I guess it’s safe to say many entrepreneurs struggle with who their ideal clients are and what target market they should be focused on. Some people make the mistake of thinking it is acceptable to have a broad target to avoid leaving anyone out. However, that line of thinking will not get you any results. Defining your target market and honing in on the group of people who are your ideal clients, will help you to streamline the effectiveness of your marketing. In addition; defining a target market helps you to put your wonderful offerings in front of the people who really want it.
First, let’s answer the two questions many people have. What is a target market and why do you need one? A target market is a group of people, (your unique tribe) who want/need your products/services and will buy them. What are ideal clients and why do you need them? Ideal clients are a group of people (who fall into your target market) and are your most loyal customers, who gladly act as brand ambassadors for your business.
Let’s first clear up a misconception about your target market. No, it can’t be anyone with a pulse. And your ideal client can’t be anyone who will buy from you. Remember not all clients are ideal.
Here is a quick 7 point guide with some actionable tips on how you can identify your ideal clients and define your target market.
1. Define your offerings. What are the features and benefits of what you have to offer? List all the features. Make sure to list the features that your target audience wants or needs. List all the benefits. Make sure to list all of the benefits that your target market will receive from doing business with you. Write down the end result that your ideal clients will receive from the experience of doing business with you.
2. Define your target market: Take out a sheet of paper. Make a list of your current clients. On one side write down all the clients you love working with and why. On the other side write down all the clients you hate working with and why. Look for similarities in the people you love working with and hate working with. What are the common denominators for both groups of people? For the group of people you love working with, determine the top 5 characteristics for this group. You have just defined your target. Of course, if you are not in business yet, you must do your research first.
3. Do your research. Find out who needs what you have to offer. Look for common characteristics of the group of people you are best suited to serve. This will help you to define who your target market is. Remember your target market can be broad but your ideal client profile should be narrow. For example if you sell kids toys your target market is people with children. You can get more specific about your ideal clients by creating a niche. For example, if you sell kids toys that are made with recycled products your ideal clients are people who are interested in green living and sustainability. If you arrive at this type of clarity you have created your niche.
4. Review your competitors. Check out other people who offer similar products/services as you. Don’t spend too much time on reviewing the competition, just be aware. It is very important to know how you stack up against the competition. Extend your research into learning what your competitors are offering and for what price. This information will arm you with helpful ways to position your offerings as different and more compelling. Remember it is always a good idea to remind your target market about your unique difference.
5. Create your Ideal Client Profile. You must translate your target market into a profile of the type of person who you will most enjoy working with and who will get the biggest benefit from your product or service. Essentially, you are going to put a face on your ideal client. Ask yourself these types of questions: What is their age range? What is their gender? Marital status? Where do they live? Where do they work? What’s their income level? Do they have kids? Do they play sports? Do they travel? Make sure you get as much juicy information about your ideal clients as possible. That way, you will be well equipped to speak their language in your marketing. Because whenever you communicate what your business does or offers, you must talk directly to that person in a way that they can relate to.
6. Create specific products/services that your target market wants. Figure out how much your products/services should cost and if this dollar amount is relative to what the market will yield for that item. Remember, there is a direct link to your target market and spending power. You must determine what amount your target market is willing to pay for what you offer. For example, if you design a product for single moms and it is super expensive, you probably won’t do very well. Or if you design a product that is very cheap for elite 6 figure business professionals, you probably won’t do well there either. The key is knowing the sweet spot in terms of what will work for the audience you are trying to reach.
7. Evaluate and adjust. Once you have a clear idea about your target audience and who your ideal clients are, as well as how your products/services are going to help them, you must evaluate and make adjustments when necessary. Determine if there are really enough people in your target market to sustain your business model. Ask yourself this: Are there enough people out there who need what I am offering? Will these people get tremendous value from what I’m offering? Will these people pay the price that I am asking? Can they afford it? How will I get access to the people who most need what I have to sell? After you’ve have thoroughly answered these questions, make changes if needed.
It’s OK to have a few different niches. But don’t go changing things without properly testing what works and what doesn’t. Finally, just because you have defined your target market as being X doesn’t mean you can’t change it. Just don’t make excessive changes because there’s much to be said for consistency.