Knowing your target market is essential to growing your business. Many companies are afraid to pick a target market because they think that will push out prospects that don't fit within that target market and then they will lose a sale. But the whole point of choosing a target market is to help people to self identify if they are a fit with your company. This will make it easier for your target market to find you as well
Start with an umbrella target market
In situations where leadership is fearful to put their foot down and identify a target, we often remind them that you’ll spread your ROI too thin if you don’t focus. You’re never going to be able to please everyone—and your product or service is not a ‘one-size fits all’ solution. You may have multiple decision makers in your company who have made it very clear that they want to go after different target markets, but at the end of the day, you need to pick one target. Ask yourself: who can you best serve? Who is going to be the most lucrative for your business?
We will let you in on a little secret: you can have more than one target market. The end goal, however, is to have one main target market, or an “umbrella target market.” From there, you can narrow into sub-targets. For your company at large, you really are going to want one main target. Some examples of “umbrella targets” include:
- Generation X
- Businesses with 30+ employees
- Corporate executives
Now let’s narrow those targets a bit more:
- Generation X couples who are married with a family and live in mid-size markets in the United States
- Businesses with 30+ employees in upstate New York and have been in business for five years or more
- Corporate executives in the oil and gas industry that work at BP, Marathon, and Shell
- Dentists who own their own practice and have three or more employees
We can then get even more specific. Ask these kinds of questions:
- Education level
- Car they drive
- Stores they shop
- What they like to do on the weekend
- Social media channels they use
- Political beliefs and affiliations
- What they read (blogs, books, etc.)
- What they listen to (music, podcasts, radio etc.)
- What they like to do for fun
The point of this exercise is to really identify your target market so you can reach them and utilize your time and marketing efforts more effectively.
Meet your target in the places they frequent
In the marketing world it's very easy to get caught up in buying the latest shiny objects. You can do just about anything under the sun with marketing today. Sure, you can purchase a radio ad, or send a flashy email campaign or set up a fancy marketing automation tool kit, but if you haven’t defined who you are talking to, all of these tools will go to waste.. Knowing your target and what drives them will help you to stay focused and avoid distractions.
If you’re in sales, understanding your target market will help you to identify where to spend your time. For example, if you want to go after dentists who own their own practice, you'll probably want to:
- Go to events and conferences where you're going to meet these individuals.
- Build an email list that’s specific to this audience.
- Host a webinar or give them something that’s of value.
- Set up Google Alerts to follow the latest news and trends related to this demographic.
- What about becoming a thought leader in this space? You could write for publications that your target market reads.
At the end of the day, if you don't pick a target market you're likely going to spin your wheels trying to talk to a lot of people and ultimately talking to no one at all.
Do yourself a favor before you dive into all the nitty-gritty of building out your marketing tactics, and really get to know your target market. This is the first step. You’ll also do your marketing team a favor, because they will want to build copy and creative that's aligned with this audience.
Bottom line, if you want to scale, pick a focused target market and speak to them consistently so they know you really understand their needs and struggles. Offer solutions and ideas and meet them in places where they are already having this conversation. This relationship-building process will turn strangers into contacts; acquaintances into networks and finally, prospects into clients.