You may have heard this saying before, as it’s one of our favorites: “Marketing to everyone is marketing to no one.”
What does it mean, exactly?
Although you may think that “everyone” could be your target market, if you don’t get specific with who you’re trying to reach and how you’re able to help them, your messaging is going to end up sounding rather generic, which isn’t going to resonate with anyone. The best kind of marketing is the marketing that makes people feel seen, heard, supported, and understood, which is why it’s crucial to know exactly who your target audience is so you can create customized content towards them.
Are you struggling to nail down exactly who you want to reach? Learn how you can identify your ideal client or customer.
Analyze Your Product or Service and Identify Who Benefits From It
Start by doing a deep dive into your product or service and brain dump all of its features, benefits, and capabilities. From there, for each component of the product or service you just listed, think about the type of person who would get the most out of using your offer. The more creative you get with these characteristics, the better and more granular your marketing will be.
Let’s take our social media management service as an example.
Just a few benefits of our clients hiring us for this service include:
- Getting more time back into their schedule to focus on the revenue-generating activities in their business
- Allowing themselves to not personally have to manage their social media, if it’s something they don’t enjoy doing
- Having a trusted expert on their team who understands their voice, knows what content will work best for them, and will be consistent with their marketing
- Growing their social media accounts, helping to position them as a thought leader or expert in their field
- Streamlining their marketing efforts under one team instead of having multiple people managing things
From there, you can take those benefits and start to think about who would align with them the most, helping you to build out a full ideal client profile.
Build Out More Than One Target Market
People often think that because they can’t market to everyone, they shouldn’t have more than one target market. That certainly isn’t the case, especially if you’re providing products or services that don’t exactly apply to your core target market! It’s absolutely okay to have more than one target market, as long as you’re specific on who those target markets are.
Continuing with the example of outlining our ideal clients for our social media management service, we have two ideal clients:
- Small business owners who only have a handful of team members, none of which have time for marketing with all of other tasks on their plate. They likely don’t have marketing experience, either, and seek a true expert to manage everything for them.
- Larger organizations who have a marketing team or administrative staff members who dabble in some marketing projects that need someone to manage social media specifically, while they handle the rest. They often need an expert who can also collaborate with various staff members on their team to help execute certain projects.
Although we provide the same service to those two types of clients, you can see how they differ, right? That means that the messaging we share for each client profile is different, in order to cater to their varying needs.
All this to say, if you’re building out your target market and realize you actually have more than one, don’t try to shove everything into one profile. Have the different audiences as needed, but be sure to be thorough with your description.
Think About Your Favorite Clients or Customers
If your business already exists and you currently have clients or customers, think about who your favorites are and understand what it is about them that you like so much. You’ll start to notice that your favorite clients will likely have a few similarities, which will help you to understand who your ideal target market is overall.
Ask yourself these questions and check out our responses based on our example for our ideal social media management clients:
- Do we enjoy working with this client because of their industry? We have a handful of clients who are estate planning attorneys, so we’ve actually built that industry into one of our ideal client profiles after realizing how much we enjoy working in that field.
- Does this client “act” a certain way that meshes well with our work? Our favorite clients are the ones who are responsive, pay their invoices on time, and share helpful information and content to use with us. They’re also appreciative of our work and trust us with strategy and execution rather than micromanaging everything.
- Is this client one of our higher-paying clients? The majority of our favorite clients are some of our higher-paying ones, but that’s not necessarily what makes them our favorite. By investing in more services, and therefore having a higher monthly retainer, these clients are the clients who believe in developing a well-rounded content marketing strategy and therefore opt for services beyond just social media. We love working with clients who take every part of the marketing ecosystem into consideration.
- What else makes this client a good fit in our eyes? Oftentimes, our favorite clients are the ones who we view as friends. We have a lot in common, we laugh a lot when in meetings, and we feel passionate about their work.
Using this information, you’ll be able to identify which clients you want to attract more of.
Tweak the Profiles Over Time
Your target markets likely won’t be the same throughout the entirety of your business, and that’s okay — and it’s actually normal. As your services and products evolve, as new competitors pop up, and as your experience increases, the people that you’re able to serve best will adapt over time.
You may also find things that you DON’T want in a client or customer as you begin to work with more people, which is just as important to note as things you do like in clients or customers. Don’t be afraid to shift who you serve throughout time, as you’re only benefiting yourself and your clients / customers more by doing that. Just like everything in business, it’s a work in progress!