You have a small business, you write beautifully crafted content, you engage on social media – but you’re still not selling. Why?
When you have a business, the ultimate decision about whether they are going to buy from you or not lies with your customers or potential customers. You can do as much as you possibly can to persuade people to buy your products or services, but without a strategy that provides personalised experiences for your ideal customer, you’re not likely to make many sales.
When you know who your target audience is and have a comprehensive understanding of who you’re talking to, you can create the right kind of content to attract that target audience. By having your own small business, you are competing with hundreds of other businesses who do the same as you, so having a marketing strategy is imperative to stopping your messages falling on deaf ears!
Why does your target audience matter?
I’d say that knowing your target audience is the most important part of your marketing strategy, for these reasons:
- If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one. You don’t want to appeal generally to everyone out there, you need to appeal strongly to a specific group of people who are likely to want to do business with you…people you have a connection with.
- If you know exactly who your audience are, you know what their pain points, or problems are. You can see their problems from their perspective and what obstacles they need to overcome to solve those problems. Then you can think about how your business can provide those solutions with your products or services.
- Knowing your audience’s problems, you can work out how to market the solutions you have to their problems. You can show them how the features and benefits of your products/services can help them and why you are best suited to do that.
- When you are creating content and forming new relationships with potential customers, you need to be able to speak their language. By this, I mean using the same terms and phrases that they use to describe their problems. Then you can build relationships by using that language to show that your business can solve those problems.
- You target audience can also teach you how you can create better products and services that suit them best. You can use the understanding you have of their problems, along with any feedback
How do you identify your target audience?
Identifying your target market is all about three things: Demographics, Geographics and Psychographics.
- What is their age and gender?
- Are they married or living together?
- Do they have children?
- What do they do for a living?
- If you know what they do for a living, what is their rough income?
- Do they own their own home?
You can usually gain demographic information from your existing customers by simply talking to them. Social media accounts can also give you relevant demographic information. If your customers are on Facebook, for example, you can usually see information like date of birth, relationship status – people seem to love to share about their lives on social media, so you will probably see if they have children or grandchildren, what they do for a living etc.
- You could also get this information from feedback you get. For example, if you make and produce quality rag dolls, you may have feedback that says, “Love your product, my daughter/grand-daughter loves her doll and hasn’t put it down since she received it.” This tells you that your customer is a Mum and Grandma and that she likes buying things for her grandchildren.
- Knowing the demographics of your existing customers makes it easier to tailor your marketing accordingly.
- If you’re not sure who your target market it, go to Google and research some of your competitors, people who do the same as you, and look at their marketing techniques. Who are they targeting and how? What are the messages they are sending out? What images do they use? What media do they use to advertise? You will then have an idea of what direction you should be aiming for with your business.
This is the simplest – where do your target market live? Are they local to you? Just in a particular region? In the same country, but miles away – nationwide? Or international – in other countries?
Psychographics – why customers buy what they do
If demographics look at who your customers are, psychographics take you a bit further into their lives to find out why they buy the things they do. What motivates them and what makes them tick.
Psychographics include things like:
- Religious beliefs
- Spending habits
- Lifestyle choices
If you combine the data you collect on the demographic and psychographics of your customers, you can paint a picture of what your potential buyer (or your buyer persona) will look like and who they are. Let’s have a look at one example …
Let’s say you’ve done your research, and this is what you have discovered…
- Female, aged 40 – 55
- Married with children
- Household income around £45,000
- Stay at home Mum who works part-time
- Interested in health and fitness
- Likes to be eco-friendly
- Is an active member on Facebook and Pinterest
- Likes socialising with her small group of friends
- Loves cooking
This demonstrates the difference between the two sets of data and why it’s important to gain both – you have more insight into what your customers might like. Then you can look at your products to see what would interest this kind of customer.
How do you make this relate to your business…and therefore your marketing? I’ll share some examples…
If you have a crafting business, for example, and your crafting activities were soap making or candle making, you’d know that this customer likes natural ingredients that are environmentally friendly and safe for children, so that could be part of your marketing angle.
If you are in the catering industry, making cakes or preserves, she might be interested in special birthday cakes for her family or in your preserves and pickles that use natural ingredients.
Her children are likely to have birthday parties and her friends are likely to have children of a similar age, so anything you make from a crafting perspective may be of interest – bunting for parties, toys, jewellery, etc. And as she enjoys socialising with her small group of friends, she may be interested in hosting an at-home party to buy your craft products.
Where to find her
Once you have this data, you’ll also know where to find her and this is especially important. She may attend local fitness clubs or gyms; she may visit a local spa; she will enjoy lunches out at restaurants or bars with her group of friends. This is where you could leave your flyers and business cards.
Now you know what your customer looks like and what she’s interested in, you can tailor blogs to suit her, you can make products you know she’ll like, and you can find out if she has any particular problem that your products can solve.
How do your customers like to buy their products?
These days, I would hazard a guess that most of your customers will want to look at products/services online before they buy. They have such a wide choice that it’s important you make yours stand out. People spend their commute to work, breaks, lunch hour, evenings and weekends online, usually browsing through social media sites or looking for something specific. If you are not on these platforms then your products/services will not be found.
Social Media is a great way to promote your products or services and to advertise what you do. But you also must bear in mind that not everyone is on social media. If your target market is in the older age bracket, they may prefer not to be on social media, so you will have to reach them another way.
Even though they don’t do social media, your target audience probably still uses the internet to search for things they want. You could set up an online shop.
A website is a crucial business tool – you can link it to your Social Media sites and vice versa. A website can help you reach a wider audience – it gives you a shop front that is open 24/7 – you can even sell when you are sleeping, and you can sell to anyone in the world!
You can put more information about yourself and your business and products or services that you can on social media and, if you have an online shop, you can point your customers to that site. Whatever you choose to do, there is always a marketing technique to support it. If you have a website, you can also choose to add a blog, which could also be a fabulous tool to write about your individual products or services … just another way to get your name/business out there.
I hope this article has given you the inspiration and information to dig deep into your target audience in more detail. I know that once you have all the relevant information, you’ll stand a much better chance of marketing your products or services in the right way…and get those sales.
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