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.

Build-A-Client

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.