If ever there was a cornerstone of marketing and business, it is finding your target market. AKA your avatar. AKA your audience. AKA your niche. AKA your future customer. AKA your starting point.
It is the cornerstone of business because everyone has different wants, needs and passions. Everyone responds to different things. Everyone has different priorities.
Yes, it would be great if everyone in the world wanted your product or service or information. And perhaps they could if you marketed it to them in a way that spoke to them. As Seth Godin puts it:
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”
Can you imagine how hard it would be to translate the marketing of your offering to fit each and every individuals wants or needs. How difficult to develop relationships and tell stories that relate to everyone. That’s just too much work!
Instead, start with one target market you can approach best. This can be the the market you’ve had the greatest success with to date, it could be the one you relate to most or the one you feel most passionate about. Start there, build that market, learn lessons and if you feel you need to concentrate on another one.
It all comes down to the classic question: How do you eat an Elephant? Answer: One Bite at a Time.
There are two popular approaches to describing your customers: Creating an “Avatar” or creating a full profile. Sometimes it helps to do both.
In this article I explain both of these processes and for the second one I’ve put together an epic worksheet. 9 pages to help you define who your target customer is. Get it here (no email address required)
But First… A couple of things to set the scene to make this relevant to you and your situation.
If your business is totally new, this can be a daunting process but I promise it is worth it. It will make everything else easier when you are creating your products, campaigns, website and much more.
If you are stuck, have a think about yourself and your habits. Or who you were in the past. As a small business owner many times the influence for the business is a need that you have or had. So this could likely be a description of yourself!
If your business is already up and running, you have a great head start. Who are your customers already? Could you group a large proportion of them into one profile? Can you contact some of them to get some feedback on your offerings and what more they would like help with?
If your target market is a business, club or association, I’ve got that covered too in the download with a section unique to this often-neglected situation. In this case not only do you profile the business and their needs but also the profile of the decision makers.
If your business model is built around an advertising sales model such as a blog org magazine, you may need to create two avatars or profiles. The most important one of course is your readership as this generates the traffic that advertisers are interested in. But in addition you will still need to think about who those advertisers could be and what will appeal to them.
OK now that’s out of the way, lets get to it!
Option 1: Creating an Avatar
An Avatar is basically a way of describing your target market as an individual. It is usually a paragraph or two in which you give your customer a name, age and basic demographic information. You also describe what they do, what is important to them and what their need is that you can fulfill.
This is often useful because as you are creating anything for your business you can always think about “Jane” and if it applys to her.
Here’s an example for a Personal Training Business:
“Katrina is 32 years old and in a cross roads in her life. She is a new mum and struggling with balancing everything that comes with it.
She used to love to exercise before her pregnancy, hitting the gym multiple times a week but now she just feels exhausted and it is difficult to get out to exercise with a baby or toddler in tow. Add to that her part-time work and other ambitions and you have a full plate.
Katrina knows that she would feel a lot better about herself if she did exercise but is overwhelmed by the prospect. She would love to feel fit and healthy again.
She really needs someone that can cater to her needs and keep her accountable.”
Option 2: Creating a Profile
Unlike an Avatar, a profile goes a bit deeper. Into almost every aspect of their lives. I like to frame it around the 6 Key Questions: Who, Where, What, Why, How and When.
The Target Market Worksheet you can get here goes into the below questions and more. It also includes a section specifically for B2B sales.
WHO ARE THEY?
This is the demographics (Age, Gender, Marital status, etc) and the Lifestyle (hobbies & interests, personality, life stage).
This is also characteristics that are unique to your business and industry. For example you might be offering nutritional advice to people with specific health issues.
WHERE ARE THEY?
Offline – Where they live, visit and what media they consume.
Online – This is where they frequent online. Which social media channels are they on? Which websites do they visit?
WHAT DO THEY NEED?
This is all about what problem they need solving or what would make their life easier. What can you help them to achieve?
This is what motivates, what drives them to make a change in the first place. What is important to them, what are they passionate about.
HOW DO THEY MAKE DECISIONS?
Do they do it quickly or do they need a lot of convincing? Are there people in their life that have a strong influence on the decision.
WHEN DO THEY BUY?
With your product or service in mind, are there times of year when they are more likely to purchase. What about times of day?
I really encourage you to take the time to go through the workbook and think about who your ideal customer is. It will make all the other decisions about your marketing so much easier.
Stuck? Ask any questions you might have in the comments below and I will get back to you!
Main Blog Image sourced from Unsplash