The bulls-eye is small, but that’s where the most points are. It is your target. We’ve all heard about how important identifying your target market is for your brand. It’s critical because your customers are the future success and growth of your business. But who are your customers and how can you find them? Or an even better question is who do you want them to be?
I think that the analogy of United Airlines works well. In the book on leveraging creativity, Juicing the Orange, it discusses the strategy of United Airlines, as it struggled to find a way to differentiate itself among the other legacy air carriers and the start-up, no-frills airlines that were chipping away at its market share. They made a brilliant decision to focus on the core market of frequent business travelers. Now here’s what was interesting. These folks made up only 9 percent of United's travelers, but they represented 46 percent of United's revenue.
Their thought was that if they could appeal to the frequent business travelers, leisure travelers would follow. ("If these seasoned business travelers know which airline to fly, surely I can do no worse than flying with the same airline.") This philosophy is similar to the secret of finding the best roadside diner: find out where the truckers eat and eat there.
Obviously what we are looking at here is good news for all of us. We don’t need to worry about the vast majority of prospects who can do business with us. We need to worry about just the best people with whom we can do business. For United, it was to find that small yet core group of clients that they could focus their energies.
So Who Is Your Core Target Market?
Your target audience is made up of people who love your business and what it offers. They are not everyone who will come in contact with your business. Answer the following questions:
- Who can you refine right now in your target audience?
- Who are your best clients?
- Why do they like you and your service?
- What do all these people have in common?
- Now the important one. Can you find more people like them?
Recognizing what your customers have in common can help you craft a marketing strategy to draw in more of the same people, thus building your target audience into a successful business. Now let’s turn the table somewhat. How much do you know about those clients which you would like to do business?
- What is their typical age?
- What is their family makeup?
- What is their average level of education?
- Do they have special interests or hobbies?
- What do you suppose is their average household income?
Now just think of all the combinations of people that might meet these different parameters? Do you want to work with young first-time buyers that are avid golfers with a high disposable income? How about retired empty nesters that are ripe for investments that have a high college degree and hang out at the local country club? Or maybe you want to work with successful single professional women that have a career and are political by nature and have various interests.
The only way to develop marketing communications that resonate with your target audience is to become knowledgeable about their wants, needs, and motivations. So ask them. Set up a continuous feedback and communication loops between your customers and the company. Make two-way communications a part of your culture. This is where “social marketing” comes in so well. It is a communication tool. You might consider designing a short survey and sending it to your current and prospective customers and see what kinds of offerings, messages, and services your business should be providing.
Let me make this real clear. You should only have one target audience that you market. You may sell to different types of people, but your marketing should be to a set target audience.
Allow Your Website or Blog Site to Work For You
The easiest marketing device to assist you with this is your website and blog site. Each of these is simply a tool that displays who you are. I’ve often said that whatever you give to people represents who you are.
Many agents come to me for marketing assistance with their website. When I ask who their target audience is, I too frequently get “buyers and sellers”. Ouch! This is so general and random that you tend to compete with the masses. You are like a minnow in the ocean.
Let’s try the question again. Who is your target audience? “30-40 year old couples with corporate upward mobility jobs who like to have disposable income for outdoor recreation and are also focused on investment for their future.” Bingo! Now let’s take a look at what you offer (or want to offer). You work with investment properties with 401(K)s for young couples and offer the top outdoor recreational activities in your area in a free brochure for the asking.
What have I just done? I’ve said first of all, here is who I want to target. Then I built my website and/or blog site information around those people. I now can use keyword phrases in my website like “Denver investment property”, “Boston outdoor recreation”, “young couples moving to San Diego” (can you believe that this search in Google has over 2 million websites?). These are all targeted to those whom I wish to do business with.
Here is the bottom line. You have the ability to increase your business revenues if you will only focus your efforts on identifying your target market and working them exclusively. People like working with people that are like them. Your prospects are begging to be lead by those that they can feel comfortable with. Target them, and you’ll have more business than you can handle.