Do you know what makes your customer tick? Oh sure, you’ve spent a lot of time making sure that your product or service is viable. But is it possible that as you try to be all things to all people, you have forgotten to connect with your perfect customer? I mean, after all, everyone NEEDS your product, so shouldn’t you just market to everyone? The trap of trying to reach everyone is a mistake that a lot of small business owners make. And here’s why it won’t work…not every marketing message will work for every person. And by trying to market your product to everyone, you won’t target the right audience and fail to connect with YOUR ideal customer! So before you spend any money on lead generation, branding, or marketing you need to learn who this ideal customer of your is.
You need to discover your niche market by studying the characteristics and behavioral patterns of your perfect customer. You should know the following things about your target customer:
Do they travel or live and work within a certain state and community? Does your ideal customer live healthy or unhealthy lifestyles? Where do they live: rural or urban areas? Do they live in a house or an apartment? What events do they attend or maybe they have special interests, hobbies, or belong to specific groups or associations? Is your perfect or target customer a technology geek and do they use iPhones or Androids? Do they purchase online or brick and mortar? Where are they spending their time on social media? What magazines do they read? What movies do they watch? Which burning problem keep them up at night? And how can you solve it?
Hint: If your product or service is in the B2B (business to business) market, then research the business down to the decision maker and then answer the same questions about them.
At the end of the day, to avoid the mistake of targeting everyone, you must understand who buys from you and why they do. Do they buy from you to satisfy a basic need like food or shelter? Or is it a luxury. Does your product or service potentially solve a problem for them? Maybe your product or service is something that makes people feel good about themselves. The more you specifically fashion your message for your ideal customer, the more strongly they will be drawn to you and what you have to offer because it fits with their specific character and buying habits.
If you are a new business, and you don’t know who your customer base is just yet. You will do what most people do, and form a theory and test it. Why does your company exist? Why are you going to be chosen over your competition? Why do you charge what you charge? Even companies that have been around a while know that you must always stay test and refine mode in order to move forward and grow.
You will hear me say this often but, you don’t need a big ad agency to build a BIG Brand. Advertising and marketing really are as simple as understanding what’s important to someone, telling them in their language about the things that mean the most to them, and showing them how your product or service can meet their need. No mystery or wizardry involved, just an understanding of who wants or needs your product or service.
I know that trying to discover with the smallest market possible may feel counter-intuitive just starting out, but the key is to find a very narrow group, with very specific demographics or a very specific problem or need and create a raving fan base out of this group. You can always expand your reach after you gain some traction, but you can also become a big player in the smaller market as you grow. The thing is, when you discover your initial ideal client it should impact the thinking about your basic business model and overall marketing goals. All great business models are customer focused and now that you have a picture of this customer, it’s time to consider how to market to your ideal customer.
Your marketing materials should be professional and look customized and personal so that your customer knows you think of them as an individual and understand their particular wants or needs. Every part of your branding should be consistent, from your advertising to your business cards. With today’s cost-effective digital printing, you really don’t have an excuse for not investing in yourself and your brand.
Your brand needs to speak to your target customer in a language that clearly relates to them, if they feel disconnected they will tune you out, and you will have wasted your marketing dollars. And using laser printed marketing materials and free business cards look painfully cheap and unprofessional, and customers notice. Most generally when cost is analyzed, it does not save you enough money to justify the loss of brand quality. These generic marketing materials do not capture the look and feel of an established brand, it says that you don’t want to spend the money because you may not be here next month. Your marketing materials must show that you do, in fact not only know who your customers are, but more importantly understand their wants, needs, and concerns. And how you address those things, well that becomes your brand. It’s as simple as that.