As a marketing coach and consultant, one of the biggest and costliest mistakes that I see small businesses make time and time again is that they’re neck deep in their business and they still haven’t clearly defined their perfect target market. They continue to try to be everything to everyone — that’s just not realistic — and unfortunately, that usually ends in them being nothing to no one.
As one of my marketing mentors, Dan Kennedy says it, it’s critical that you “find your herd”. Your “herd”, or your “who” as I call it, being your ideal target market — your perfect prospects and clients so to speak.
It’s critical that you understand that that your “who” is more important than your “what”. In other words, it’s more important to be clear on who you’re serving than what you’re serving them with. The “what” will most definitely change in one way, shape, or form over time as your perfect target market’s wants and needs change.
So how does one go about choosing the ideal target market for their business?
Well here are my 5 factors to look for when choosing the perfect target market.
1. They’re Hungry!
Your target market should already want or need what you offer and the more insatiable the appetite, the better!
The key word here is “already”. If they don’t already want nor need what you offer, it will ultimately cost you much more in marketing dollars to educate them on what it is you do offer and why they should buy it now.
2. They’ve Got Cash!
Simply put, it doesn’t matter how hungry your target market is. If they can’t afford to buy what you’re selling, they may not be a good target market for you – you simply can’t draw blood from a stone.
However, there’s always the possibility of finding someone else who can afford you on their behalf. In other words, look for others who have the cash that would stand to benefit from your shared target market having access to what you offer and market your idea to them.
3. They’re Easily Reachable!
The harder it is to get in front of your target market, the more expensive it gets — and for small businesses, that typically spells disaster. Unfortunately or fortunately, small businesses just don’t have that bottomless pocket full of cash to spend on marketing themselves — this forces them to be smarter and more creative marketers.
Bottom line here is you don’t want to make your job any harder, or more expensive, than it has to be, so pick a target market that you can get to easily.
4. There Are Enough of Them Around!
A proper target market has to be large enough for you to not only survive, but thrive. Chances are that if there are only a handful of prospects interested in what you offer, unless your product is extremely consumable, it may be difficult to sustain your business — let alone grow it.
Bottom line; pick a target market that’s sizable enough for you to serve and relentlessly go after its sweet spot.
5. You Like Them!
You know, some people may think this one is silly, however I’m a firm believer that if you generally like those you serve, you’ll serve them better. And the better you serve them, the better you chances of increasing your market share.
Bottom line here is that life is too short to spend your most precious commodity, your time, with people you don’t like. So why do it? Even if the money is good, chances are that eventually you’ll feel unfulfilled — so play with people you want to play with.
So in closing, don’t make your job any harder than it needs to be. Clearly choose and define your target market, right from the get go. Take the time to find out everything you can about them — know their demographic and psychographic profiles — Be able to answer such questions as: What are their interests? Where do they hang out? And what makes them tick? An understanding of the answers to these very simple yet profound questions can make or break your business.
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