Every so often I’ll hear a business owner declare that everybody is their customer. That their product or service will work for any and everybody and every time I hear this…I cringe. Defining your target audience is critical to your business success.
I promise you don’t want everybody as your customer.
Get a few seasoned entrepreneurs and small business owners in the room and they will tell you of the countless hours they’ve wasted and money needlessly spent trying to to sell to everybody.
It’s vital that business owners define their audience and learn as much as they can about them without totally creeping them out.
For instance, if you’re a dog groomer, I promise you don’t want every dog owner in your community as a customer.
Some dog owners never take their short-haired breed to the groomers.
You want to target the dog owners in your community that have a certain type of dog…take Cocker Spaniels for instance. These dogs are high maintenance (I’ve had a few of these so I know this first hand)! You also want to reach out to people who are accustomed to taking their pet to the groomer on a somewhat regular basis. These are ideally good members of your target audience.
So how do you find target audience?
1. Research. Research. Research.
Secondary research (data that has already been gathered) is readily available. One popular free source is the U.S. Census Bureau and then there are always market reports that you can purchase. This data can give some information about your customer, your competitors, your market and industry. It may not match 100 percent but this data can be a good start.
Primary research (research you initiate, collect and analyze) can be costly! However, it’s one of the ways to get the exact data you’re looking for.
2. Look in your own CRM or customer database.
You’d be surprised at the information sitting in your customer database. You can build a profile based on the trends in your own files. You may discover that the majority of your customers are females between 18 and 35. That’s good information to begin to build a profile.
So once you have all this data, then what do you do?
Build a Customer Profile
Once you’ve conducted your research and have demographic (age, marital information, gender, ethnicity) and psycographic (hobbies, interests, values, lifestyle) information you can begin to build a profile. Once you have this profile, I highly suggest giving your ideal audience member a name. Now you have a good picture of your target customer. You can market directly to your target audience saving time and money versus trying to sell to everybody. One more thing, you may discover that you have multiple audiences and that some of those audiences have subgroups. Now you can tailor your message for each group or find the commonality between them and speak to them as a whole.
Take the time to define your target audience, be able to speak about them—their likes and dislikes and where they’re likely to congregate. Do this and you’re way ahead of the person who insists they can sell to everybody.