There is always this huge resistance to simplifying in the wedding industry. I know you're going to tell me, oh no, not me...I love simplicity! I want to pare back so much and make my work day easier.
Sure. Sounds great.
But then when we're working on building a really solid sales and marketing strategy, I tell people to narrow their offering and focus on serving an ideal bride really well...
And so many PANIC. It's this fear that by picking someone, you're leaving people out. That you're limiting your business and opportunities.
Let's be honest...most the time it's just that we're afraid. We're afraid that:
a) There aren't enough of that type of bride.
b) There may be enough, but they don't have enough money.
c) There are enough and they have enough money, but they won't book with you because you aren't good enough.
So basically, get what you can and be grateful for it.
Some of that fear comes from mindset hang ups. Money story issues, imposter syndrome, scarcity, competition...general self confidence and lack worries. But some of it is also just a basic misunderstanding of ideal bride versus your target market.
Ideal bride is just that. The ideal. Perfection. Wave a magic wand kind of dreams.
And it's not as impractical as it feels because it's not saying you're only, ever, going to work with that person. That's not what it means. If you're doing ideal bride right, that's really only one person. Real or fictional, your description should get so specific that you can watch the person live out a day in your mind's eye and KNOW, without a doubt, that person is a one in a million kind of catch and business life just couldn't get any better than when you're working with them.
They're your muse. Your motivation.
They are not your target audience.
Your target audience is a little wider. It's the people who are likely to be interested in the special sauce that is your product or business. You love working with them, you have exactly what they need and desire, and they leave happy.
So what's the difference? Your ideal bride may be 31. Your target market is more 25-42. Your ideal bride makes $80,000 a year, but your target market makes $55,000-100,000 a year. Your ideal bride owns a bagel shop and bikes down the California coast every September. Your target market are young professionals and business owners who like to be active and outdoors.
Do you see how that works? Both still keep you focused. Both give you guidance. But they aren't the same thing. You use target market for things like picking great tools and platforms to use as you build your business and reach out for marketing. You use ideal bride for when you're writing messages, creating your top level experiences, and building your marketing funnels.
You want to be speaking to that ONE person. You lose your focus and punch when you try to talk to a group, even if it's just a handful of people. When you dilute your message for your entire target market, it just gets BORING. And vague. And vague, boring stuff that fits the masses never made anyone a raving fan. Raving fans are what builds a business worth having and brings in referral after referral, so it's worth taking the time to get people excited about working with you.
The cool thing is, as you grow and define these two terms more and more specifically, they'll get closer and closer. Your target market can narrow as brides who come close to your ideal bride fall in love with you. They'll bring in more, and you can pull your overall circle closer to the center as you build up a reputation as the can't miss, go to place for brides who want x, y, and z.
The reason this works is that people buy according to what they WANT to be, not what they are. So Apple can market to their ideal, young, hip, professional client and pull in everyone who wants to feel like they're that person.
The yoga studio down the street can speak to someone who's flexible, zen, and ready to tackle the day and pull in everyone who's like that...but also everyone who's not, at all, and desperately wants and needs it!
The high end boutique can sell to the put together, stylish, fashion maven who's rocking their business dreams. And they'll be the go to place for the on-lookers and go-getters who are ready to break that bubble and get a piece of it themselves.
You sell your message. You sell your vision. You speak to the exact, perfect bride you went into business to serve. And in the process, by being in integrity and staying confident in who and what you stand for, you're able to help a wider range of people than you would be if you can't nail yourself and your business down. Being wishy washy just makes it harder for everyone to say yes. It makes it hard for you to demonstrate high levels of value. It keeps you distracted and uncertain, which means that you can't put all your energy to serving your clients because you're spending time daily trying to get your footing.
I know this is tricky. And it's more of an art than a science...there's a whole different level of specificity for who needs a refrigerator versus who needs a book on the best food for backyard chickens. Some businesses will serve a wider market than others and you may or may not find yourself there. But 100% of the time, you should be able to tell me all about your ideal bride...whether your target market is 15% of the population or 0.5%.
And that 0.5%?? That's why target markets and ideal clients work...that's still over 37 million people. You can be incredibly specific and still have more than enough people to find. And when you do, you'll be speaking straight to the soul of what matters to them. Imagine if most of the people you talked to daily about buying from you were already on your wavelength and couldn't wait to get started because they FINALLY found someone who made or does what they have always wanted to find. Wouldn't that make work more enjoyable?
Get rid of those fears of inadequacy and scarcity. Remind yourself of the availability of what you want and the people you want to find, if you stay the course and do what it takes to get them. Focus on building what you actually want instead of living in constant reactive mode and trying to be grateful for work with people who really aren't your perfect match. When you know someone isn't in your target market, let their perfect person serve them, and move on, know that your people are out there too.
(This is another side to the scarcity...or maybe sometimes an overactive hero complex. We're so worried that if we don't have an option for everyone, we can't help everyone. Good! It's not your job to help 100% of the people. Know and trust that there is someone out there that's creating and doing exactly what that person needs. You are not the only creator and helper in the universe.)
The biggest action you can take from this? Get really clear on the meanings of these two terms for you and your business, then keep your ideal bride at the center of your messaging. You’ll develop the strength of voice and consistency that shows you are a trusted, amazing, reliable expert that people can't wait to work with and see just how fun and easy sales can be when you get that flowing.