Choosing a specialty, or “niche,” in your area of expertise is perhaps one of the most important decisions you will need to make as it will drive many of your other business decisions.

I often see virtual assistants who are struggling because either they’ve chosen a target market that isn’t as specific as it needs to be, or they’ve chosen a target market based on what they think is the most logical and most lucrative choice, rather than one they feel passionate about serving.

Trust me – if your target market isn’t specific enough or the right one for you, the rest of your marketing won’t be as effective.

Why is choosing a target market and niche market so important? This is the question I hear the most. (It isn’t, sadly, “How did you get to be so flippin’ gorgeous?” That’s second.)

First, the prospective clients in your target market all share the same problems, use the same types of programs, and provide the same types of products or services to their clients. This means you can streamline your marketing message to speak directly to them. Once you get clear with that message, things will fall into place a lot quicker. You will know exactly who your market is, what they need, and how you can help them.

For example, on my first attempt at a website, I listed all of the administrative services I could provide, including word processing, desktop publishing, data entry, and scanning. If a real estate professional happened to visit my site, he or she wouldn’t have seen anything related to what they needed help with. Likely, they moved right on to the next website and I never even knew they’d been there.

Unless you speak directly to your target market, you are not going to accurately communicate what you can offer. And by that I mean, if you provide administrative services to real estate professionals, instead of just listing your services, try listing the specific solutions you can provide. Instead of listing “data entry” as a service, instead put “MLS data entry.” And instead of, “desktop publishing,” you could say “create brochures and listing packets for homes that are for sale.”

Just by changing your offerings to reflect your target market, you will catch the attention of your prospective client. Also, by adding specific words about the types of solutions you provide, you will get traffic to your website from those using search engines to find information about those key words or key phrases.

Second, virtually every target market already has some kind of network of communication established. For your marketing to work, your clients need to spread your messages for you. If they already have a network of communication set up, they can talk to each other about you and your marketing messages can travel that much faster. What are networks of communication? Associations, social networking sites, clubs, various publications, word-of-mouth, events, and more.

Third, choosing a target market lets the people in that target market know that you’ve dedicated your time, practice, and learning to them.

Before you can sell to your target market, you must first know and understand who they are. Don’t make the mistake of trying to reach everyone. In other words, hone in on who is most likely to use your products/services and benefit from them.

Find out more about how to market your virtual assistant business to get clarity, get a plan, and get clients at

Lisa Wells