According to Investopedia, a target market is a group of customers with shared demographics who have been identified as the most likely buyers of a company’s product or service. Also referred to as your ideal customer.
They are broken down into a variety of groups, including but not limited to:
There is a lot going on here, so how do you go about identifying and communicating with your target market?
How to Identify
Let’s start by reflecting on our past and current customer base. Market feedback will always be the most impactful way to understand what your customers like, want, and need.
It is a sound practice to perform ‘exit interviews’ with any lost customers (this applies to customers you served and lost as well as customers you began to engage with that never ended up buying). Figure out why they are leaving you. Is there anything you could have done differently? Was there is a gap in communication or expectations? Are they replacing you with a competitor; if so, why? Did the problem you solve go away, or did you fall short of solving their problem?
Then set up customer service interviews with your top 5-10 customers. Take a little time to reflect on the most profitable customers that you enjoy working with most. Reach out to request some time as a thank you and selfish request to better your organization. Take a gift to thank them for their loyalty and prepare them to ask some questions:
- Why did you decide to partner with us?
- What do you like most about working with us?
- Is there anything we can do differently?
- Are there any components of our relationship you would like to see change?
- Is there anything holding you back from recommending us to others?
These steps should have refined the groups you are able to service. So it is time to reflect on your value proposition, or in other words, the problem you solve. Dig deep and think about all the groups that may have this problem. Any and all groups that struggle with the problems you solve, should be in the running for an ideal customer classification.
Now we have 1-10 groups that could benefit from partnering with your organization. So do you niche down or not, that is the question…
Niche or Not
Are you able to sell to more than one group? Every boat needs an anchor, not every boat needs a sail. By this point, it should be pretty clear who can benefit from the value proposition and who cannot. If the answer is clear that you can serve more than one group, you have to reflect on yourself and your organization.
Do you want to sell to more than one group? Do you like working with every type of group? (As an avid sailor, you may dislike the pollution, noise, etc… of large engines on the back of speed boats.) So can you relate to each of the groups you are able to service? Do you enjoy being around each type of group? Can you thrive as your best self/organization? This should help you eliminate some of the groups.
Any and all remaining groups need a deep dive to ensure proper messaging with verbiage that will capture attention and intrigue.
How to communicate with each group
Your goal is to capture interest by showing each group that you are speaking to them and only them. This can be tricky when you are able and want to serve multiple groups. So start by building your standard, foundational messaging that is universal enough to resonate with everybody you need it to. Then tweak and add proper, group-specific, verbiage that speaks to each individual group.
- Industry Standards
Then, find the proper mediums. You want to spend your time where your target market is spending their time. This shows your ideal customer that you understand them, creating trust and credibility before you ever even speak to them.
Overall, you have 1-3 sentences before somebody completely disregards your message. If you can catch their attention with the first couple sentences, then you will have 7 seconds for them to gain enough intrigue to lean in to learn more from your call to action.
Painting a picture of what it will look and feel like for them to work with you. And more importantly, what life will look like after partnering with you.
We would love to chat further through this process if you could use any additional clarity. Please grab a spot on our calendar to further refine your target market(s).