,  kind of like how I just took dog walkers, maybe you could take dentists or bakers.

Your first step is to apply this concept to that industry and answer these questions:

  • What would be the target market?
  • How would you describe the ideal client? 
  • Who would be an avatar that you could specifically market your services to?
  • What are the problems that they have and how are you going to satisfy those as whatever service provider you are?

Oftentimes it’s easier to apply concepts to someone else’s business because there isn’t pressure to “get it right,” you’ll find that the strategy feels more concrete and applying it to your own business is a piece of cake.

~Holly

P.S. Have you recently changed your prices and are now having trouble signing clients?

If you’re committed to taking your business to the next level and want help figuring out what’s going wrong, let’s talk.

I can help you:

– Get clear on whether your pricing or your messaging is the problem
– Figure out if you’re targeting the right audience
– Pinpoint where your marketing is going wrong and why
– Give you next steps to align your offers and pricing with your goals
– Show you how I can help you align your marketing with your next level of growth