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Your ideal customer - who do you want to target?

How to shape your marketing strategy to suit your small business

Marketing is a simple word, so why is the mere sight of those nine letters enough to strike fear into the hearts of some business people?

Is this a hugely complex matter that involves some sort of dark arts that can only be learned by certain people? Maybe the secret to a great marketing campaign can only be passed on to the seventh born child of each marketing manager during a candle-lit ceremony?

The truth is that marketing is a whole lot simpler than you probably imagine it to be. By getting to grips with the basics you will realise that reaching out to customers is actually something that can be carried out by anyone in a logical and common sense way.

Discover Who Is Your Ideal Customer

If you can’t picture your company’s ideal customer then you aren’t yet ready to try and sell anything to anyone. A hit and hope approach to marketing is like throwing a pile of random ingredients into a big pot and hoping to get a tasty meal out of it.

The most likely result is a huge mess that even the dog would turn up his nose at. If you somehow achieve decent results in this way you won’t be able to repeat the success because you don’t really know what you did anyway.

Is a young, professional woman going to rave about what you offer or is an older man with lots of leisure time more likely to be attracted to what you do?

Is it someone with spare cash to spend on luxuries or is it more likely to be a person who is counting their pennies and looking for a bargain right now?

You may be tempted to appeal to a few different groups of people, just like huge brands such as Amazon, Google, Ford and Samsung do. However, the teams behind those massive brands know that they have an incredibly widespread appeal and eye-watering marketing budgets to take advantage of.

Appeal to Your Ideal Customers

How will you appeal to the demographic groups that are most likely to be interested?  Start off by admitting that it’s fine that not everyone will love you.

You don’t need them and they don’t need you. Feels good saying it out loud, right? This is very liberating as well as being great for your blood pressure.

In this way, you can focus all of your attention on getting the interest of those potential customers who meet your criteria. Get them hooked in and you can consider it a job well done no matter what the rest of the world thinks.

This process of finding out how to appeal to these beautiful people with impeccable taste (not that you’re at all biased) can be done through market research.

For example, you could study reports on the industry compiled by other people, get out to do market research on the streets or maybe use social media as a way of gauging the current market conditions and demand.

Simply put, you need to find out what they want and how they want it.

What Makes Your Product or Service Special?

The next step is to work out what makes you their best option. You are their best option, aren’t you?

Unless you are offering something truly revolutionary then there are other options out there to choose from. Ignoring them won’t make them go away, unfortunately, so you need to be more attractive in one way or another.

Are you cheaper, better or more convenient to buy from? Maybe you have a strong brand that they are already a fan of due to something else that you offer?

Perhaps you are faster or smarter or just nicer to speak to. Think about your strong points and how to make them more obvious through your brand.

If you can’t find a single reason why people should choose you then your chances of success are going to be hovering somewhere around the zero mark. Therefore, before going any further you are going to want to find a way of becoming the first choice that people think of when they want whatever you offer.

Carry Out Tests

Does your offering give the quality and value that will bring you success? It is all very well knowing what your target audience wants but you then have to deliver it as well or they will just see you as being a big bag of empty promises.

If you manage to get people to try you out and the results are a disaster then they won’t be back. Do you remember the times you were excited about a new product but ended up feeling let down by the quality when you finally tried it?

I bet the memory of something like soggy crisps, badly fitting clothes or nasty make-up is burned into your brain. The more we look forward to something the more bitter the disappointment when it ends in tears. Just ask any Stars Wars fan how they liked the prequels if you want proof.

If you are going to build up hopes and raise expectations then you need to be ready to deliver at the first time of asking. You are probably only going to get one shot at turning an interested party into a satisfied customer; don’t blow it by selling them something that you haven’t properly tested.

Get a Buzz Going

A big mistake that a lot of businesses make is to jump straight to this stage too early in the process. Getting a buzz going is arguably the most satisfying and exciting part of the marketing process but you simply can’t move on to do this too early.

If you don’t know who you want to target, don’t stand out from the crowd and can’t guarantee a reliable, fit for purpose product then the time isn’t right to try and create a buzz.

Once you are ready to dazzle your potential clients then the question is how you are going to do it. Will you carry out an experiential marketing campaign on the streets, light up social media with your clever ideas or send out free samples?

There are tons of creative ways of getting a buzz going for your business and it is something that is a lot of fun too.

Have a Sales Process in Place

Finally, when you start marketing you can’t forget to put a sales process in place as well. You need to be able to turn interest and enquiries into cold, hard sales that put a smile on your bank manager’s face.

If you don’t do this then you can slap yourself on the back on about your great marketing campaign all you like but it won’t matter a jot in the long run.

Turning your marketing efforts into a swift and painless sale is what will keep the business ticking over and allow you to look ahead with confidence. Who said marketing had to be hard?