Who do you think you are talking to?

Who do you think you are talking to?

How to identify your target market

The wonderful thing about digital marketing is that now, the world is your oyster.  You can talk to anyone on the planet who has a Twitter account, and sell your goods and services to anyone you like, whatever your target market.

This can also be bewildering.

The first question I always ask my clients is “Who’s your ideal customer?”  All too often the answer is ‘anyone’.  This is ultimately an unhelpful place to start. Like an enthusiastic toddler in their first game of tig, if you try chasing everyone at the same time, you’ll end up with no one.

You need to pick your target market – and focusing on a handful of people will help you to define your messaging.

This needs to be at the forefront of your marketing and don’t think of attempting to design your website, branding or take to social media before you’ve done it.  Once you know your target market, your activity then becomes a doddle.  You know exactly who you are talking to and what they want to hear.

If you don’t, then you try to please so many people, your message ends up as bland and indistinctive.

Every business is looking for a person who

  1. Has the same worldview
  2. Has a problem you can solve
  3. Has the time and money to give

Once you’ve found them, they then need to

  1. Be engaged with your product
  2. Understand and appreciate what results you can bring

Starting with number one

Is it really that important that your target market has the same world view?

Well you’re not asking them to marry you, so arguably it doesn’t matter that much.  Depending on the strength of your convictions, you may not turn business away because of it because they’re not really your sort.

However, there’s no denying that these people will be your easiest customers to find, convert and are most likely to become your champions. These are the people your marketing needs to be aimed at – the rest may follow along regardless.

Simon Sinek

The easiest customers to reach are those you have the most in common with.  You know in person when you just click with someone, the conversation flows and you know exactly what the other means.

The first rule of  social media is to be authentic, honest and as natural as possible.  Your ideal client will like you for it or, as I said recently to a client “they’re going to work out they don’t like you when they meet you so save yourself the bother”

However there needs to be a Venn Diagram in there somewhere of what is you, what is your client, and what you have in common.  If you can try sticking to the common ground, you’ll be quids in.

Some of my favourite brands make me feel like I’m one of the gang – that we would get on if we actually met.  Similarly, I’ve made some great relationships through social media months (and even years) before I meet them in person.


Start with your fantasy client and pick one very specific client at a time.  Build a full and proper picture of them – not just their job title.

Maybe consider it more like dating.  Age, gender, location are all vital factors, but then define even further on your key attributes and characteristics.

We may as well be sitting on the sofa next to you.

We may as well be sitting on the sofa next to you.

What do they care about? This does not mean that you have to nail your political colours to the mast (even if you have them) but it does mean that you need to work out where their sensibilities are likely to be.

  • Are they concerned about the environment?
  • Are animal rights likely to be important or not a factor?
  • Are there any particular social causes and campaigns they are likely to be interested in?

I find I can judge a company instantly on their choice of quotes on social media.  If they sound like a reject from The Apprentice, then they are probably not for me.

  • What are their hobbies likely to be?  Are they outdoorsy, interested food, culture, sport, fashion
  • What style of images would they most respond to?
  • What TV programmes are they likely to watch?  What music?
  • What are they likely to find funny?

What do they drink?  What supermarket do they shop in? Where are they likely to go on holiday? What brands to they buy? Do they care who wins X Factor?

They might sound like irrelevant questions, but it’s a really useful exercise to build your target market profile.  If you want to really have some fun, find some pictures to go along with it.

Just putting it out there as an example of what your dream client might look like ….


“But I thought I was supposed to be being myself, not pleasing others!”

Be Your Own Beyonce

Once you have given this some thought, your social media ‘voice’ becomes easy to find.  Put yourself in Beyonce’s shoes and you can craft an online identity which is authentic and honest but also perfectly reflects the brand that you are trying to create, rather than a warts and all profile.

You don’t need to start talking about yourself in the third person, but think carefully about which parts of your brand are for public consumption – and which ones aren’t. For example, I am a fairly vocal political sort, but I try to tone it down on my professional accounts. I will share some things, often with a social media slant, but I don’t use it as a soapbox.  I have a separate Twitter account for shouting at Question Time.

It’s about values rather than partisan issues.  I’m quite happy to tweet about Hillary Clinton because I don’t really want to work for anybody who would consider themselves a Donald Trump supporter.  I’m more than happy for them not to pick up the phone.

But here’s some rules to bear in mind

  • Sometimes it’s a matter of volume.  The odd tweet so I know that you like football and support West Ham, but a running commentary of the game, no thank you.
  • No oversharing. By all means give me an insight into your private life, so I can understand a little more about you but think ‘Hello centre spread’, rather than a tabloid expose or radio phone in rant.
  • Remember that social media posts never really go away. A full and frank Facebook post might be cathartic but is it really what your brand wants to say?
  • Friendly and approachable does not always mean ‘cutesy’.  If you’re not that sort of brand, don’t feel you have to be just because it’s social media.
  • Don’t be mean or offensive.  I shouldn’t have to say any more

Hopefully, you now have a clear idea of your head of the people you need to reach.  In future blog posts, I’ll cover more on how to track them down and build relationships.

What criteria do you use to decide who your ideal customer might be? Biscuits? Favourite Friends character?  Let us know in the comments below.

In the meantime if you’d like some help with defining your target marketing and branding, then get in touch for a consultation.


Social Media is a waste of time

social media is a waste of time

You’re my favourite waste of time.

I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve met recently who, upon asking my trade, reply “I think social media is a waste of time”.

Now, rather than flicking them on the ear for their blatant rudeness, I am always intrigued as to why.

The most common reason people give me is “I don’t need it, I’m already have enough business”. This is usually closely followed by “Anyway, my customers don’t use social media”

Clearly this is an enviable position to be in. Throughout history businesses have fallen flat believing that all they have to do is stand still and it will all be fine. Like a complacent spouse, they have signed up their customers and sit back and wait for their dinner to be put on the table.

Here’s three reasons why this is nonsense

  1. Your customers are being wooed

It’s a big world out there. 95% of adults now use some form of social media. Although some of your customers might not, you’re restricting yourself to a tiny niche if you don’t.  What is worse, your competitors certainly are using it.

Social Media is not about sales, it’s about relationships and, without being soppy, feelings. People feel connected with a customer when they talk to them online, and when they are answered. People feel loyal to a company who takes the time to engage with them even when they are not spending money. So while you still might be getting their custom, their eyes are roving elsewhere.

New, hungry businesses are starting all the time, and they are after your customers.  They are chatting, being helpful, giving them useful things and, more than anything else, looking like they care and are interested in what they have to say.

  1. This is now what “word of mouth” means

Even if you have enough customers, you will inevitably lose a few, and new customers are much harder to find without a social media presence.

To put it simply: if you are looking for a new business, do you pick the one that you can research, see their customer reviews and recommendations, check out what kind of company they are? Even better, do you know that your friends like them, even though you’ve never asked. Or do you pick the one you have only driven past once or seen a ¼ page ad.

  1. You might learn something

Social Media isn’t just a sales tool, it’s a resource for you.

Twitter and LinkedIn in particular offers a wealth of industry knowledge and expert insight to devour and share.  Social Media allows you to keep a crafty eye on the competition at the same time as finding new partnerships or suppliers, not to mention quality staff.   It’s not simply about marketing and flogging your wares. You are missing out on a massive opportunity if you write it off.

Clearly, I am preaching to the converted here, and the people who say such things will probably never be online long enough to see this post. However, maybe, just maybe, someone will print it off and show it to them and I can stop with the ear flicking.

If you would like to know more, take a look at my Warwickshire Social Media School  or get in touch regarding my 1-2-1 and in-house training.

What’s It All About? Pinterest

What’s It All About? Pinterest

Pinterest has been one of the fastest growing social media platforms of 2013 and is set to become ever more popular.

Once the preserve of crafters and hobbyists, it is now catapulting into the main stream.  With over 70 million users, an increasing number of businesses are using it to promote their products and engage with their audience.

What Is It?

Pinterest is social media’s answer to the scrap book or pinboard.

It’s popular with anybody looking for ideas and inspiration.  Since its launch in 2010 it has grown to over 70 million users.  It currently has a female focus but that is changing rapidly.  Anyone who was forced to listen to my discussions around the colour of my sitting room knows that it can be a useful way of booking marking ideas, products and services.  Holidays, events planning, projects and hobbies are all popular uses, but it can be used to share any information, as long as there is an image associated.  If you are the type to rip pages out of magazines to keep for later, then this is platform for you.

How Does It Work?

Users can create any number of ‘boards’ which they fill with images.  These usually link to websites but can be uploaded from an original source.  Users can also follow like minded folk and repin their images onto their own boards.

Users can also create private boards which can be shared with friends, perfect for planning weddings, parties and other special events.


In 2013, Pinterest added place pins, allowing you to create maps and pin images such as on this Conde Nast board


How Can It Help My Business?

If you have a business with a heavy reliance on images, or products to promote, then Pinterest is for you.  It’s perfectly suited to the creative & visual industries, such as interior design, gardening, crafts etc.  However, many other businesses are finding creative ways to share content.

  • As every image can be linked to a website, it is an ideal way to drive traffic to your own site
  • Having a Business Pinterest account can improve your Search Engine results, as well as provide useful data
  • It allows your customers to bookmark your products as part of their own projects and plans
  • You can use it to share more of your brand’s personality, your inspirations and influences
  • Pinterest has a much higher success rate when it comes to click throughs and purchases than Facebook or Twitter
Here, a publishing client is using pinterest to share illustrations from their books.

Here, a publishing client is using pinterest to share illustrations from their books.

Charlotte Harley Bridal Couture uses boards to inspire her clients

Charlotte Harley Bridal Couture uses boards to inspire her clients

How to make the most of it?

  • If you have products and services on your website, add a ‘Pin It’ button to allow customers to easily pin them
  • Share the work of complementary businesses alongside your own
  • Think about what your customers will be searching for and organise your boards accordingly
  • Include your Pinterest button alongside your other social media platforms so users can find you easily
  • People can search for board titles and individual pins so give some thought to how you are labelling them.
  • You don’t need to update as regularly as other platforms but keep the content fresh