Identifying your target customers

When it comes to marketing your business, it is very easy to fall into the trap of trying to tell everyone, everything about your business because you don’t want to miss anybody.
The trouble with this approach is that you will spread yourself too thinly and waste time, money and effort trying to reach people who are not your target market. Furthermore, you will end up missing opportunities to engage with your ideal clients.

Your customer’s shoes
One of the first steps to identifying your target market and getting to know your ideal customer, is to put yourself in their shoes. Rather than thinking about the services or products you want to sell, ask yourself: What are the benefits to my customers? What problems do I solve? Whether you save people time, help people to feel more confident, make life easier, fill a skills gap, or relieve stress – there are likely to be a number of key benefits which will help you understand more about what your customer needs or wants.

Paint a picture
Use this insight to build a clearer picture of your ideal client. Think about who they are, what they think and how they behave by considering:
•    Demographics: age, gender, location, occupation, etc.
•    Psychographics: opinions, attitudes, values, likes/dislikes etc.
•    Behaviour: lifestyle, hobbies, interests etc.
In reality, you will have a range of clients but try to zone in on one or two key customers who are likely to benefit most from your business – as this will give your marketing greater focus.

Information flow
Next, consider where your target client is likely to get their information from. Would social media be important to them? Do they regularly read newspapers or magazines and listen to the news? Do they rely on referrals from friends, family and colleagues? Who influences their decision-making? Do you already have contact with them, or are they totally new to you?

Targeted marketing communications
By spending time thinking about these aspects, you will know WHO your ideal customer is, WHAT influences their decisions and WHERE they get information from. This will allow you to develop a targeted marketing communications strategy which successfully reaches the people who are most likely to want to buy your products or services. It will also enable you to produce messages which resonate with them and content which adds value, giving you greater chance of converting your marketing activities into successful results for your business.