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Marketing | Publishing | Internet

Don't be "Just Another Writer" (or Artist, or Designer)

by Susan Daffron, SPAWN President

Competition is fierce in creative fields, such as writing, art, graphic, and Web design. You are competing for attention against countless other talented people all over the world. How can you make yourself stand out?

The key is to FOCUS on one type of client or specialize your creative work in a particular way. When you focus in on one group's particular problems, your Web site and products will resonate with the people in that marketplace. Many people are stumped by this concept of marketing to a specific specialized market or "niche." Usually their mental block stems from the worry that by narrowing down their business offerings, they will exclude too many people and never sell anything at all. In general, the opposite is true.

For example, if you are a graphic designer, technically speaking you could do design work for anyone. But then you don't stand out from the other seven-gazillion designers out there. On the other hand, if you entered the design field after working for years as a manicurist, you might niche yourself as a graphic artist who specializes in marketing for nail salons. Because you understand the salon marketplace, your materials and your background will appeal to that group.

People buy products or services to solve problems. Once you have identified a target market you are interested in serving, think about their biggest problems. Are they problems you are equipped to help these people solve, given your background and experience?

Identifying needs is particularly important if you are selling online because people use search engines to find answers to their problems. A manicurist who needs a newsletter to promote her shop might use search terms like "manicurist newsletter." If you're the designer who specializes in marketing for nail salons, you might have a page about newsletters on your Web site. The nail technician does a search, finds your site, and contacts you because it looks like you are uniquely qualified to solve her marketing problem.

Of course, when you are choosing a target market, you also need to determine if that group is willing to pay for the products or services you offer. Not all niche markets have money. A number of years ago, I met the author of a book for unemployed job seekers. He belatedly realized that his market had no job, no money, and ready access to countless other free sources of employment information and services.

Once you understand the needs of your particular niche group, you also can expand your potential income because you can sell additional related products and services to your existing customers. After all, it's always easier to sell to your existing customers who already know you.

Susan Daffron is the President and Webmaster of SPAWN. She is the author of 11 books and owns a book and software publishing company called Logical Expressions, Inc., which offers book layout, design and consulting services. Susan has been a freelance writer since 1994.

For more book publishing and marketing information and inspiration, visit The Book Consultant Web site



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