5 questions to define your target audience BEFORE you start marketing your marketing plan

You can’t target everyone. One of the biggest mistakes that most businesses make in their  marketing plan, is by thinking they can. They believe that their target market is defined as the people they want to sell to. So they cast their net too wide, thinking “I want to sell to everyone”.

Let’s re-frame that. It’s more helpful to think of your target audience as the group of people that are the most likely to buy from you. When you think of it this way, you can see how much more cost-effective it is to target your efforts on these people; as opposed to wasting your precious resources on people that you may want to sell to, but who are much less likely to buy. 

Important note: Targeting your market doesn’t mean missing out on any sales (which is why most businesses are afraid of doing it). What it actually means is dialling in on the people that you are most likely to serve. 

If you want to be intentional about your marketing, be intentional about WHO you want to reach, and focus all your efforts on them. 

If you’re struggling to gain sales, the chances are that “niching down” on the audience you serve will help. 

But how do you define your target audience?

1. Who are the people who have the problem you solve?

People only buy from you because they have a problem, and they’re hoping that your product/service will solve it. So the obvious questions are what problem do you solve, and who has that problem? Answer this question well and you are making some serious headway already. 

2. Side note: It’s best to target people who have the problem you solve and know it. If they are totally unaware that they’ve got a problem, they won’t be actively looking for you. So they’ll be much harder to reach and convert to paying customers. 

3. Who do you already serve?

Look at your customer list and find commonalities between your most profitable customers and those you most want to serve. They may seem diverse at first but I wouldn’t mind betting that they have a common thread if you look for it. 

4. Think about location, industry, age group, lifestyle; these tend to be the easiest to answer. So, this is where most marketers stop. Although, don’t forget the importance of mindset. What do they think and feel? You’ll get the best insights if you ponder this awhile.

5. Who do you ideally want to serve?

I prefer to think about “ideal markets” rather than “target markets”. Ask yourself which customers you really LIKE and WANT to serve. It’s essential – not only do you spend a lot of time working and serving these people, but the chances are that you have the same values. 

6. Focusing on the people YOU like means that finding customers who will like and trust you enough to buy is going to be a whole lot easier. 

7. Also, because they think a bit like you, they’ll also appreciate what you do and the value you give. What does that mean? Happier customers and more referrals – good business sense. 

8. Where do they hang out?

What do they read, who influences them? What other businesses or brands serve them? What social media channels do they use? Who do they trust? These are important questions as they help you decide where to focus your efforts.

9. Sense check: Can they afford what you have?

Seriously, you don’t want to be serving a market that is continually screwing your prices down. They have to be profitable, so make sure that you choose a market that can afford what you offer and is willing to pay for it. It’s why you are in business after all.

Once you’ve considered these points, write it all down and create a pen portrait. There is going to be a good deal of guess-work in this but don’t worry, it’s a great place to start. You can always refine your assumptions later.

Now you have profiled your audience, what next?

Find the people who love what you do, and value you for it. Now you know who it’s for, your job of marketing just became a whole lot easier but the work doesn’t stop here. Now you should be much clearer on what to say and how to say it, to attract the audience you so dearly want to serve. 

Define your target audience with Cornish Marketing

Need help defining your audience? Get in touch for a free one-hour marketing consultation, I’ll be happy to help.

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