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Starting and running a business takes a lot of time, effort, and research. As a business owner you will spend countless hours building relationships, perfecting your craft or products, writing and editing content, and doing everything you need to make your business a success. It’s more than a full time job for sure! It can be easy to get caught up doing any variety of tasks and overlook important specifics about your brand and marketing strategy, like who exactly you’re trying to target. According to the business dictionary your target audience or target market is a: Particular group of people, identified as the intended recipient of an advertisement or message. Also called target population.
Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/target-audience.html
Okay, so you may be thinking it would be really dim of someone to overlook who they are marketing to, but it’s actually really easy to lose sight of, or never properly define, your target audience. You may even find that you think your target market is a specific demographic, but then when you look at your metrics you’re drawing in a completely different crowd! THAT HAPPENS!! You may also find yourself in a situation where you simply don’t seem to be connecting with others and growing your presence. In that situation you may not have taken the time to properly define your target demographic, or perhaps you haven’t taken the time to understand them, where they are at, and what will attract them.
Having a defined target market is part of the brand identity development process, and basic brand strategy. When you work with a good brand strategist or brand stylist, they should be helping you to define who your ideal customers are. When you know who your targeting you can develop better marketing strategy around that audience. However, if you are DIYing your branding, just starting out, or for any reason just haven’t stopped to define your ideal clients, this article will show you how!
When you stop and take the time to define your target demographic you will get a really important piece in the branding and marketing puzzle. Having a defined target audience will give you direction into the styling of your brand, what social media platforms to use, the types of content that will be relevant to your target market, and so much more. Here are ten questions that I use as part of my client branding process to help both myself and my clients get to know their business and their customer profile. These questions help me style the brands I work with and help my customers be thoughtful and conscious in their content creation and marketing efforts.
Customer Profile Template:
1. Basic Demographics: You may not need to fill in each item but take a few thoughtful moments to consider the basic demographic information of who you are targeting.
a. Age range:
c. Marital Status and Family Info:
2. Additional: Now you should think about more specifics, get into the mind of your ideal customer, what they like to do, what’s important to them, etc.
3. What is their attitude and how do they think?
4. What difficulties do your customers experience that would lead them to your business?
5. How do you and your business solve these issues?
6. What objections do they have toward your products or services?
7. Where/to whom else do your customers go to solve these issues? (competitors?)
8. How are your customers connecting with your business? (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
a. How do they prefer to communicate?
9. How would new customers find your business? (Web traffic? Social media? Word of mouth?)
10. What makes them pick you over the competition?
You should really try to get into character and while you don’t need to write a novel, make sure your answers are thoughtful and truly in line with who you’d like to see buying your products or services. Here is an example!
Customer Profile Example:
A women’s premium fitness apparel shop that specializes in artistic and illustrative shirt and tank top prints as well as sublimated leggings.
a. Age range: 25-45
b. Gender(s): Female
c. Marital Status and Family Info: Single or Married
d. Education: Any, but mostly college degree
e. Occupation(s): Any, but most likely full time employment
f. Income: $40,000+ single, $80,000+ married
Additional: Now you should think about more specifics. Get into the mind of your ideal customer – what they like to do, what’s important to them, etc.
g. Hobbies/Activities: Running, hiking, yoga, lifting weights, healthy eating, cooking. They also really like art and beautiful designs.
h. Values: Health, wellness, and aesthetics
i. Goals: Live happy, healthy, and always improve
j. Hopes/Fears: They hope for happy, healthy lives, a healthy family, and to be in great shape. They hope for a nice home, nice clothing, and nice things. They fear not reaching their goals, not building the life they dream of.
k. Other: It’s very likely their friends and loved ones are health conscious, they may be lifestyle bloggers, artists, cooks, moms.
What is their attitude and how do they think?
- They have a positive, upbeat, and bright mindset. They like happy thoughts and happy things, they like bright colors. They tend to think about things with a positive spin, and even when they have a bad day they persevere.
What difficulties do your customers experience that would lead them to your business?
- They are looking for cool, comfortable, and unique gym apparel that doesn’t look like everything else out there. They like high quality and want something that fits well, looks good, and stands up to their workouts.
How do you and your business solve these issues?
- My business makes illustrative pieces that we print on sweaters, shirts, and leggings. We use high quality materials and since each piece is from our collection of art everything is unique, and you can’t find them anywhere else.
What objections do they have with your products or services?
- An objection could be price, we put a lot of time and effort into our pieces and we use high quality material, so we are priced as a premium brand.
Where/to whom else do your customers go to solve these issues? (competitors?)
- I think they probably shop at Lulu, Fabletics, Under Armour, etc. However, these places don’t have the designs we have. They probably seek out art prints on websites like Society 6 or Red Bubble. They shop at local boutiques.
How are your customers connecting with your business? (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
- They connect with us on Instagram and Facebook, or through our website. They are definitely active Instagrammers! Lifestyle and fitness pictures and videos! Plus motivational and inspirational posts.
How do they prefer to communicate?
- I think social media for connecting and email for customer service. They are on the go so these would be easiest for them.
How would new customers find your business? (Web traffic? Social media? Word of mouth?)
- Definitely social media, mainly Instagram. They could also find us online through our blog since we put out awesome recipes and post weekly workouts.
What makes them pick you over the competition?
- Definitely how unique and beautiful our pieces are. We are illustrators who love fitness, so our designs stand out! We also have great quality items and while we aren’t cheap we are a solidly priced premium brand.
Woo! Okay, hopefully this gives you a good idea of how you should be answering these questions! As you can see from this exercise, the client was able to point out Instagram as being a popular place for their customers to be or to find them. They were also able to list things that attracts their customer - lifestyle, inspirational posts, bright colors, etc. From this alone I can get a sense of what their brand looks and feels like, how I would identify their content, and it gives great insight into what they should be doing in order to reach their ideal customers.
I highly encourage you to take the time to go through this exercise on your own! Defining your target market and creating a customer profile is branding 101 stuff! Once you can get inside the head of your dream clients you can grow your business and stop wasting time marketing to the wrong people, or on the wrong platforms. Knowing your target audience will help you create content that is relevant and interesting to your customers and will help make running your business easier too!
Do you know your target audience? Is there anything else that you find especially useful to brand and market your business to the right crowd? I’d love to hear from you! Please be sure to comment below!
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