If your answer is “anyone willing to buy my products or services,” you’ve got a problem.
Simply put, everyone is different. That means that while some people will see your product or service and be instantly blown away by what you do – other people won’t give you a second glance.
Attempting to appeal to everyone at once means that you give the same amount of effort, attention, and budget to the people who don’t care about your brand, as the people who do. That’s not the best way to make a profit.
If you gather up all that money and marketing potential you’ve been wasting on people that are never going to invest in your business and funnel it into nurturing and engaging the leads that count, guess what you get?
That’s right, a successful business.
Today, we’re going to look at why not knowing your target market is one of the biggest mistakes a start-up can make, and how you can track down your ideal customer.
Why You Need a Clear Target Audience
The number one reason you need a target audience for your brand is this: context.
It’s the difference between selling a product to a friend you’ve known for 20 years and selling it to someone you just met five minutes ago.
To successfully sell something to a customer, you need to understand what they need, their pain points, what they like and dislike, and more. Look at it this way:
• Marketers see an increase of 20% in sales when delivering personalized experiences
• Personalized messages drive 6 times higher transaction rates
• 78% of US consumers say that personally, relevant content increases their purchase intent.
How are you going to deliver those customized experiences, if you don’t know who you’re speaking to? A strong idea of your target audience means that you can:
• Design product descriptions and marketing campaigns that speak directly to the type of customer that’s most likely to purchase your products.
• Create messages that have an emotional impact based on what you know about your customer’s pain points and individual needs.
• Manage expectations by delivering the promises that your customers want and recognizing how you compare to your competitors.
• Target your marketing campaigns by rolling promotions out on the right channels, through the most effective social media profiles and more.
How to Define your Target Market
Understanding your audience leads to be more effective marketing campaigns, stronger sales opportunities, and a better-defined brand.
The question is, how do you go about building the personas that will guide your company in the years to come?
A target audience can be as complicated or simple as you want it to be – depending on your individual needs. However, if you’re just trying to get a basic idea of the people that you most want to sell to, here’s how you can start:
Step 1: Know your Service or Product
First, you need to understand what you have to offer as a brand. That doesn’t just mean knowing the features of the products or services that you sell – but the specific benefits that they can provide to your customers. For instance, people don’t go shopping for plunger; they shop for something that’s going to unblock their sink.
What can your business do for other people?
Get a notepad and pen and write down exactly what you have to offer your customers. What problems are you going to solve for them, and which challenges will you address? When it comes to answering this question, make sure you’re honest about what you can and can’t do. You don’t want to target a customer based on false promises.
Step 2: Know your Competitors
Another essential part of finding the right target market. Assessing your competitors.
Looking at the other companies in the industry that are similar to you will help you to determine who isn’t currently being served by the existing options out there. This gives you a fantastic opportunity to reach out to smaller niches of people who desperately need a solution to their problems.
Assessing the competition will also make it easier for you to figure out if there’s enough room for you to compete in your chosen space. If you’re building a company in an area that’s already saturated with other businesses, you may need to find something else to make your organization stand out.
Step 3: Design your User Persona Template
Next, start to build a basic profile of what your ideal customer might look like.
Keep in mind that if you sell multiple products or services, you may end up with more than one user persona. Here are some of the actionable and insightful data you can include in your personas:
• Location: Where can you sell your products or services?
• Age: Are you looking for young customers? Older people? Mid-range/
• Gender: Does this matter to your product/service?
• Education level or income level
• Interests and hobbies
• Job title (usually important for b2b brands)
• Language and tone of voice (how do they communicate)
• Buying motivations: Why would they buy your product?
• Buying concerns: Why would they avoid your product?
The more comprehensive your personas are, the easier it will be to use them in the future. Some companies even find that it’s useful to give their profiles names so that they can more easily step into the shoes of their target customers.
Step 4: Keep Learning and Adapting
Finally, remember that as your startup continues to grow, your user personas are likely to evolve and transform. Through marketing campaigns, website analytics, interviews with consumers and more, you’ll learn about who your ideal buyers are, and what kind of people respond best to your products.
Don’t make the mistake of sticking blindly to the same personas through the years. Instead, make time every year or so to go back and challenge what you think you know about your target audience. Ask yourself:
• Has your position in the market changed?
• Do your customers have any new concerns or pain points?
• Are there benefits you can offer that you didn’t think of before?
• Are the new market segments that might appeal to you?
• Are certain user personas starting to evolve?
Interviews, social media surveys, and even purchasing data will all contribute to a more immersive set of target market guidelines over time.
Make Sure you Know your Audience
When you first start a business, trying to sell to “everyone” can seem like a great idea.
Business leaders assume that by not choosing a target market, they’re actively avoiding the restrictions that come with having a specific audience.
However, the truth is that a target audience gives you the guidelines you need to make sure that you’re selling your products and services to the right people. This means fewer wasted marketing dollars, better long-term results, and a stronger brand reputation.
Don’t just focus on attracting any customer – make sure you’re getting the right ones.