When it comes to marketing your business, you have so many options to choose from. The trick to selecting the most effective marketing methods is to know your target audience.
Some careful thought here will allow you to zoom in on your target demographic and focus your efforts to suit that specific crowd.
Let’s take a closer look
A successful business plan addresses the what, who, and how of your unique business. Take some time to ask yourself these three very important questions:
1) What do I have to offer?
Do you have special knowledge or expertise? What sort of products or services would you like to market? We’ll look at some specific examples in a minute.
2) Who would be most interested in this?
Although you might have a variety of customers, try to narrow it down to a focused target. Figure out the demographic categories that fit your business. The age, gender, education, income, lifestyle, and location of your primary audience are important things to consider for your business strategy. You would use very different techniques to reach a teenage or young adult audience than you would if you were aiming for older adults or seniors.
3) How can I reach my target audience?
Choose marketing tools that would appeal to your chosen demographic. To help you figure this out, think of your options as a “marketing buffet.”
The marketing buffet
You have a bountiful buffet of marketing techniques to pick from!
Let’s look at the menu:
- Web Design – from bold, bright, and fun to conservative, calming, or serious.
- Content and Message Tone – from simple, technical, funny, personal, or professional.
- Promotions – from engaging prizes and giveaways, free samples, trial offers, coupons or discounts.
- Audio and Visual – from big, bright pictures, discreet icons, flashy banners, sleek and subtle ads, videos, slideshows, sound effects, music, and recordings.
Side Dishes and Desserts:
- Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.
- Engagement Tricks – surveys and polls, feedback and comments, interaction.
Now think about your target demographic and imagine that you have a plate to fill – you can only put so much on it! Do you want to go heavy on the content, light on the promotions, with a sprinkling of testimonials? Maybe you want a big serving of audio and visual with a hearty portion of social media?
Remember that this plate is not for you! You’ll serve it to your target audience. What would they want?
WHAT is your business?
Mary is an easy-going gal. She loves her career as an early childhood educator, but she recently became a mom and had opted to switch to a work-at-home career.
She’s passionate about childhood literacy and education and has some valuable knowledge and experience to share. She wants to offer enriching educational children’s products and services.
With her entrepreneurial spirit and creativity, she launched her first business: Mary’s Baby Books & Gifts.
Jane is a witty woman. She’s a successful certified financial planner and has even authored a book about retirement planning. She also takes care of her aging parents. Due to their increasing needs, Jane wants to work-from-home so she can be more available to help them.
Her life mission is to help people achieve financial freedom by making smart money management choices. She offers clever strategies and in-depth knowledge of personal finance options.
Because of her new work-at-home lifestyle choice, she’s launched Jane’s Retirement Planning.
WHO are you trying to reach?
Although Mary might have some customers that are grandparents or simply people looking for gift ideas, she’s elected to zoom in on new moms as her primary target audience. These are younger women, about age 25-35. They’re likely looking for valuable tips, strategies, and products that simplify their busy lives. They also want to give their young ones a good start in life. They’re looking for ideas and products that will nourish their growing minds. Although some new moms may be financially well off, the majority of them will be frugal. New parents have new expenses! They may splurge from time to time, but they’d be very interested in good deals, frugal finds, and freebies.
Jane knows that potential personal investors need to have at least some money, but she’s decided to focus on professionals nearing retirement. These folks will be relatively well educated, successful adults who earn professional incomes. They’re looking for some serious strategies to grow their savings and potentially achieve early retirement. Their careers keep them quite busy, so they’d likely be willing and able to pay for professional financial planning. They’d shop around for trustworthy advisors. They’ll be looking for a proven track record, credibility, and perhaps some testimonials from their peers.
HOW should you market to your target audience?
It’s time for Mary and Jane to fill their plates at the Marketing Buffet.
Mary feels that her audience would enjoy a fun, easy-going website. New moms are tired! They’d appreciate some relaxation and a good laugh. Mary will keep her content fairly simple without compromising quality. She’ll use audio/visual aids to engage the busy and bleary-eyed moms. She’ll host exciting contests, prizes and giveaways to create some “buzz” – and hopefully, entice her audience to come back for more.
For Jane, it’s crucial that prospective clients feel that she is trustworthy, competent, and knowledgeable. Would you put your savings in the hands of a stranger? Jane presents herself as professional and wise. She includes a well written “resume” of her accreditations and accomplishments. She posts testimonials of satisfied clients. She adds a personal touch by including a friendly but professional photo of herself and sprinkles her writing with clever wit and the occasional anecdote. With this personalization, she’ll seem like less of a “stranger,” but a down-to-earth, likable, and accessible woman.
By taking the time to learn who your target audience is, you'll have a much easier time deciding where and how to market your small business. For more information on defining your target audience, check out this extensive guide from QuickSprout.
Have you taken the time to define your target audience? What helpful tips do you have? Drop us a note; we'd love to hear from you. If you enjoyed this post — please share it on your favorite social media site.
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Julianna Coderre is a work-at-home writer and consultant. She is the author and manager of the blog; Girlfriends Guide to Transcription and producer of WAHT Videos.