I’m frequently asked some variation of the following question:
“Can I sell my services under two market positions/brands?”
Sure, you can do that. But… it comes at a cost! Let’s look at this issue a bit more closely.
I don’t know who to credit for this image, which popped up recently in my Twitter feed, but it is a great visual depiction of the issue at hand.
I have come across very few solo freelancers/consultants who have enough time to do more than market their one business/brand/position, deliver services to clients, and live the rest of their life. In other words, marketing your services in a way that increases demand and supports premium rates and then delivering those services is basically a full time job.
If you have a person or team you’ve hired to do your marketing, then this bandwidth limitation may not apply.
So the first reason why it’s probably a bad idea to try to occupy two market positions or maintain two brands for your business is that it’s enough work to maintain one, and you probably won’t do a good job of maintaining two.
The second consideration is whether your clients will be confused by your effort to focus on two different markets.
Of course, it depends on how well you manage the distinction between the two, but in my experience it’s also difficult for a solo business owner to pull this off well.
Even if you have a team working for you, I’d bet money that you’re the face of your business. You lead up sales, marketing, and customer service.
Can you do that for two separate lines of business?
Maybe. I know I couldn’t, but maybe you’re younger, more full of vinegar, or willing to work more hours than I am. 🙂
A big reason why I get this question is because of what can be a difficult, awkward transition from one market position to another.
Most people don’t really want to occupy two market positions, they just want to move gracefully from where they are now to a better market position.
That’s a situation where you may need to temporarily maintain two web presences, or figure out a way to gradually shift the focus of your marketing to the new position without alienating current clients, etc.
In general, I recommend the following process:
- Change all the headline level content around your position to reflect your new focus.
- Update any active marketing campaigns to reflect the new focus.
- Over time, update-in-place everything else.
There are lots of times you’ll want to use a variation of this process. Maybe you’re testing a new market position. In that case, the best approach usually involves setting up a “micro-service” (an easy to sell standardized service), a landing page or two, and doing some high bootstrap coefficient lead gen activities (more on that at trustvelocity.com) to test the idea.
If you’d like help moving from a generalist position to a much better one, my book is the only one specifically designed to help freelancers and small shops with the process: http://thepositioningmanual.com
Talk to you soon,