I’m sure clients, colleagues, and you, Dear Reader, are sick of hearing me harp on how critical it is for companies to really understand their target market.
Call me a broken record. I don’t mind.
Before I take on a new copywriting project, one of the first questions I ask a prospective client is, “Who is your target market and how do you serve them?”
Not having a clear idea of whom you’re selling to or who your prospective clients are is the number one marketing mistake you can make—online or offline. If you don’t know whom you are speaking to, you won’t know the right message to communicate.
Identifying and knowing your target market—inside and out—requires you to look at yourself, at your company, and look into whom you serve and why. Too many companies have a general idea. Some have no idea at all.
Stating a target as “anybody who needs my product” won’t cut it (believe it or not, I hear this answer all the time). Defining your target as “people in the medical field” won’t help much either. Trying to be everything to everyone isn’t going to get you the sales you want.
If you want more customers, you have to know whom you are selling to. And you should know as much about them as you can.
Let’s say you own a high-end clothing boutique. You sell products to women, but identifying your target as “all women” is much too vague because most of your inventory is designed for a younger crowd. Look closely at your clientele, and you may find most of your patrons are between 32 and 45. Look even closer, and you may uncover a majority of your clients are young professionals who make over $80,000 a year.
Keeping with this example, now that you’ve identified your target, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and brainstorm. Make a list of questions you’d like to know about your target, then answer the questions to the best of your ability. You want to define their lifestyle, hobbies, profession, anything you can that will help you speak to their needs and wants.
Be specific. Where do they shop, dine, drink? What do they read? Did they graduate from college, have a bachelor or master’s? Are they active in their community? Do they bike on weekends, or do they spend time with family? Don’t limit yourself. Keep asking questions until you feel you know these people.
It’s important to note that it doesn’t matter if this is business to consumer or business to business, you are still dealing with people at the end of the day. So, if you are business to business and your target is a CEO, you need to know everything about who that CEO is so you can connect.
The more you know, the better you can target the group, speak their language, and give them what they want. And if you know all the above, it will help you further define the business message you want—a message that will attract your target audience to you.
Once you start mining to find out who your target market is, it has been my experience that many businesses find that their message isn’t clear, effective, or targeted to the correct market. It can be extremely difficult for businesses to project an accurate message, one that encompasses a combination of their company’s products, beliefs, mission, and goals if they don’t have a clear vision of their target market.
If you’re uncomfortable with the message you’re sending potential customers online, it’s time to change this message and solidify a strong brand image.
Just remember, speak to everyone, and you’re likely to get no one.