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So exactly who are your customers? Who is most likely going to buy your product or service? Assumptions can lead to poor decisions, bad pricing, the wrong marketing strategy, and ultimately, business failure.
The most successful small businesses understand that only a limited number of people will buy their product or service. The task then becomes about determining, as closely as possible, exactly who those people are, and targeting the business’s marketing efforts and dollars towards them.
You will build a better, stronger business, by identifying and serving a particular customer group – your target market. One of the first things you need to do is to refine your product or service so that you are not trying to be all things to all people. Become a specialist!
People purchase products or services for three basic reasons:
- To satisfy basic needs
- To solve problems
- To make themselves feel good
You’ll need to determine which of those categories your product or service is the solution to, and be prepared to market it accordingly. Be aware though that your product or service may fit more than one category.
The next step in creating an effective marketing strategy is to zero in on your target market. You can define your target market by using market segmentation.
Consider, what is the demographic of your perfect customer?
- Age: children, teens, young, middle, elderly
- Gender: male, female
- Education: high school, college, university
- Income: low, medium, high
- Marital status: single, married, divorced
- Ethnic and/or religious background
- Family life cycle: newly married, married for ten to twenty years, with or without children
Next, you need to segment the market as much as possible using psychographics as your guide. (Psychographics is the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests and lifestyles).
- Lifestyle: conservative, exciting, trending, economical
- Social class: lower, middle, upper
- Opinion: easily led, or opinionated
- Activities and interests: sports, physical fitness, shopping, books
- Attitudes and beliefs: environmentalist, security-conscious
If you are a B2B business (B2B refers to business conducted between two businesses such as wholesaler to retailer), you’ll also need to consider the types of industries that are available to you. The number of employees, annual sales volumes, location, company stability, etc. In addition, you might want to find out how they purchase: seasonally, locally, only in volume, and most importantly who makes these decisions?
Watch why being clever about targeting your market can boost sales
It is crucial to note that businesses, unlike individuals, buy products or services for different reasons:
- To increase revenue
- To maintain the status quo
- To decrease expenses
- To be seen as a good corporate citizen
If you fill one or more of these corporate needs, you may have found a target market. Remember, your target customers are those who are most likely to buy from you. Not defining your target market can be expensive and a waste of valuable time.
There are numerous methods of getting information to your target market. You might reach them through face-to-face networking; cold-calling; telemarketing; social media; podcasting; blogging; or past clients and referrals. As long as your focus is on your niche, you will at least be ahead of the rest in your field who continue to use the scatter-gun approach.
This is an extract from Good Girls Do Sell: The Modern Businesswoman’s Guide to Authentic Selling by Janeen Vosper – designed to empower you to feel confident in every sales exchange.