Identifying your target client is hugely important for SMEs and delving deeper and really understanding what they need and what they want can make a huge difference when planning your marketing strategy. We explain why…
Knowing your Ideal Client
To have an effective marketing strategy, you need to know who your target audience is. Identifying them – and even giving them a name – is a really useful start to any marketing campaign. After all if you don’t really know who you are targeting, how can you work out what the right message is, how and where you should be conveying that message, and what call to action you need?
Knowing your ideal client is a critical issue for any business – and there may be more than one of them; although be a little cautious with this, as too many will result in dilution of your message. Many entrepreneurs can go wrong, not because they don’t have a great product or service, but because they don’t know who they are selling to. Sometimes it can be easy to be so blinded by the fact that you have this amazing offering that you expect ‘everyone’ to be interested. If you wonder why the sales process is so hard for you, it may be because you’ve not yet got a handle on who your ideal client is – not because your product or service is not worth buying.
Everyone is not the right answer
This is a common problem, especially for businesses that offer a service. They believe that their service is suitable for everyone. And it is easy to see why you could see this as a good thing – if you appeal to everyone, you have plenty of potential clients to sell to don’t you? However, being so generic means that you end up not really being attractive to anyone – you will be ‘not quite right’ for a lot of people.
We all love something personalised don’t we? We want a product that speaks to us – something that is special for us. So talk their language to really appealing to them. In turn, your clients will feel that you understand them and that you understand what they need. If you get to this stage you’re half way to selling your service or product already.
Another thing to consider is who you enjoy working with. If you find it hard to relate to business leaders, don’t make them your target niche. You won’t enjoy interacting with them and you will find it hard to understand their needs. Think about who you would like to help, and you will enjoy your business so much more – and that will be reflected in your marketing success and your bottom line!
Focus on your target
So how do you go about identifying your niche, your target audience, or segments thereof?
You can create customer personas for the people who are most likely to buy your product or service. The persona nails down their lifestyle – job, responsibilities, financials, character traits and so on. It’s a more contemporary way of defining those old-fashioned A1, C2 marketing demographics of old.
The reason it is so important to be specific when creating your target persona/audience is that it is far easier, and takes a lot less effort, to target your marketing in this way. If you are trying to appeal to a broad spectrum, you will find you are making a lot of effort without getting the return – its what we would refer to as shotgun marketing.
For instance, say that you sell software, and you want to target the people who make the buying decisions for software for their company. There’s little point targeting people who have just installed new software. Instead, you want to be catching the eye of the people who haven’t done a software review in say the past two years.
It’s a small distinction, but you can see how such a small thing could have a massive impact on the amount of interest you receive from your marketing campaign.
What do they want?
One of the most important things when thinking about your target audience is considering their needs and wants. Obviously in this case your target must need to update their software in the near future. Your marketing campaign needs to identify the person’s problems and wants and come up with a solution for their need.
But you also have to delve deeper to identify your target audience. They may have different backgrounds but have the same aims. For example, if you sell gym equipment or personal coaching sessions, or craft kits for kids, your target audience may have different jobs, and differing educational levels, but they will all be struggling to get fit or keep their children occupied.
Your target audience can be defined by both demographics and psychographics. Demographics include their age, marital status, income and gender, while psychographics will cover more in-depth information such as their values, attitudes, personal interests, behaviours and their wants.
Narrow it down
It’s the psychographics that will really help you to narrow down your target audience. For instance, if you know you are aiming at single women earning £50,000 a year, that may not be enough. You need to identify what their needs and wants are – are they worried about putting on weight, do they want to spend their spare time doing something creative? These are the types of factors that will help you really narrow down on your audience and target your product to the right people.
If you’re not sure where to start, start with the information you already have. For instance, interview some existing clients to find out why they value your product or services and how it addresses their needs, use surveys on your website, email or social media, and analyse your web traffic.
Using data you already have can be invaluable. Use what you already have in your marketing strategy and business plan, and your existing knowledge of your target customers and then aim to learn more about them. For example, you know how much your target audience earns but not what their actual jobs are. You also need to learn where they get their information from – are they avid Facebook users or do they prefer Instagram, or perhaps they hop between several social media channels?
Google Analytics is a useful tool for really getting a good hold on your audience. You can use it to undertake a deep audience analysis by producing custom audience reports. These can show you everything from demographic and psychographic data, to geographic locations and even the sort of technology your audience uses.
Knowing your competitors and their marketing strategies is another useful tool. Understanding what they do – and what seems to work for them – can help you by ensuring that you don’t duplicate ideas (and so divide your audience), and help you to differentiate your marketing strategy.
Armed with all this information, it will be far easier to really understand what your target audience needs. One of the first rules of marketing is knowing what your prospective customer struggles with and how you can provide the solution for them. So now you have identified your target audience and what they need, you can target your content marketing to appeal to them.
If you do this you will find you have plenty of information to work out what your product or service can do for your target audience – ask yourself ‘what problem or need does it solve?’; which demographics are particularly important, what psychographic traits are likely to apply to someone using your product or service and what channels your audience uses to engage with products or services like yours.
You can use all of this information to determine what kind (or combination) of marketing content you are going to use – and where. You might also be interested to read our blog on buyer enablement content.
If you would like to have a chat about your marketing requirements, please call Alison Page on tel: 07963 002065 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can of course browse our website to see what our existing clients have to say about our work.