Define your ideal customer

Promoting and marketing your product or service to everyone is often very ineffective.

I understand the logic of thinking there might be a bigger opportunity with a wider market so lots of start-ups try to target a broad section of the market (e.g. all women) instead of a specific niche (e.g women aged between 25-35 interested in vegan products). But you can’t market to everyone (unless you have lots of money and/or resources and I don’t come across many start up’s like that. If you’re like that, happy to talk to you at any time!).

But seriously, when you’re really clear on exactly who your business or product exists for, and what they really want to achieve – your marketing gets easy.

Customers are out there but if you’re not targeting a specific target market, you’re just not speaking their language. Connecting with your ideal customer/client is the key to creating marketing that actually works. The key is to get inside their head to what they’re thinking (you need to identify your ideal customer to do that).

So how do you identify your target market/ideal client when you’re starting out?

Here are my top tips;

  • Understand the problem you’re solving.
  • Picture your target customer in detail.
  • What specific customers will really benefit from your offering?
  • What expertise can you offer?
  • Who are your competitors and why would they choose you instead?

When you’ve answered those questions, spent time developing a buyer persona and validating it. Then use your Buyer Persona for all your marketing platforms and content creation.

Understand the customer problems that you’re solving

The starting point in defining your target market is to understand the problems that you or your product solve. Once you have a good idea what these problems are, you can start to work out who is most likely to suffer from these problems.

Paint a picture of your target customer

List all the different types of customers that suffer from the problems you solve. Then you can start to build up a picture of these customers. If they are business to business customers, perhaps group them by location or by market sector as a starting point.

Ask yourself questions about these people. Are they married? Are they male or female? What age are they? What are they interested in? Define them in as many relevant ways as possible.

Don’t just focus on using generic demographics like age, profession, and location to develop your buyer personas. They are a good starting point but they simply don’t provide enough information to create messaging that resonates with your audience on an emotional level.

Which specific customers will benefit from your offer?

Break down your target customer even further. Ask yourself:

  • To whom will these problems be most troublesome?
  • Who will have the most to lose by not dealing with these problems?

If you can show that the cost of not sorting out the problem is greater than the cost, then your offering becomes compelling. And it will be for specific customers.

Think about niche markets

Today we live in the world of niches. This means that it is a more effective strategy to be a big fish in a small pond, rather than the other way round. Then, it’s easier to build your reputation, increase word of mouth and get referrals.  You will also find you get more from your marketing efforts.

With what you already know from the above steps, start to segment your market.  Do you want to work:

  • with particular types of people – high-net-worth individuals, men, women?,
  • in certain geographical locations?,
  • in defined market sectors – manufacturers, accountants?

What expertise can you offer?

One way of deciding on the right market(s) to target is to think about your business and your employees (if you have them);

  • Do you have particular areas of expertise? For example, do you have a lot of experience in particular markets, such as working with food producers?
  • Do you have unique knowledge of a specific geographical area?
  • Are you better at getting on with certain types of people?

All these factors could help you establish a particularly attractive offering for your ideal client.

Who are your competitors?

You’ll also need to look at the market to see who you are competing with. The question you have to answer is: Why am I uniquely placed to solve the problem?

If you can’t answer this, you either have the wrong target market or the wrong offering. If this is the case, you’ll need to do more work before you start targeting your potential customers.

Questions to help you define your ideal client

Now that you’re getting clearer on your target market, start to develop your ideal client by asking yourself;

  • What are their challenges and frustrations?
  • What are their goals and priorities?
  • Where do they get information?
  • What does a day in their life look like?
  • What makes them happy?
  • How do they communicate?
  • How do they want to be served? Do they want a trial or are they ready to buy immediately? Think how you can move your prospects from awareness of your business/solution, to educate them on the benefits/problems you solve, to sample your expertise/solution, to purchase your core offering, and refer others to your business.

Knowing your ideal client should inform your branding design, marketing messaging, social media content and overall marketing behaviour and strategies. It will be the basis of all your marketing plans and tactics.

If you need help defining your ideal client, please get in contact.

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