Whatever business you offer – coaching, writing, accounting… defining your target audience is the ultimate goal and it does not mean you are limiting yourself; it means you are choosing where to spend your money and time to reach those groups or a certain group on a deeper level. Keep in mind these important factors when identifying your target market:
Develop relationships with potential customers.
Attend live networking events and learn about the people there, follow-up with them after the events, ask them for coffee, chat, and you’ll find out if they are a fit for you or maybe they’ll know someone who needs your service. It takes time, but if you don’t go out there and meet people you’ll never build any type of relationship to find out… If you have a virtual business, interact with people online via social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc. Interact conversationally with people, find out what they do, what they like, who they are; it is not always about selling. Build the relationships; in the long run trust wins out.
What problems do you solve and how do you stand out from other services?
What pain point do you solve for clients? Are you a fitness trainer who helps someone live a healthier lifestyle? Are you a bookkeeper who assists people with the day-to-day accounting issues with their business? As a content writer, do you help improve business’ messages so potential clients understand what services they offer, products they sell, etc.?
If you are a fitness trainer, why would someone choose you over another trainer? Do you make it fun instead of dreadful to workout? Do people smile when they walk into the gym and see you, or are you the type of trainer when your client sees you their muscles tense if they can’t keep up and they feel like a loser? What type of trainer are you? Different people need different types of trainers, but which type of person do you want to target? As a bookkeeper, do you want to work with small or large businesses? Do you work with one system only, i.e. QuickBooks or are you open to others?
Whatever service you offer or problem you solve, be clear and dig deep to figure out what it is you excel at and how you want to work with clients when they contact you and make sure it’s a fit on both sides, but when you know what problems you solve and who your ideal client is, your marketing efforts are much easier.
Determine where to find your audience.
You’ve decided who you want to serve and have compiled your client profile, so now where do you find them? What websites do they frequent, what social media platforms are they using, are there certain apps they prefer to play with? Research, research.
Speaking of research… Market research is critical.
If you don’t know what your potential clients want or need, no amount of advertising will prompt them to buy from you. There are several types of market research to find out what they’re looking for from you:
- Demographics: age, gender, income, education, mobility, environment, and technical savvy are types of demographics and their goal in research is to better understand your audience. Demographics can potentially reveal who your customers are or aren’t and this type of research should be conducted .
- Publications: many publications track industry trends, sales information, and believe it or not, a lot of consumer information is gathered from people browsing the internet!
- Surveys or polls: conduct informal surveys or polls to people you have identified as your target audience and ask what service you can give that other companies aren’t, how can you make a difference from how they worked with other companies, what you can do better…
“Niche” isn’t a four-letter word.
Obviously, it’s a five-letter word, but you know what I’m saying. When you target market, in a way, deciding to niche, it’s not all bad. “Inc.” magazine wrote an article, In Praise of Niche Marketing, and states that niche marketing can be very attractive and self-limiting; however, today entrepreneurial companies realize the importance of making the person happy and as Amazon has filled the void of many small niches to satisfy individuals and having many small successes leads to much success over time!
Finding your target market takes time, doesn’t happen once and you’re finished, and is challenging, but the work is worth it in the long run and so is the success of your business. Don’t waste your time working on products or programs to sell if there isn’t a market to purchase them.
What type of target marketing do you use for your business? Do you enjoy it or find it a challenge? Pete and I look forward to hearing from you.
Until next time,