Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Have you ever been somewhere and seen advertising that was just out of place? You can find out of place, or off-target advertising on TV, radio, magazines, billboards, and more if you look for it. Perhaps you receive coupons, free offers, or telemarketing calls for products or services you would never consider. That is not only annoying to you, but costly to the business owner.
Identifying your target market is essential for business owners and even more crucial for the small or home-based business. Until you know who your target market is, you will waste time and money. Knowing who fits in with your target makes many decisions easier and enables you to get much more mileage from your marketing budget.
To identify your target market, picture your “ideal” or “best” customer. Write down demographic data about that customer. What is her age, marital status, education level, career, neighborhood, income level, hobbies, favorite music, TV shows, reading matter, and so on. The more you can specify, the better. For most of these, you will not know “exact” answers and you will have to make an educated guess. That’s fine. Even guessing will give you a pretty clear picture of your customer’s world.
Once you have a detailed description of your best customer, you can better determine how to target your messages to him, and just as importantly, to others like him.
To illustrate, suppose your ideal customer is male, married, has two children and owns a home within two miles of your business. He is a professional who works in an office environment, most likely in middle management. He drives an SUV, plays golf, and his childhood pet was a python.
No matter what your business, you now know how to reach him and others who might be potential candidates for your product or service, too. You could buy a mailing list and direct mail those prospects. You could buy golf tees with your logo as promotional giveaways. You could advertise in the area day care centers newsletters. You could partner with car dealers. You could network with your local zoo and/or exotic pet stores. It depends on your particular business, but now you can target whatever you do to reach your target customer and others like him.
Now, when you get those calls offering you the opportunity to advertise or sponsor something, you will be able to determine if it fits for you. Would your target prospect see if, hear it, be where it’s going to be? If the answer is yes, it’s a great way to reach the exact people who need my product/service, then continue to evaluate the opportunity. If the answer is no, this targets customers who live 15 miles from my business and have no need for my product/service, then you tell the sales person that it’s not a good fit and you’re done.
The same thing applies when deciding where to locate, what colors to use in your literature, design elements in your packaging, which of your favorite charities to sponsor through your business, and so on. The decisions are easier because you have a defined target market. And, while defining a target isn’t all you need for successful marketing, it is a great start.
For more help and information on marketing, visit Smart Marketing Works.