When it comes to helping small businesses find new clients, grow their business and make more money, there are many different strategies you can use. However there are some fundamentals that you must first know in order to make everything else successful.
Why is it Important to Know Your Target Market?
Defining your Target Market is one of the most fundamental things that any business owner can do to ensure they succeed in building a successful small business. Ironically, most small businesses don’t know this and think there’s no point as “everyone buys from me”. However there is almost always a small section of the market that are much more likely to buy than others; so targeting this niche where they are at, and in a language that speaks to them, their aspirations, goals and challenges will massively increase your results.
Why You Can’t Just Copy the Household Names
The problem that most small businesses have is that they approach marketing in the same way as traditional businesses. They try to get their name out there and increase brand recognition to attract new customers. It works for the huge brands like Tesco, Coca Cola and Nike, why wouldn’t it work for you? Well there is one fundamental difference: your marketing budget. As a small business you simply don’t have millions of pounds to throw into brand recognition, to bombard the market repeatedly (with some phenomenal content) until you become the obvious choice when you are thirsty or need new trainers. Many small business owners don’t even have hundreds of pounds in their marketing budget. You need to think differently and be strategic with both your energy and finances to get the results that you want.
When you know who you are targeting, you aren’t just spraying your marketing message around and hoping to hit someone who is interested. Instead, you can build a targeted message that connects with your ideal customer and makes them respond out loud saying “that’s me, I need that”.
How Do You Work Out Who Your Target Market or Ideal Client is?
It’s actually not as hard as you think and it’s well worth spending an hour or two to gain clarity on.
Firstly, consider what type of customers are buying from you or clients that come to you. There will probably be similarities that will help you sort of group people together into a few different specific groups.
Secondly, consider who your top customers are. Who are the 20% of your clients or customers that are responsible for 80% of your profits? This question has been an absolute game changer for one of my clients in the last year and massively improved the response to their marketing, so it's really worth thinking about. Take a look back at your records over the last 12 months and see if you can identify the 20%. Once you have identified them, ask yourself: where are these people? Where do they hang out? If your clients are businesses, they're probably in their office or home office but likely sitting in front of a computer regularly. They are probably on Google, Linkedin and possibly Instagram, Facebook, or even TikTok depending on the type of business. They may be out networking locally. There are so many places they could be - you need to know where they are to be able to connect with them in that place.
Create an Avatar of Your Ideal Client
Consider and note down for each of your target demographics the best way to reach that particular group, and have a think about who they'd be in terms of avatar. An avatar is a figure, an imaginary person who represents your target market. It is a concept that you create to help you visualise your ideal customer, to better understand them and to get inside their head.
Think about the typical demographic characteristics that your ideal client might have. Consider the age they are. What is their income? Are they high school or university educated? Are they married? Do they have children? Whereabouts in the country, or even where in the world do they live? What sort of house are they living in? Maybe it’s a flat or a city centre apartment? What car do they drive? Perhaps they don’t own a car because they are committed to saving the planet? Which phone brand do they use? Are they iPhone or Android? Which supermarkets do they shop in?
All of this will help you really target your marketing, and has already started to cross over into psychographics - this is what motivates people to take action. Consider your ideal client’s behaviors, their values, their hobbies and most importantly: their motivations. What inspires them to take action? What really matters to them? Pain points, or specific challenges are a really key consideration as most individuals act fastest to solve a problem. Pain points might include efficiency, ease of use, time, or value for money.
If your target client is a business rather than an individual, consider what size of business it is. How many employees does it have? How old is the business? How long has it been established? What's the turnover? Where are they based? Which industry are they in? Psychographics also come into play and it is essential to consider what motivates the decision makers in the business to take action, both personally and from a business perspective. It gets more interesting here as there may be several decision makers involved with different psychographics so it’s worth getting clear on who the real decision maker is.
Tailor Your Messaging to Your Target Market
If you list out all of these characteristics one by one for each of your target clients, this will help you to really tailor your messaging to hit that target market. Knowing who they are; where do they hang out; how best to reach them; and what's actually going to motivate them to take action and respond. Be sure to note keywords and phrases that engage and trigger them, and use them in your marketing. Speak to the prospect in a way that connects with their goals and motivations, and their challenges and pain points. Help them to engage with your messaging. Get this right and the response may even be an audible “thats me, I need this!”
Consider Your Target Market’s Common Objections
Consider also, what are the most common objections for clients to do business with you. Objections that often crop up are cost and time. If you know what the objections are that you are coming across, you can equip yourself to answer them and even have client testimonials that you use in your marketing to combat them up front.
That, in a nutshell, is how to grow your business by identifying your target market. It’s an area I highly recommend you spend some time looking at, to be sure that you are getting the best response from your marketing.