You’re at the top of your game. You’ve got an unbelievable product that everyone needs, or a service that people just can’t live without. Your target is everyone. Literally, everyone! But when you take a step back to think about it, you realize that targeting everyone isn’t practical. We’ve been down this road with many clients and many industries, and we’ve found that limiting your marketing efforts to a specific target audience can help you quickly grow a loyal customer base faster than you imagined. The key is to refine your online target market by creating a buyer persona. This article will help you understand what a buyer persona is and how to create one (or a few) that make sense for your business.
Keep in mind that defining your target audience in it’s simplest form means that you have a focused marketing strategy. Customers outside of your target market can still find their way to your product or service, so don’t worry that you’re not reaching “everyone”.
In order to begin to develop or refine your online targeting strategy, write down the answers to these questions to help zero in on your target audience:
1. What Need Does Your Product or Service Fulfill?
It all comes down to what you’re offering. What benefit do customers get from your product? And who needs those benefits most? At this point, it’s fine to brainstorm multiple customer personas. A buyer personas is a fictional, generalized representation of your ideal customer. Personas help everyone in your company (marketing, sales, product, and service) understand the ideal customer that you are trying to attract. When every part of your business team has a deep understanding of your buyer persona, the team can best drive content creation, product development, sales follow up, and anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention. The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as on insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.). Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 5 or 10.
If you own a skincare company, for example, you might carry a line targeted at older women concerned about aging skin. However, you know that a younger crowd could also benefit from using anti-aging products in their twenties. Keep both groups in mind as you move to the next question.
2. Who Are Your Typical Customers?
Who is already buying your product? Gather all the information available on your current customers, which may include age, gender, location, and buying habits. Many companies collect additional information through customer satisfaction surveys.
In our skin care example, let’s say you collect customers’ zip codes whenever they make a purchase. You also have a rewards program that has names, birthdays, and purchase history. Using this information, you find that the majority of your program participants are under 30, but tend to make minor purchases. On the other hand, your main products are most popular with women over 40.
You now have two marketing options: focus your efforts on the 20-30 age demographic or encourage customers over 40 to opt into your rewards program.
3. Is this Target Market Feasible?
The final step you should take is to evaluate your new target market. Determine if your business can survive with this group as your main source of customers. Questions to ask include:
- Are there are enough people in this target audience?
- Are they aware of my product/service?
- Is my product/service valuable to them?
- Do I know how to market to this group?
- Can I easily access this group?
Answering “no” to any of these questions doesn’t mean you can’t choose this target audience. However, conducting a thorough evaluation will give you an idea of how much work will be involved in marketing to a particular target group. You certainly do not have to limit yourself to one target market. But do tailor your marketing strategies to capitalize on the most successful ideas for your particular target customer.
Need some more help refining your target customer? Click below to download a FREE Buyer Persona Template and use it to help develop your target customer.