If there’s one part of strategy that new and sometimes even established business owners miss, it’s this: failing to develop a clear and specific understanding of your target market and ideal client. Too often, we think what we do “helps everyone”.

While it might be true that everyone could use your help, it’s simply not good marketing to try to get you and your brand to appeal to all and sundry.

So what are the reasons to get specific about your target audience?

Well first, your offer might not come to your ideal client at the right time for them. Your prices might not fit with what someone can afford. Your branding might not resonate with certain people. Your story may not touch everyone in the same way.

And second, when you try to reach everyone, rather than narrowing your focus to a truly ideal client who fits your pricing, styling and offering, you dilute your message. This makes it even less likely that those perfect customers will find you.

If you’re just starting out, it can seem an impossible task to identify your ideal client.

Here, I’ve put together three ways you can start honing in on the right people so you can market your product or service more effectively.


#1 – Demographics

Identifying the right demographics means you can narrow your message to a specific type of person. For instance, have you considered if your target audience is male or female or both? What age group should they fall into?

While men and women of all ages might both read and enjoy your content – and even buy your products – you will most likely find that your market is skewed heavily one way or the other.

Men and women have different responses to emotional triggers so they are affected by stories and branding in very different ways. A marketing message or story brand that appeals to a 30 year-old man is unlikely to appeal to a 50 year-old woman.

Think about some of the brand advertising you see around you and you’ll quickly notice how they form their messages to appeal to one or the other, but very rarely both. There are certainly stereotypes in terms of emotional appeal (e.g. hot red sports car appeals to the ego part of us versus a grey safe estate car that appeals to the nurturing side).


#2Goals & needs

Now consider the kind of goals your ideal client hopes to achieve, what’s the problem they have or end result they are interested in? Think about how your products and services can help your audience to realise those wants and needs? 

You may find you can identify your ideal client from those who have you already successfully helped, but otherwise, you’ll need to do a bit of market research with your target groups.

Whether she’s trying to build a profitable online business so she can stay home with her children, or he’s working to create a membership site for muscle building fans, if you don’t know where they’re trying to get to or what motivates them, you can’t get the message right to attract them.

A further consideration is where on the journey of solving their problem your ideal client is. Is he/she a beginner or well along on the path? Does he/she need knowledge or to develop a specific new skill or is it support and guidance they want?


#3Prior knowledge

How you speak, how you write, what marketing methods you use, and even what prices you charge should all be easier to determine once you have been able to identify your ideal client. This may be influenced by your ideal client’s existing knowledge and level of sophistication in understanding their own needs.

If you’re teaching people new to business or helping consultants to create a new product, their needs, level of commitment and willingness to spend will be far different from a long-time business owner who is discovering Instagram, or an entrepreneur working up to a big launch. And you will not reach your market effectively if you don’t know exactly where they are and what they need at this point.


#4 – Interest

Of course, if you’re just starting out or shifting your focus, you might not yet know who your ideal client is. So from the content you share, pay attention to what your audience is showing interest in because that’s a clue to identify your ideal client.

How? By whether they convert! They’ll tell you when they opt in to get your content, when they open emails and of course when they buy certain products and services you offer. They’ll tell you by following you on social media. And they’ll tell you by commenting on your blog and asking questions that are relevant to them.

Watch your interactions, look for message-to-market match. Study the businesses of those who contact you for help, and take a look at what your competition is doing.

If you’d like to learn more, there’s a whole chapter in my book devoted to Leveraging YOU.