You have a business and you’re gifted at what you do, but you don’t have all the clients you want. You have the sense that you simply do not have an effective target market. This is actually one of the biggest problems you face in marketing your business. Your target market description does not describe real people. You have some sort of fantasy market that doesn’t really exist. You can’t go out and easily identify a prospect or groups where they could be found.
One example of a fantasy market is attempting to sell services that cost several hundreds of dollars a month to a target market that is at the lower end of the pay scale. They don’t have that sort of discretionary funds. That’s a fantasy market. Let’s look at some ideas about how you be sure you are aiming more realistically – at real people.
1. Choose a market that you know well.
Aim to work with those you are familiar with and have knowledge about. This will keep you real and make your marketing much easier. You won’t be guessing or fantasizing about what your prospects SHOULD be like. You’ll be grounded in reality and have a depth of understanding of your target market.
2. If you’re aiming for a market outside your knowledge base, figure out how you can develop expertise.
How can you become familiar with that market? How do you associate with them so that you gain depth of understanding? What must you do to know them well enough to target them? Don’t just imagine that you will be able to win a market that you don’t know. That will not work. You will not seem authentic to them (or to yourself). You’ll experience constant frustration.
3. Determine exactly those ways your target market description does not describe real people.
Is it too inexact? Does it describe factors that don’t fit together (like perceived need and ability to pay)? Does your market believe they need services like yours of do you simply believe that they should realize they need them? Do they see your services as a need – or just a “nice to have”?
4. Is your business “ahead of the curve”?
If your idea is far ahead of the market, you must create the market. There are real people in the market, but there is little or no demand for your services. Of course, there’s probably little competition either, but you’ll need to know how to create the market and demand. It is a long, uphill struggle. Are there ways you could aim differently that would make your business model less of a struggle?
5. Can you identify places a target market prospect and know where you could go to meet real live targeted prospects?
How would you recognize them when they’re right in front of you? Can you write down ten definite, clearly identifiable characteristics? Are you able to rattle off the names of real people who are your target market? Do you know, in great detail, all the issues they are troubled by – that you can solve. If you can’t answer, “yes” to each of these questions, you must detail your target market more deeply.
6. Are your target market prospects real NOW – or would it be most accurate to say they were once real but not so much now?
The conditions may have changed so that your market is disappearing. Do you recognize where that market is moving to? Can you create a real trajectory for transitioning from that old market to a new one? For any factors that are not real now, what do you need to introduce into your target market description to make it real now?
If your target market is not “real people”, you will struggle to succeed in business. A real and functional target market is the solid foundation of a successful business.
Suzi Elton provides business writing that attracts targeted prospects to your service business and converts them into clients for you. She is a Robert Middleton Certified Action Plan Marketing Coach, as well as a professional writer. Her website offers a free series of 8 assessments you can use to analyze your own site.