If you don’t define your target market or create buyer personas for your business, your marketing efforts aren’t as effective as they could be.
“We have something for everyone.”
“We don’t want to be pigeonholed.”
“All business is good business. We won’t turn anyone away.”
We hear these statements a lot from small business owners.
As a small business ourselves, we can certainly relate to the fear of turning potential customers away or becoming too niche that you lose people along the way. But attempting to appeal to the masses turns out to be a big mistake when it comes to marketing.
Sure, you want as many people as possible to know about your business. But that doesn’t mean that all those people are your customers.
Sadly, there is no “one size fits all” approach to marketing. It’s a very specific, focused, and creative process. To be successful at it, you have to define your target market and then find ways to appeal to them.
In so doing, you’ll save money, time, and effort on unnecessary (also ineffective) marketing, and you’ll be able to hone in on and convey a stronger, more direct message, which will lead to more conversions.
How to Define Your Target Market
Who is your ideal customer? Or, as marketing experts say, what’s your buyer persona? For example, a massage therapist could say her ideal client is “anyone with a body” (yes, we’ve heard at least one say this). A more focused approach would be desk jockeys – people who sit at a desk all day, probably with poor posture and tension in their shoulders.
To define your target market, think along these lines:
Are they male or female? What age range? What do they do for a living? Where do they live? What’s their income? How educated are they? What are their interests?
What problems or challenges are they experiencing? What would they like to achieve? What do they value most?
Gather this information from current and past customers, as well as your vision of the types of customers you’d like to have. Utilize questionnaires and surveys. Once you have researched and determined your buyer personas (we recommend having no more than three), you can prepare a marketing strategy that appeals to them. We recommend including valuable content and compelling calls to action.
Here are some tips on appealing to your buyer persona:
Do they need more education? Downloadable e-books, an active blog, and YouTube videos are great ways to provide this. They provide valuable content, while establishing you as the authority in your industry and building credibility and trust in you. (Blogs are also a great way to be a little less formal and personal, allowing your audience to get to know you better.)
How does your business solve their problems? Focus more on the customer than yourself. Sure, you could talk all day long about your credentials and experience, but the bottom line is: they have a problem, a challenge, an inconvenience, and they want it fixed.
Get creative. Skip the clichés. Every small business we’ve ever known says they have great customer service. What does that mean to you? What really makes you different from the competition? Be specific. (And if nothing makes you different, then find a way to be different!)
Meet them where they are. What websites do they visit? How much research do they do? Do they watch videos or read blogs? What social media channels are they on? Where do they shop or hang out? That’s where you need to be.