Understanding who you’re talking to is what makes the difference between creating, a successful marketing campaign that really speaks to your customer, and the one that gets completely ignored.

And as I mentioned in my article about building a successful sales funnel – it’s not about selling to everyone, as much as it’s about strategically getting the right information to the right people.

If you asked a business owner who their target market is and who their ideal customers are, a surprising number of them won’t have any idea how to respond.

Say what now? http://www.funnyordie.com/

Well, it’s not that surprising. I get it.

You didn’t come into owning your business with a marketing background. You’re good at what you do, but marketing isn’t your thing.

But what I’m talking about is a basic fundamental activity that every business should be doing.

You can hire someone with experience in marketing or you can outsource your marketing efforts to a third party company – but nobody knows your business better than you

It doesn’t really matter how it gets done, so long that it does actually get done.
Gaining a deep understanding of your target audience and the different personas within your audience will change the way you make decisions in your business – for the better!

Step 1: Your Target Market

Hit the target. Hit some sales. https://pixabay.com/

In order to sell your services or products effectively, you have to know who you are marketing to.

Your target market is a broad, almost a generalization, of the ideal customer for your business. The kind of person that is most likely to buy your services.

For example, if you ran a roofing business, your target market would be much different than a business that ran a video game arcade.

They would be home or property owners, for one. They would be a bit older – old enough to afford roofing services. They would have disposable income. They would be concerned about protecting their investment.

To determine your target market you have to understand the exact problem that you solve. This helps you to paint a picture of your ideal customer.

Who will find value in what you offer? Who has the problems that you solve? Who finds those problems to be the most troublesome?

These are the types of individuals that might make up your target market.
Actually write down who your ideal customer would be. For a roofing company, it might look something like this;

“25-50 year old married man, home-owner, with a household income over $100,000 per year.”

“25-50 year old married man, home-owner, with a household income over $100,000 per year.”

Once you know who your target market is, then you can focus on finding ways to reach that target market and also breakdown your audience in different segments (which we’ll be discussing in our next Step).

Factors that make up your target market.

Pinpointing your target market can be difficult if you have no understanding of all of the different aspects that can make up the demographics within your target market.
When outlining your own, consider the following;1. Numbered List

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If your business only provides its services to within a certain area (a city, county, or state/province) then that drastically lessens your target market, and alters your marketing strategies. You wouldn’t want to waste advertising dollars showing ads to people that live in Florida, when your business only operates in Ontario. Stick to your targets.

2. How old are the individuals that you are targeting?

When Taylor Swift releases a new album, she isn’t targeting 55-year-old men with her advertisements. They aren’t interested in the product that she produces. Who is interested in the product that you produce?

3. Is Your Targer market generally male, female or either?

Limiting yourself to a single sex can be dangerous if you haven’t done the proper product research. For instance, on the surface a makeup company might only assume they are targeting women. But, with a little prying they may find innovative ways to market their product to men, who purchase it for their partners. Don’t limit yourself unnecessarily – be open to opportunities but honest about who buys your product.

4. What is your target market interested in?

Just because someone plays soccer and is interested in sports, doesn’t mean that they are going to want to purchase products from your Baseball supply company. When outlining target markets remember to focus on the ideal customer, not fringe demographics that might be interested in small doses.

5. Is the individual in the right situation to be interested in what you have to offer?

A roofing company wouldn’t want to waste time talking to someone that rents an apartment, and therefore is not responsible for maintaining or replacing the roof. However – they would be interested in talking to the management company in charge of those decisions.

These are all examples of individual aspects of a target market.

The truth is that any target market should be a combination of these factors.

Your target market isn’t just women. It’s “18-35 year old women, in Southern Quebec, with an interest in knee boarding.”

Outlining a target market doesn’t mean that you won’t accept customers outside of that market, it just gives you a point of reference for every marketing choice you make moving forward.

“Is this appealing to my target market?” should be a question before obligating any large sum of money to a marketing campaign.

Once you understand who your target market, it’s time to breakdown that audience into different buyer personas which will help you narrow down different groups within your target demographic.

Step 2: Build Buyer Personas

What type of people does your business stand a better chance with? https://pixabay.com/

So, now you understand who your ideal customer is in general.

But that won’t be every customer.

Every business has many different types of customers. Sticking with our roofing company example – their clientele would include homeowners, business owners, apartment complexes, office buildings and generally anyone that had a roofing need.

That includes a huge number of different people – and they all are different. They have different wants, needs, and budgets. Sure, both Tommy Homeowner and Billy CommercialProperty need roofing services, but they have completely different problems that need solving, with very different budgets.

The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.

Peter F. Drucker (2009). “Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices”, p.97, Harper Collins

Certain marketing messages will be effective with either, but they don’t overlap all that much. Tommy Homeowner probably won’t respond to well to marketing that focuses on CommercialProperties.

Tommy Homeowner might be concerned about keeping his family safe, while Billy CommercialProperties might be more concerned about legal liability. You see – different problems, similar solutions.

Buyer personas are important for understanding your customer base, and creating marketing messages that are specific to their needs. Writing down buyer personas of your typical types of customer helps to give you an understanding of what you’re doing right and what could be improved upon.

Once you understand the different buyer personas that you are dealing with, then you can custom-craft sales funnels and marketing materials specifically for them.

Every buyer persona has a different experience when working with your company – you just need to make sure it’s as positive an experience as possible!

Digging deep into the buyer personas.

With a basic understanding of buyer personas, you can then begin to flesh out the personas of your buyers in greater detail.

It isn’t as simple as giving them cute little names like “Billy CommercialProperties” and “Tommy Homeowner.” You have to actually understand who each persona is, what each persona wants, and the potential barriers to winning their business.

The Buyer Persona Institute has some real badass information if you are willing to go through it.

But here’s a summary of some of the questions you will need to ask when creating your personas. Read the following list carefully and really think about each question;

  • Basic buyer persona profile. Who are they? Where do they work? What kind of responsibilities do they hold? How are they going to evaluate the product you deliver?
  • Priority initiative. What conditions trigger the buyer’s decision to look for a solution that you offer? Why are they interested in your product?
  • Success factors. After purchasing your product, what kind of outcomes is this persona expecting? Can you reach or exceed those expectations? What are the problems that your product actually solves?
  • Why might this person have concerns about your product or service? What might prevent them from purchasing from you? Essentially, these are the doubts that might run through a buyer’s head before purchasing your product, or during the time when you are attempting to close the sale. This helps you to outline well thought out answers to common questions.
  • Customer journey map. What is the process that the customer actually goes through when purchasing your product? More on this in a bit.
  • Think back to previous experiences that you’ve had with buyers in this persona. What kind of questions did they ask? What answers were successful? Take notes and use previous experience to your advantage.

This is the real meat and bones of the buyer persona outlining process. This is where you nail down the facts about who they are, what they want, and how you should deal with them as a customer.

You’d be surprised how much you can learn about people by sitting down and fleshing these ideas out. A lot of your pre-conceived notions about particular buyers might vanish before your eyes.

An awesomely fleshed-out buyer persona list can be a starting point for every marketing project that you take on moving forward, and an excellent point of reference when working with marketing companies.