Find your tribe.
Not much can guarantee failure more than a disorganized brand message and an undefined target market. Even the most terrible products that seemingly have no purpose can attract a niche customer. When a business has no target market in mind, it's very clear. There is no focus. It's awkward to experience. No demographic-specific language. Or worse... conflicting wording. Language that speaks to everyone usually attracts nobody.
Narrowing in on your desired reader, client, or customer requires a really good understanding of your brand. If you haven't solidified this, then you've got to reel it in, honey.
To make sure we’re all on the same page, here’s what I’d define this as:
Target Market: The ideal group of people (with specific traits) that you serve.
Let’s add one more definition under this umbrella...
Ideal Client: your perfect client/customer/reader! Someone that respects what you offer and understands your value.
If you skip the process of identifying your target market, you'll probably experience these major problems:
You’ll miss out on building your identity as an expert.
You’ll have more competition because you aren’t standing out in your market.
You’ll end up taking on bad-fit clients.
You’ll be blogging to an audience of your mother and your college bestie.
Remember: just because you’ve narrowed in on your target market, doesn’t mean you can’t also serve people outside of it! Don’t be scared to narrow in on who you really want to appeal to, and who can most benefit from what you offer. Connecting with 15 epic clients that completely value your business is way better than reaching 100 people who aren’t that interested. Those 100 half-assed connections aren’t going to be willing to invest.
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This 5-page workbook will help you identify your target market and establish exactly what you can uniquely offer them!
DEMOGRAPHIC + PSYCHOGRAPHIC PROFILES
To discover who you want to connect with as a business owner or blogger, you’ll need to identify some characteristics of that ideal client. I like to make my clients give this ideal customer/client a name (just for fun).
Is your target client a recent high school grad? Are they senior citizens? Are they middle age working parents? My clients are often tempted to write a larger age bracket than they should. Keep in mind that you’re identifying your most ideal client, but you can still serve people outside this age bracket. I recommend keeping it around a 3-5 year gap.
Note: If your product or service is for children, you’re really targeting their parents.
Is your product/service/blog best suited for men, women, both, or people that don’t identify with traditional gender norms? If you answer both, make sure you either get specific with the rest of your profile or have two different target market segments.
Are you going to target people in one specific geographic location, or worldwide? Are you hoping to work internationally and be a digital nomad? Think about the 'where' of your targeting in order for it to be effective.
Do they work from home? Are they climbing the corporate ladder? Do they work in a creative field? In business or finance? A person’s job (or dream job) says a lot about them.
Are they married, engaged, or single? Do they have children? If so, how old are their children? Are they yogis or runners? Are they looking after elderly parents? Are they early risers or night owls? Think about what their day to day lives consist of when they aren’t at work.
HOBBIES + INTERESTS
What do they research online? Who do they follow on social media? What kind of television do they watch? Establish what your target client is most interested in and passionate about. You might find some similarities between your target client and yourself here.
PROBLEMS + BARRIERS
This one is huge, so don’t you dare skip this step! Think about the problems your ideal client/customer/reader encounter in their daily lives. What are they afraid of? What are they desperately wishing they had? Do they struggle with their weight? Dealing with their militant boss? Do they dream of travelling, but don’t know how to make it happen? Think about the problems before you provide a solution.
If you’re just getting started in your business and aren’t sure who you should be targeting, ask yourself these things:
What are my strengths?
What am I most complimented for professionally?
What do people ask me for help with?
What do I truly hate doing?
These questions will help you understand what you should be offering and to whom. Answer them honestly and you’ll be able to identify what unique content/products/services you can offer people (and what you shouldn’t be offering at all)!
If you try to reach everyone, you’ll end up making shallow connections with people who don’t really care about your business (and aren’t likely to hire you or buy your products). If you communicate directly with your ideal client via targeting, you’ll be able to stand out and make an impression on those people. They will then be much more likely to think of you when they are in the position to invest in what you offer.