February 24, 2016 Kit Mullins

7 Proven Steps to Defining Your Target Audience

It starts with the right questions.

The table was set with the usual fare: fruit, cheeses, and a touch of something sweet. Along with small porcelain plates, the notepads and pens were positioned by each place. The flat screen was displaying the company website. When we finished the get-acquainted pleasantries between our team and our new client, I directed the conversation to the purpose of the gathering—learning about his target audience.

“Thank you for sharing a little bit about yourself and the background of your company. So, as we begin to formulate a marketing strategy, help us understand exactly who is your target market—your ideal customer—for the business?”

“Everyone,” he replied with a little chuckle as he glanced at each person around the table, looking for signs of affirmation.

Every week our team sits down with business owners who participate in a similar scenario. It is our team’s goal to learn about each company so we can help the owner develop a strategy for growth. The answer to the common question, “Who is your exact target audience?” is one of the first questions a business owner should answer. The description in this answer impacts the effectiveness of whatever game plan is implemented. Not only will the answer be a guiding factor in the channels the business uses for the promotions, but it will also influence the content of the message that is going to be communicated.

When the first answer to the audience question is big, and wide, and inclusive, it is our job to ask more questions that will begin to draw smaller and smaller circles on the target. The final result of the questions and answers will be a central sphere that encompasses just the right persons for the product.

Defining the target audience for your business.

If your answer to the question is similar to the one we often get—”everybody!”—then our free seven-step checklist is for you. This checklist is our series of questions we use with clients. You can take this tool and answer the questions as they apply to your business. This set of questions helps you sift through the whole world and shake out which type of potential customer will benefit most from what you offer. After answering the questions, you will have a clearer picture of who the ideal customer is for your business. Knowing your ideal customer will help you focus your marketing efforts so they are tailored to reach the right segment of “everybody” who needs your product.

In the Target Market Checklist, you will work through a simple process of answering questions about your business that will help you:

  1. Define your brand and your niche.
  2. Define your unique value proposition.
  3. Describe your ideal customer.
  4. Describe what your ideal customer needs most.
  5. Craft your brand promise.
  6. Choose your marketing channels.
  7. Define your goals and measures.

We appreciate your interest in our Target Market guide! With this checklist in hand, you are well on your way to hammering out an effective marketing plan. Sometimes, knowing the right questions to ask is just as important as having all the answers.

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