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Who Is Your Target Market?

By Michael Nelson

One of the bigger mistakes I see businesses making with their marketing is not clearly identifying their target market. When asked, “Who is your target market?” they will typically respond with some version of “anyone”.

“Anyone” is not a target market. 

You cannot feasibly market to “anyone” or “everyone” –  the cost alone would be astronomical. “Anyone” and “everyone” spend their time and attention in different places. This means you would have to spend time, money, or resources to be on facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Radio, Television, Billboards, Newspapers, the list goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong, there are businesses that do all of these things – and you have heard of them. Coke, Pepsi, Target, Walmart, I am sure those names ring a bell. So if you have a similar marketing budget as they do then disregard this totally. If you do not have their budget please keep reading. 

If “everyone” wanted and was able to buy your stuff you would not need marketing. We know this is not the case and we can immediately narrow down the field with two qualification criteria: Want and Able. Isn’t that really our job when it comes to defining our Target Market? To identify reasons people might want to buy our products and services? Isn’t this just another way to qualify prospects? We have fancy tricks for this that I will outline below. Every business owner I know says that they want to talk to people that are qualified buyers, not tire kickers, and not those that are not in the position to actually buy. So start the qualification process with your marketing by clearly identifying your target market.

Use your sales qualifiers to identify your target market. As we said, your potential buyer needs to want your product/service and be able to buy it. What other criteria do you use to qualify?

As an example, Five Towers defines their target market with the following criteria: 

  • Our clients are in the Capital Region and New England.
  • Our clients can invest between $1k and $5k in their marketing programs.
  • Our clients have capacity and can take on more clients and customers. 
  • Our clients believe in marketing and what it can do for them.
  • They have a positive outlook on marketing.
  • They want to have fun creating content.
  • They are receptive to changing what they have done previously.
  • They are willing to communicate with our team. 

Now while some of those are negotiable, some are not. We use these to help determine if a client is a good fit for us or if it is going to lead down a road we do not want to go down. I am sorry to say we have not always done this. There have been more occasions than I like to admit where we had to cut ties with a client. Because of those occasions, we now spend more time qualifying so we can say yes to the right business and no to the wrong business. 

So write down 7-10 criteria that when met would help identify the perfect client. If you are stuck here, think about your favorite clients and right down the reasons they are your favorites. These very well could be qualifying criteria. 

Another useful method for determining your target market is to identify the Demographics, Geographics, and Psychographics of the people you want to work with.

  • DemographicAge, race, ethnicity, gender, marital status, income, education, and employment are easy examples. You might also consider things like lifestyle, interests, hobbies, and other identifiers that will help you define who your target is and where they spend time and attention. 
  • Geographic – Where they are physically located.
  • Psychographic – Possibly a less recognizable term. Psychographics are the psychological reasons why a prospect would buy your product or service. These are typically emotionally based reasons and manifest in words like frustrated, upset, concerned. The folks over at Sandler training have a great acronym, FUDWACA. Frustrated, Upset, Disappointed, Worried, Angry, Concerned, Anxious. 

So what do we do with all of that? The 7-10 qualifying criteria and the Demo, Geo, and Psychographic info? We can use this to create a buyer profile. This buyer profile tells us everything we need to know to figure out what our messaging should sound like, where to place ads, which social media channels to spend time on, and so much more. Every ad or post you make should be based on what your buyer profile tells you will work. It will work because they will identify with the imagery chosen, and the text used, and where it was placed. They will identify with it because…. it is specifically for them! They are your target market!

One last thing.

I know many of you are reading this and saying (or thinking) that being too specific with your marketing will cause you to miss out on opportunities that fall outside of your target market. This is not the case and I typically explain it like this: If you are playing darts and aiming at the bullseye you will inevitably miss and hit the areas around the bullseye. The same is true for marketing. Aim for your target market always, knowing that others will see the ad, video or read the blog. Even though it was not built specifically for them they will still identify with some of it enough to take action. If they do not identify with any of it then they just are not qualified to begin with, and you do not want to spend what little time you have with the wrong people.

And of course, give us a call if this sounds like something YOU identify with.
We can help.

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