By Laura Aveledo, Small Business BC.
As a business advisor, I meet with many entrepreneurs who have a clear business concept but they lack a clear definition of their target market.
Many of my clients say that “everybody” is their target market. That statement is one of the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make. Sticking to that thought will only lead failed advertising, frustration and a botched product launch. The reality is that no product, no matter how popular or useful, will be liked by everybody.
So, how do you make sure that you are selling to the right people? You need to clearly define your target market. It’s important to note, you aren’t stopping others outside your target market from buying from you. Instead, you are choosing to focus most of your efforts on a group that represents your “ideal customer”. You can have a primary and secondary target market, just make sure that you define them well.
Still not convinced? Here are three reasons you should define your target market well:
As a business owner, you need to tailor your product or service to your client’s needs. But how do you know their needs if you don’t know (in detail) who they are? Once you understand your target market, you can identify the product features they want and shape your offering to those needs. To give an example, if you are offering a service, you need to define the number of hours included and clearly present what the result will be. Try to think of the problems your ideal customer faces. How does your product answer those problems?
If you know what your clients want and you know what your product or service delivers, you can clearly explain to customers what the result will be. You can effectively manage their expectations, which will have a two-fold effect on your business. First, you will discourage customers who have unrealistic expectations of what you are offering. Secondly, you’ll be left with a satisfied pool of customers who will likely come back for more.
Understanding your target market makes advertising to them all the easier. You should know what magazines or newspapers they read, what entertainment they consume, what social media channels they use, and most importantly – what moves them to buy. Based on your findings, you’ll be able to tailor messages to them that will resonate and leave a memorable impact in a crowded space.
In our crowded media space, audiences don’t listen unless the message means something to them. Understanding your target market and pitching to them effectively has never been a more important skill for entrepreneurs.