Marketing Made Easy Lesson 2 – Identify Your Target Audience

Who is your Target Audience?  Who truly wants your products and services and why?

It is a simple question, but I’m frequently surprised that most small business owners can’t describe their target audience let alone describe the reasons why they purchase their products or services.  Some will say “everyone in the city can use my service”.  You may believe that, but it is highly unlikely that everyone in a defined marketplace is going to purchase from just one company.  It just doesn’t happen, unless you have a monopoly and the chances of that are pretty slim.

Other business owners give a vague description like “women, 35-45 years of age”, but don’t appear to have thought much beyond the age of their audience, such as what motivates them to purchase their merchandise or visit their store.

Why does it matter who buys from me and why they buy?

Because if you understand your target audience, then you have a better chance of reaching them through the right media, presenting them with the right messages and a more appealing image of your business thereby creating more success for your business.  Think of it this way.  Rather than using a shot gun spraying your efforts to anyone who will listen, you will be using a rifle, zeroing in on the right audience with the right message.  This approach is less expensive and yields higher results, which is what you really want.  Right?

How else can you define your target audience?

Obviously it depends on your business, but go beyond age to include income levels or typical neighborhoods where they might live.  Think about other places where they might shop.  Only top-end stores or do they only shop for bargains?  What is the size of their family?  Are they new families with young kids or retired empty nesters?

For some, it may help to think of your IDEAL customer(s).  The one guy or gal where making the sale is easy and where it seems that what you offer and what they want are perfect fits.  Describe that person in great detail, just like you were describing them to a friend.  How do they look?  How would you describe their personality?  What would they typically wear?

You can also do this exercise if you offer professional services or sell to other businesses.  Not all businesses will purchase your equipment or services.  Which are the most likely candidates?  How many employees do they have, what type of industries do they represent, how long have they been in business?  What values do they exhibit in their business dealings with their customers?  How are they positioned in their market, low-price, high quality or somewhere between?

Paint a descriptive picture of your target audience.  Use whatever data you may have on hand to help you paint that picture.  Your memory, sales records, customer database, industry data, etc.

Once you have a mental description of your target audience, identify the reasons why they purchase what they purchase.  What motivates them to select these types of clothes or that particular package of services?  Try to get into their heads so you can better understand what makes them tick.  If need be, ask them informally why they select the products they do.

Fill out the target audience information in the TMB’s Marketing Made Easy Template.  Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, etc.  Just get down a description that will paint a picture in your mind and that will remind who you will be communicating with in your new marketing efforts.

If you have any questions about your target audience or about the Marketing Made Easy Lessons, feel free to ask below.  I read the comments and am happy to answer any questions.

Next, we’re going to discuss your competition.

Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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