Being able to clearly define your target market is one of the most important elements of successful marketing.

Yet it’s one of the marketing strategies that most businesses struggle with.

Identifying your market clearly has many advantages, including allowing you to:

  • Choose the best media to reach the people you want to reach.
  • Tailor your messages so that they resonate with the right people.
  • Target your marketing spend where it gives you the best results.

The problem for most businesses is that they follow an approach of “mass marketing” where they try to appeal to almost everyone.

This can be very wasteful as they are spending money to advertise to people who will not buy what they are offering.

This approach is fine if you are a major brand like Coca-Cola or Starbucks but it doesn’t deliver the right results for most businesses.

You’ll get much better results and better value for money when your marketing strategies are “targeted”.

Your marketing is targeted if you know exactly who you are going after, where they are located and you have crafted a message that is specific to them and appeals to them.

There are four key elements you need to get clear about so that you can define your target market.

  • Who are they?

    You should define your ideal customer in as much detail as possible taking into account demographic factors such as age or gender and psychographics such as beliefs and desires.

  • Where will you find them?

    This may be a geographic location — or it might be where you can reach them e.g. websites they visit, mailing lists they are on or newspapers they read.

  • How do they buy?

    You want to know if they go online, buy in person in a particular location or whether you can sell via mailing packs.

  • Why they buy?

    You need to find out what drives their decision about whether or not to buy what you are offering.

In general, you want to define your market as tightly as possible. So rather than say you sell to women, you would want to be more specific and, for example, say you sell to women aged 35 – 55 with two kids and a family income of $75,000 and above.

The more specific you can be the better.

When you target your marketing effectively, your marketing strategies will be more successful so you’ll attract more customers while spending less money.

You’ll be able to focus more of your effort and budget on finding your ideal customer, whether its in your city or elsewhere.

The fact is almost every business should be able to identify groups that represent their best customers – these are people that buy more, stay longer and refer more friends.

When you can identify the characteristics of these people, you can go out and find more of them.

There may be several groups, but each group will have distinctive characteristics.

Here are some keys to ensuring that your ideal target market is a good one for your products and services:

  1. Market Size: It needs to have enough people.
  2. Reachable: You have to be able to get your marketing message in front of them.
  3. Demonstrated Interest: People should already have raised their hand and said they are interested in the types of products or services you offer.
  4. Known Buyers: There is a difference between a list of interested people and a list of buyers. You ideally want to be able to get access to prospects who have already bought something in your field rather than simply having shown interest.
  5. Unmet Needs: Your ideal customer will have needs or desires that are not being met by the other options available and where you can satisfy those needs or desires.

When you are defining your ideal customer, it’s a good idea to create an “avatar” to represent them. To do this, you give them a name and a story that defines who they are.

In defining your avatar, you would take into account their most common traits and their problems and dreams.

When you create a good avatar, you can develop your marketing strategies to speak directly to them. This will help you attract more of them.

Taking time to define and get to know your ideal customer allows you to achieve better results from all your marketing strategies and will help you attract more of the people you want to do business with.