By Annie Temple
The first step in marketing your adult entertainment business is to find your niche. Your niche is all about you and the kind of client you want to attract. This is the “Research” phase of your marketing campaign. You may have heard of a SWOT analysis before. It is an acronym that stands for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats.” Here are some questions to ask yourself as you explore your SWOT analysis. I’ve included some suggestions for each question to get your imagination turning. You may identify other questions that I have not listed here.
• What are you experienced at that would be of value in your business? (body building, lap dancing, hair and makeup skills, sex, etc)
• What kind of training or instruction have you received that would be of value in your business? (tantric massage, energy work, blow job lessons, etc)
• What are your natural strengths? (physical features, personality, digital skills, etc)
• What do you bring to the table right now at this moment? (incall space, costumes, internet following, etc)
• Do you have gender, age, or sexual orientation preferences? (Ex/ I only see hetero men because I don’t feel confident to meet the needs of people of other sexual orientations)
• Do you have physical, mental, or emotional limitations to consider? (Ex/too tired to work at night, can only handle maximum 2-hour bookings, can’t deal with people who aren’t sober, high maintenance clients are exhausting, going through medical treatments, have days and weeks when you are unable to work, etc)
• What are your service provision limitations? (For instance, Where do you provide your services? Do you have to bus to see outcall clients? Is your incall space decent for the price you want to charge? Can you accept clients in wheelchairs? Etc)
• Do you have personal obligations that limit you? (school, children, a jealous partner, ailing parents, etc)
• What could you bring to the table with a little investment? (nicer furniture, better workspace, training, etc)
• What is the competition like in your area (location and type of work)? Is there a gap you can fill?
• What’s happening in the world that might increase demand for your services? How can you use it to your advantage?
• Who do you know that could help you with your marketing goals? (this will become clearer when you create and build your brand)
• What have your learned about your work that can help you further define your niche? (I explain this in more detail in my example later)
• Do you have neighbours, a landlord, or other people who might have the power to impact your business negatively?
• Are laws starting to impact how you advertise or earn your income?
• Does your type of work expose you to health threats such as sexually transmitted infections or other health risks? Do you feel confident to mitigate these risks or resolved to take these risks as part of your business?
• Are your workplaces shutting down because of events out of your control? Do you need to look at other ways to earn an income?
The strengths, weaknesses (limitations), opportunities, and threats you identify will help you to determine the kinds of clients you will target. Those clients will be your niche market. To demonstrate how this works, I will share some of my own personal considerations:
• I was an exotic dancer for years, so I can dance for my massage clients if they request it or if I’m in a silly mood.
• I am cis gender female, so I am most comfortable with hetero male clients.
• I have health challenges that make certain times of day better for me to work than others. So, I set my hours during the day and only rarely work in the evenings, but never late at night.
• I also prefer working out of my own space so I can be alone to rest and regenerate between bookings. This means I am footing the bill myself.
• My work-space is an apartment in an older building with no elevator. That means, no dudes in wheelchairs and no rich guys who will expect to find me in a pristine high-rise with brand name furniture.
• Because my health is fragile, I want my work to be as stress-free as possible. I don’t want clients who haggle or push boundaries. I want them to be sober and respectful. This further narrows my niche target market.
• I have children. That means I don’t travel. I don’t do overnights. And some days, I don’t work because my kids have appointments or other activities.
• In the process of screening clients, trying different services or appointment lengths, etc.; I’ve learned what kinds of qualities to watch out for. For instance, guys who ask for half hour appointments are usually more likely to haggle and push boundaries. They are high maintenance, draining individuals. So, I stopped offering half hour appointments.
• I’ve also learned to ignore people who obviously didn’t read my ad. I want clients who are respectful and thoughtful about who they hire.
• Because my incall space is in a small building with people who’ve lived there for years, I prefer clients who are not overly loud and who won’t draw attention to my business.
Using my SWOT analysis, I was able to narrow down my perfect client and determined that my niche target market looks like this:
My ideal clients are moderately well-off, heterosexual men who are mature (in their behaviour, if not age). They are owners and managers, so they have the flexibility to get a massage during the day. They are less likely to show up drunk or high because they are busy, important men. They don’t spend money frivolously. My service is part of their self-care. I want to be priced so that I’m not too expensive for the average guy but reasonably priced for guys living comfortably at the higher end of the middle class.
Use your SWOT analysis to narrow down your perfect client like I did above. This is your niche target market.
IMPORTANT: Get Inside Their Heads
Once you’ve identified your niche market, it’s time to get into their heads. A lot of people miss this step. They determine their target market but they don’t get inside their heads. This step is very important because it will determine how you will connect with your niche target market and how you will behave when you connect. (The “how” of connecting will be covered in detail in the “Build Your Brand” section of this series.)
Getting inside your niche market’s heads is as simple as closing your eyes and imagining you are one of your ideal clients. What are their values and desires? What are they seeking in the kind of service I offer? What would make them want to come back over and over again? What makes them happy? What makes them feel good … proud … content?
Here is an example based on my niche market to show you what I mean. Recalling that I described my niche market as …
“moderately well-off, heterosexual men who are mature (in their behaviour, if not age). They are owners and managers, so they have the flexibility to get a massage during the day. They are less likely to show up drunk or high because they are busy, important men. They don’t spend money frivolously. My service is part of their self-care. I want to be priced so that I’m not too expensive for the average guy but reasonably priced for guys living comfortably at the higher end of the middle class.”
… I reasoned that my niche market seeks out sensual providers as they would any other professional. Therefore, they value and desire:
• A provider they can trust who is polished, professional, discreet, and enjoys her work.
• A clean, smoke-free space with showering facilities;
• The feeling that this is a glamorous, pampering gift to themselves.
To ask questions of potential clients and get inside their heads even more, I posted surveys on my website and directed people in my ads to take my survey. People love surveys! Through my research, I learned that the biggest reason guys (who answer surveys) seek out sensual massage services is to experience intimacy. I also learned that the actual body massage is important to them.
Try to think like your niche market and ask yourself, if I was a client in this niche, what would matter most to me? Reach out and ask potential clients what they value and desire when seeking out your services. This information is important for setting goals and creating a business model that fits your niche.
Niche Market Goals
Once you’ve determined your niche market, keep your eye on the ball. Determine your goals. Like getting inside their heads, this may not seem like an important step. However, if you do not set goals, you will not be able to later evaluate and assess your marketing efforts.
Here is an example of what my niche market goals are. You may have some similar goals. You may have other goals too. My niche market goals are:
• Nurture my favourite clients with the goal to create lasting regulars;
• Generate enough bookings with regulars that I don’t have to take new clients or clients I don’t absolutely adore;
• Generate enough return clients who keep my number in their phone so that I don’t have to advertise very often and I’m still getting consistent work;
• Book 20 massage sessions per month;
• Attract and increase subscribers to my blog by 3-5 subscribers per month;
• Create a brand that attracts my niche market and leverage my brand through my website, social media, and in one-on-one interactions.
• Spend a little time every day on Facebook and Twitter from Monday to Friday.
• Write and send out (through email marketing) one blog post per week.
Write your goals down and keep them in mind throughout your marketing plan and implementation. Your goals may change as you go through the following steps. However, keep them in the forefront at all times.
Now, you are ready to Create Your Brand! (Create Your Brand is the next section in this series.)