Selecting the best target market for your business is the most important but difficult part of the marketing plan.
Business owners will make many excuses when asked why they have not chosen a target because they believe that targeting limits their opportunities.
Every business owner believes this marketing myth until they discover that targeting enables you to:
- Determine if there really is a market need for your products or services
- Attract and work with a more lucrative audience
- Develop messages with greater precision, being clear about the value you offer and the benefits of working with you
- Become the expert for that niche
- Focus your marketing activities to reach your well-defined niche
Being focused on one particular market increases your efficiency and uses your resources more wisely. For example, you can:
- Better select which social networks you need to be present and active on rather than try to cover them all.
- Go to networking events that target your market and miss those that don’t.
- Target your messages, focusing on what’s important to that audience using the language they understand.
When you narrowly define your niche market, your messages are clear, your offerings are precise and your marketing efforts are more effective, even to those not within your target market.
What is a Target Market?
A target market is defined as the unique groups of people or businesses with common characteristics:
- Want or need what you have to offer
- Know they have a need and understand the value to them of satisfying that need
- Willing to spend money to satisfy that need
All three of these have to be present for someone to be a target because:
- If there is no need or desire, you won’t get their attention.
- If they don’t know they want or need what you have, they won’t be paying attention to what you have to say.
- And even if the first two are true, if they don’t have the money to spend on satisfying the want or need, they won’t be a valid target market.
How to determine your target market
Define your offerings:
- What is your primary offering and what problems do you solve?
- Why is it better than the competition?
- What unique capability can you offer that others do not?
Focus your key offering on what you do best and what you love to do. We all can do many things, but some of the things we do are more supporting than primary services.
Define the audiences that could use your services
- What characteristics do they all have in common that you could turn into a segment?
- What do they need and what are they lacking?
- Why do they do business with you?
Sometimes it is easier to illustrate the concept of market segmentation with an example. Let’s say you are a professional organizer and want to define a lucrative target market that plays to your strengths. You could offer the following services that would appeal to different audiences:
- Organizing residential spaces – Single parents and homeowners may wish to hire you to help remove the clutter from their homes
- Creating processes – Small business owners may want you to organize the office and create processes that keep it that way
- Helping seniors downsize and move to a new residence – Seniors need a trusting resource to help them downsize – a difficult and painful process
- Designing efficient work spaces – Home based businesses may need help in setting up an efficient office
In each case, although you are using your organizing skills, each of these services would require different messaging, pricing and promotional strategies to reach those that have the need, know they need help and are willing to pay for getting that help. If you tried to use the same strategies across all four segments, your marketing would be far less effective.
Profile your ideal client
Now that you have identified your target market and its segmentation, you need to define your ideal client – a subset of your target market that you most enjoy working with.
- What are the characteristics of your ideal customer?
- What customers would you like to work with and can you offer them something that they are willing to pay money for?
- Are your current clients what you consider your ideal target market – that is are they easy to work with, love what you offer, and feel that you offer them high value for their money?
By identifying your ideal client and focusing on attracting them, you will:
- Develop services that cater to their needs
- Clearly define and communicate your solutions
- Capitalize on your strengths and become known as the go to expert
- Target your messages and make your marketing activities more effective
- Eliminate price comparisons
- Learn to identify those are not a good fit
Our professional organizer could choose to work with all four segments of their target market, however, in many cases that is not practical. A better strategy would be to choose the one or two segments that you truly enjoy the most and put all of your efforts into satisfying their needs.
Whatever you decide, the point is to help you create a focused segment where you can offer services that you love and effectively market them with such clarity that it attracts clients like a magnet.
Successful small businesses understand that only certain types of customers will buy their product or service. If you can determine who those people are and target your marketing efforts toward them, you can develop that trust relationship that will in time, turn them into customers.