Niche Marketing Basics: Find Your Niche

Here’s a sobering truth most business owners don’t want to accept: Not everyone is your target customer. One of the biggest mistakes many startups make is claiming their product will appeal to the masses, but this is true 0% of the time. Read on for a few tips to help you find your niche, and ditch the ideals that are costing you money.

Offer a unique but marketable product or service that will appeal to a specific group of people.

Whether you’re offering a product or a service, if you want to master your market, you must be very specific in what you offer. Even the largest companies in the world (think Walmart) have a target customer in mind. For example, Lu La Roe, a direct sale apparel company, targets women with body issues who have an eye for fashion and want to be part of a crowd. Lu La Roe offers a limited selection of patterns in each style, which drives competition and encourages women to boast about their exclusive “Roe” wear, further driving sales.

Avoid oversaturated markets.

Competition is fierce so make sure you are targeting people that others have pushed to the sidelines. Many markets trend for a short amount of time, attract an abundance of service providers, and then expand exponentially, leaving these new businesses clamoring for their share of customers. While this might sound like a perfect opportunity, targeting your business to appeal to a very specific group of people that have unmet needs will help you build your reputation and establish a loyal customer base.

Define your serviceable demographic and remain focused.

Bigger isn’t always better. In order to find success in a niche market, you must know exactly who you’re selling to. For instance, if you sell custom mother/daughter jewelry, it is not enough to define your target customers simply as parents. However, when you start marketing to suburban housewives with pre-teen daughters and an income of $75,000 or more per year, you will likely find that your product moves much faster.

Write a marketing plan.

 

Hopefully by this point, you already have a business plan, but you also need to write a marketing plan. Keep the four Ps of marketing – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion – in mind as you draft this. They will guide your strategies and should align with your business plan. A marketing plan should take the following into consideration: goals, research, competitive analysis, buyer personas, strategy, tactics, and channels. It’s going to take some time and effort to craft a sound plan, but once you have a clear vision, the execution will come much easier.

Relentlessly stalk the competition. 

If you’re going to be successful, you have to know who you are up against. No matter how unique your business is, there will likely be others vying for the same customers’ dollars. Utilize social media and other online outlets to see what your competition is doing right and wrong. You can emulate and adapt their sales techniques to best serve your shared clientele.

Scrutinize your decisions.

Even after you’ve decided on a target market, you’ll need to do some self-reflection to determine if your company is really a good fit. Ask yourself things such as:

●     Are there enough people in my target audience?

●     Is my product useful?

●     Do I really know what drives my customer’s decision-making process?

●     Can my potential customers afford what I’m offering?

●     Are my customers accessible? Will my message resonate with them?

If you cannot answer these questions in a way that encourages you to push forward, you may need to reevaluate your decisions and change things up before investing in a product launch.

In summary, it takes work to define your target market. However, if your product or service is appealing, affordable, and focused, you can be successful. Keep in mind that most small business owners succumb to the pressures within the first year, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t turn an immediate profit. Don’t give up on your dreams and remember that you are a consumer, too, and probably not all that unique in your desires. If you see a need for your product, chances are, there are others with unmet needs ready to open up their hearts – and wallets – to you.

Guest blogger:  Jason Lewis jlewis@strongwell.org

Payments by Client and Service

If you dislike the word “report” as much as we do, read on…. At Artichoke, we don’t talk about reports, we talk about useful information presented in a simple way. It’s also a perfect transition into our latest product update, two new income blocks 🙂

Although you can easily view individual client payments inside their client profile, we’ve added two new blocks to the “Income” tab of your dashboard.

  •  One displays a list of your top 5 clients in order of payments received
  •  The other does the same for your top 5 services.

Either list can be expanded to show all items.

SO WHAT? Well, if 20% of your income is coming from one client, that’s a potential risk you should be aware of in the event that the client starts to fall off.  If 25% of your income is coming from one service or product, maybe there’s an opportunity to up-sell additional services or expand your offering to protect your revenue against changing consumer preferences.

Below are a few screen shots of the new income blocks.

How to get there…

Artichoke Dashboard

 

What to look for…

Artichoke Income Blocks

 

Artichoke Payments by Service

 

Interested in using the Artichoke all-in-one business platform to run your solo gig or small team?  Let us know. support@getartichoke.com

 

Refer a Friend + Earn Some $$

Help us spread the word about Artichoke and get rewarded!

When you refer a friend and they purchase an Artichoke subscription, you’ll get $50 cold hard cash.

Yes – it’s that easy. We’ll send you $50 via PayPal if your referral is still active 30 days after the subscription start date. All you need to do is sign up to join our Refer a Friend program here.

The more people that you refer, the more that you earn.

So, tell your friends, tell your family, tell your colleagues and help us get the word out about the best business management app for appointment based businesses!

Ready to get started? Sign up today!

Add-on Services

Add-on services are a powerful tool to create more revenue per client. Add-ons can increase client satisfaction and dramatically improve total income at the same time. What’s not to love?  The basic idea is simple.  You offer a base service and designate other services as add-ons for an up-charge.

The video below explains how to enable services as add-on services so that they can be added to other services in a single appointment.

If you choose to make them available online, your clients can self-select these add-on services and up-sell themselves.

Don’t wait to tap into this powerful new revenue boosting feature today.

How to set up add-on service in Artichoke

Interested in Artichoke?  Try it free today.

Embed Online Booking and Client Reviews in Your Existing Website

Although Artichoke offers an all-in-one solution which includes a website for clients to book online and share reviews, some of you already have a great looking website that’s just lacking these two critical features. So thanks to popular demand, we’ve launched the ability to add Artichoke online booking and client reviews to your existing site. Your site visitors will have a seamless experience reading reviews and booking appointments without leaving your site.

Best of all, it’s super easy to set up.

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STEP BY STEP

 

1) Make sure you have completed MY WEB PAGE set up, including step four.

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2) On step four of set up, expand the “Add to your existing website” section.

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3) Adjust the button color as needed.

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4) Copy the embed code for online booking and/or client reviews the the desired location on your website.

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That’s its. So easy.

If you need any help, don’t hesitate to contact us on support@getartichoke.com.

How to Make Tax Time Less Taxing (And Less Time-Consuming)

Oh boy. It’s that time of year again. Time to pull the shoe box full of receipts out of the closet and gather up the many different places you’ve stored your business revenue and expense information to get ready for tax preparation. For most, this is a dreaded distraction from the flow of revenue producing tasks in exchange for a mind-numbing pile of admin. Since your time is money, we decided to put together a few tips on how to make your next tax year much smoother.

  1. Don’t overestimate the challenge. Tax time should require no more than a summary of your income and expenses. If you’re keeping them up to date each week, manually or otherwise, then tax time should be nothing more than transitioning the summary of your revenue and expenses to CPA or into your own return if you’re self-preparing. Check out these IRS guideliness for the form you’ll need to complete.
  2. Track your expenses in categories that match those on your tax return. It’s tempting to create 200 different expense categories but it’s only going to make your life difficult when you need to compress them back into the categories offered on Part 2 of Schedule C for your tax return. Use the same expense categories on the tax form all year and you’ll eliminate the headache of trying to consolidate your categories later. See the categories now on Part 2 of this form.
  3. Use fewer tools to run your business. Less truely is more when it comes to running a solo business. Try to consolidate your daily business operation, purchase transactions, and expense tracking into one place so that you’ll only need to manage a single source of data. For many, this means ditching the three ring binder with clients notes, the mobile payment swiper, and the clunky accounting software, in exchange for a single solution that captures everything in one place. Yes, we are seriously biased in this category but even if you’re going to go with pen and paper, at least keep everything in one place. If the IRS decides to flag you for an audit (ugh), would you rather pull out 10 years of shoe boxes, apps, and handwritten notes or fire up your business platform and answer all the questions quickly?
  4. Use automation. Sound complicated? Well, it’s not. Today, so many tools online offer automation that converts previous manually tasks into automated tasks. Do you have a client on a regular schedule, automate the collection and recordation of the revenue. The same is true for expenses. If you’re business tools don’t offer these features, it’s time to shop around. Automation converts admin time to billable hours which means more income for you. Some business platforms even send a year end tax summary without asking you to lift a finger. Wink wink. Interested now?

Let’s face it, tax time is taxing for all of us but it doesn’t need to consume billable hours. Commit to streamlining your business management tools, thinking ahead about the simple info required for your annual return, and keeping records up to date and watch the stress melt away.

Try Artichoke for free!

Automate Client Discounts

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Sometimes offering discounts can serve as a good incentive to promote referrals, repeat business, and add-on sales. However, as soon as you’ve got a few different deals floating around, it gets tougher and tougher to keep track of them all. Military, fire police, students, and loyalty are just a few examples on discounts that you may want to keep track of today.

Artichoke now has a feature which allows subscribers to create custom discounts and assign them to specific clients so that they are automatically added to the shopping cart at check out. Each time you create a discount, it will appear as an option in the discount list for future clients making it quick and easy to select.

To create a custom discount, just follow these steps:

CLIENTS / Select Client / Edit / Scroll to “Discount” / “Add New Discount”

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Need help? Let us know and we’re on it. support@getartichoke.com

Artichoke Connects

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Artichoke can now be connected with over 750 apps, making your business an unstoppable force with clients and prospects. Although Artichoke is an all-in-one platform and many will not need to work with any outside apps, some clients have popular apps which they would like to connect with Artichoke for email marketing, accounting, intake forms…..etc.

For some of the most popular intergations, we’ve created shortcuts directly on your Settings / Integrations page.  All of the instructions are shown on this page.

 

One of the coolest new capabilities is the automation of online in-take forms.

– Create an intake form using Google Forms

– Automatically send a link to this form when a new client is scheduled

– Form responses are autiomatically added to the client’s notes and profile

Can you imagine taking all of that admin off your plate before a new client appointment?

Another popular integration is with Google Calendar which gives users the abiity to view all work and personal calendars in one place. You’ll still need to manage your appointments inside Artichoke, but now you can keep track of everthing in GCal too.

To get started, go to SETTINGS / INTEGRATIONS.

Learn more about Zapier, our integration partner.

Feel free to contact us if you need any help. support@getartichoke.com

NEW! Recurring Classes, Courses, and Events

Do you offer regularly scheduled events to your clients?

That might mean…

  • Regular group sessions or classes
  • Recurring office hours
  • Daily, weekly or monthly meetups or programs

If so, then we’re excited to announce a new feature that we think you’re going to love.

It’s now possible to schedule recurring programs in Artichoke such as classes, courses, or regularly scheduled events which your clients can book online.

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You just set the times and maximum group size, and your clients will be able to book (until the maximum number of spots has been reached).

This is the easiest way to book scheduled group appointments online.

Once you spend 10 minutes setting up for booking page, you can start adding scheduled classes, programs, and other events.

When clients select the program from your list of services, Artichoke automatically generates a list of the next few dates which have spots available.

That means no more clicking around different dates to find an open spot or going back and forth with phone calls, emails, and text messages to get everything coordinated for multiple clients in every session. This feature is going to save you time and help you get your life back!

 

Here’s how it works:

  1. First you need to make sure you have published “MY WEB PAGE.”
  2. Make sure the service you want to schedule is in your services list with “Book Online” enabled and “max participants” set as needed.
  3. Go to Appointments
    • Add “Schedule”
    • Complete form
    • Save
  4. That’s it. Clients can now book your scheduled events online so you can breathe.

This big step in making your life easier couldn’t have been possible without you.

We’re always listening to our customers’ amazing feedback, which is exactly how this feature was born.

A huge thanks to the Artichoke community for your continued support, feedback, and business!

Watch a tutorial video which explains this in more detail: