It’s important to think about your target market before you dive in and start work on marketing. Think about who would be your ideal customer and target them specifically. If you get caught up in thinking that your target market is “anyone”, don’t be fooled, there are always criteria that help you better define who you want to attract.

If you create very generalised messages to appeal to “anyone”, you end up appealing to no one. There are two main things you need to know about your ideal customer:

1) Who are they?
2) What would interest them about your product or service?

1) Who are your target customers?

• Companies or individuals?
• Company size / income level
• Where are they located?
• What market sectors are they in?
• What makes them unique or at least sets them apart?

Knowing who your target customers are will allow you to aim at the right places to reach them. Often you’ll have more than one target market or kind of customer, in which case it’s far better to segment them and target them differently. Start with one go deep, then move on to a second later.

For example, If you were an accountant that targets sole traders and small businesses, you could see this as a single category and target startups and businesses with under 5 employees. However, you can segment that further and target building trades or consultants or veterinary practices or whatever niche you prefer. Pick a category in which you’ve already been successful and think about how you found existing clients and how you’d find similar ones.

2) What would interest them?

Thinking specifically about the product or service that you offer, what is it that your ideal customer would find really interesting? It’s important to get at emotion – what would they really care about enough to take action and contact you or buy?

• What is their problem you offer to solve, or the desire you fulfil?
• What would they be seeking to solve their problem?
• What kind of things would they particularly like?
• What kind of things would they dislike?

As with the previous point, segment your target markets. Think about existing customer types who love your products or services and who you love dealing with. What exactly is it that they like about your products or services? Because when you know that… chances are you know that others prospects in the same niche will appreciate the same things – so that’s what you must include in your marketing message to them.

If you make a list of the features and benefits of what you offer, it will be quite a generic list. Some will matter more or less than others to different people, and it’s hard to appeal to people with a mix including things they don’t really care about. That’s why it’s important to segment and target each niche with just the specific points that are important to them, using their language and referring to their specific interests. The response rates to targeted segmented marketing will be much higher than to generic advertising aimed at anyone and everyone. And more of the leads will convert to customers. It costs you less, takes less time to convert to customers, and they’ll stay longer.

It’s amazing how many people don’t segment their marketing!