I cannot tell you how many times I've heard a business owner say "I don't have a target market...my product/service can be used by anyone." Now, while it may be true that "anyone" can use your product or service, it is still imperative that you know who your primary, and ideal, client is. These are the people that are searching for exactly what it is that you have to offer, and quite frankly, the people that you'll actually want to work with!
One thing that you must realize as a business owner is that everyone is not meant to be your client. As a small business owner, you'll want to fill your calendar up with, or make sales to, those who will actually benefit from your offerings most. I'll assume that you started your business because you enjoy what you do. Working with the wrong clients, and/or not being able to find the right clients, is one way to quickly change those feelings.
Below, I have compiled 3 of the top questions you'll need to answer to help you find your target market:
Who is your ideal client?
This is the time to get very specific about the type of client that you envision yourself working with. You should have their description down to a tee - What do they look like? How much income do they make? What kind of car do they drive? What is their education level? Where do they live? The more specific the questions you can answer about your ideal client, the better. This helps you weed out those who would not be the right fit for your business, and attract those that you can better serve.
Where does your ideal client hang out?
Knowing where your target market typically hangs out, whether online or offline, is very important because this will determine where to focus your marketing efforts and advertising dollars. If you know that your ideal client reads certain blogs or magazines, you'll want to make sure you are advertising there. If they frequent certain local hangout spots or shop in certain stores, you'll need to find a way to get your marketing materials in those places. The goal is to get yourself in front of your target market as often as possible. The general rule of thumb is that it takes a client at least 5 points of contact before they make the decision to buy from or work with you, so make sure that you are positioning yourself to be seen in multiple places. Just having a website is not going to cut it.
What problem does your product/service help your client solve?
When developing your products/services, it is best to start from the point of figuring out what problem will it help solve. In what ways will your product/service help your client? Will this make things easier for your customer? Will it save time? Will it save money? Is this something that they cannot get anywhere else? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you shape your USP, or unique selling position. Your USP can be crafted and used in your marketing materials to explain to your potential client why they absolutely NEED what it is that you have to offer.
One thing that you must remember when it comes to marketing a business is that it is not about you. Take yourself out of the equation and figure out your clients wants and needs, then come up with a plan to show how you can help solve whatever problem they may be facing. An effective marketing campaign absolutely must start with determining your target market. Otherwise, you'll be forever spinning your wheels searching for "just anyone" to buy what you're selling and will waste a lot of time and money in the process.
Leave your thoughts below! Have you determined your target market? How has knowing who your ideal client is made marketing your business more effective? What companies/brands do you know that do a great job at marketing to a very well-defined niche?
To your prosperity and success,
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