We have discussed at length about how to reach your target audience, but if we take a step back, it is even more important to decide who that target audience is. You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 CEO to look at people and notice that everyone is different. And with all of the discussion of millennials, generation gaps, gender gaps, etc. (ad nauseum), the information grid slaps it into your face on a daily basis.
Just because you have this information doesn’t mean it is easy to decide who you are targeting. A lot of entrepreneurs get caught in the trap of “marketing to everyone” because they feel that their product or service is of benefit to everyone. Here is where as a business owner, you need to sit down and work out the facts rather than implement a blanket strategy that will likely deplete your marketing budget pretty quickly. Before you know it, you have surpassed your budget and you really have no return on your investment to show for it. To establish a presence in the market, you need to determine who is a part of your niche market, your target audience, so you can effectively compete with the big guys in your industry.
Targeting your audience also means targeting your budget. So rather than hit up many channels for the sake of “getting your name out there” you select the core channels where your efforts will have a greater effect because the audience will care about what you have to say!
Here are some tips to help you determine who your target audience is:
- Determine what makes you stand out and then decide who will be most interested in that. You should already have looked at your differentiators when creating your business plan, so you are halfway there! If you can determine what makes you different than your competitors, you may be able to find a niche market that they have missed.
- How have your competitors segmented the market in general? A little research goes a long way! Once you determine who the major groups are in the market, decide which one best suits your product/service offering and then take this general group and break it down further to determine your niche.
- Determine your product/service benefits. What is good about what you do, and why is it good? For example, a marketing firm specializes in high quality content marketing services. The resulting benefit is a strong brand message and personality which will attract more customers because they feel they know the brand. Now determine who has a need that this benefit fulfills.
- Your basic audience profile should start with demographic information such as age, gender, geographic location, ethnicity, marital status, and income. For example, if your product is a premium, expensive service, you will likely target consumers who are in a higher income bracket.
- Next think about how your target audience would act – psychographics. Their hobbies, values, behaviours, lifestyle, and other aspects will not only help you to break the market into groups, but it will also help to determine how you should reach out to them in your marketing efforts.
If you are already operating, but you are finding that you aren’t getting the results you think you should be getting, take a look at your products/services and find out which ones your audience responds to most. Or perhaps it is as simple as talking to an existing customer to find out what they like most about your product/service. That will point you in the right direction to evolve your current audience profile.
If you can answer the following questions confidently and with a solid base of potential customers, then you are ready to go!
- Is my target market large enough for me to grow and hit my targets? (Remember you can target more than one niche market!)
- Does my product/service fulfill a need for my target audience?
- Have I taken the time to get to know my target audience and what drives them?
You are well on your way and the next step is to determine how to reach the audience you have selected! If you have gone through the steps in depth, then you should be able to easily determine which channels to use to reach your audience.
Once you have set goals for yourself and achieved certain milestones, then it is time to look at expanding your audience, and you can go through the process again.