In a previous post, I talked about the importance of defining your target market and the ways you will save a ton of time and money by doing so. Now I want to show you how to define that target demographic so that you can start generating those warm leads and referrals.
1. Observe who currently uses what you offer
Perhaps this may be obvious to some, but I understand that it’s easy to get caught up in the nitty-gritty of our business that we fail to consider some of the basics. Ask yourself who it is that currently uses this kind of product or service.
Let’s say you offer a new health food product. It’s easy to think, “Well, everybody needs this product.” That may very well be true, but that doesn’t mean everybody would be likely to buy a product like yours. So focus on the people who currently buy similar products.
Trust me, you’ll waste a lot of time and money trying to reach everybody. Determining your target demographic doesn’t mean you can’t sell to someone outside of that demographic—it just means you don’t waste your resources trying to market to them.
2. Research your competition
If it’s not obvious what kind of people use what you offer, it may be helpful to research your competitor to see who typically buys from them.
Every business has competition. Even if no other company offers what you offer, that doesn’t mean you don’t have competition. Your competitor is the one who solves the same problem that you solve, only in a different way. Most likely, you are both after the same demographic of customers.
3. Look at your current client base
Now if you’re just starting out in your business, this tip may not be as useful to you since you have no customers yet; but if you’ve been in business long enough to have several clients, this is the easiest way to discover your target market.
If you don’t have this data available to you, or if you can’t pinpoint any consistent traits between your clients, send out a survey to them (maybe offer them a free gift card if they fill it out) and ask various questions about their demographic and interests. This data will be invaluable to you!
After you do the research, perhaps you notice that a lot of your clients are mid-life-crisis dads. Or maybe they are professionals in the real estate industry. Or maybe teenage girls. Whatever it is, you need to narrow it down as specifically as you can.
There is probably a good reason why these particular people have been buying from you rather than your competitor. Maybe your product has a certain feature that appeals to a certain demographic.
Or, if you provide a service, oftentimes you are the product. What is it about you, your background, or the way you do things that cause your clients to be attracted to you? This info will tell you a lot!
4. Consider your ideal client
Unfortunately, you don’t get a ton of say about who your target market is, but here’s an area where you do:
Within the demographic of the type of people who buy from, you can choose to focus on reaching just a small portion of that group.
Why would a company want to do this? Well, selling at high volume is not always best for every brand. Sometimes it’s better to sell to a smaller group of quality customers rather than to everybody.
Take Rolex for example. Their target market is not the “average Joe”, even though the average Joe probably would buy a watch. Rolex has built a brand centered around status and elitism. Fewer people will buy a Rolex because they are a high-ticket item, but those few customers who are willing to pay the big bucks allow Rolex to produce lower quantities of their product and maintain a high level of quality. Rolex was able to do this by focusing on their ideal client.
This principle is especially important for service-based businesses like mine. If I try to work with anybody and everybody who needs a website designed for their business, I’m going to lose steam fast. I’ve learned that I don’t want to work with everybody, and you shouldn’t either. Low paying clients will cost you your time in exchange for a small return, and difficult clients will cost you your joy and motivation to keep going.
So within your target market, you need to decide who you actually want to work with. Think through the factors that set these ideal clients apart from the not-so-ideal ones.
5. Create a customer avatar
After you’ve gone through these first four steps, it’s important that you create a profile or “avatar” for your target demographic. Get a pen and paper, and write down their:
- Income Level
- Marital Status
You should think through each one of these factors, however, you may find that not all of them are relevant to your product or service. That’s ok. Even if you choose just 4 of these characteristics to describe your avatar, you’re on the right track.
I would recommend that, if you serve both men and women, you get even more specific by creating a separate profile for each. If you are a B2B, write out this profile for the business owner or decision maker within the company.
I know some people who’ve even given their customer avatar a name and found a photo to represent them. Having a visual like this can really help solidify it in your brain.
So that’s it! Don’t skip this crucial step. From this point, you are empowered to find where your target demographic is, and go after them!
In the comments below, let us know what you came up with for your target market!