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Marketing & Branding

Branding All Year Long: Target Your Audience (Or #Fail)

It doesn’t matter if you’re using content marketing, email marketing or promotional marketing tactics to build your brand. All marketing will fail unless you do one thing right: Target your audience.

You could have a brilliantly and beautifully written blog post, white paper or ebook. No audience? #Fail. A slick designed email with a can’t-miss consumer offer but no opens or clicks? #Fail. One of the coolest pieces of branded merchandise that no one notices at an event? #EpicFail

It’s only by properly identifying your target audience that you can develop the message, offer or promotional product that uniquely speaks to these individuals and induces them to act (Read: Buy. And this audience development will ultimately become the foundation of how you build your brand story.

Finding Your Niche

The key to identifying your true audience is not being too general yet not so specific that you’ve narrowed it down to a group that’s too small to be profitable. Finding your niche is about the balance.

“Targeting a specific market does not mean that you are excluding people who do not fit your criteria,” says Mandy Porta, owner of Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based website design and marketing firm Success Designs, in this Inc. article. “Rather, target marketing allows you to focus your marketing dollars and brand message on a specific market that is more likely to buy from you than other markets. This is a much more affordable, efficient, and effective way to reach potential clients and generate business.”

So how do you go about defining your target market? Porta offers several suggestions:

  • Evaluate Current Customers

Do you know who your current customers really are? The ones that bring in the most biz? By identifying the similarities in your top buyers, you can begin to look for other like prospects.

  • Check Out The Competition

While you don’t want to go after the same market as your competition, by looking at their customers, you can determine if there is a segment of buyers that are being overlooked.

  • Analyze Your Products & Services

Look at the features and benefits of what your offer and make a list of prospects who have a need for these benefits. While this is too general to be a final target market, it gives you a place to start.

  • Consider Demographics And Psychographics

When figuring out who is most likely to buy what you’re selling, look at demographics (such as age, gender, income, education, occupation, etc.) as well as psychographics (personality, values, lifestyle, hobbies, etc.).

Evaluating Your Findings

Once you’ve narrowed your focus and your target market(s) have been identified, Porta says to ask these questions to ensure your list is viable:

  • “Are there enough people that fit my criteria?
  • Will my target really benefit from my product/service? Will they see a need for it?
  • Do I understand what drives my target to make decisions?
  • Can they afford my product/service?
  • Can I reach them with my message? Are they easily accessible?”

To get all the details, read the entire Inc. article here.

While you don’t want to break your target down too far, don’t be afraid to draw a line in the sand. Be proud that you’re not for everyone. Know exactly whom you are best suited to serve and whom you aren’t. It’s OK to turn business away if it’s not right for you…or the customer.

As Marie Forleo, business strategist and marketer (and born-n-raised Jersey girl), says:

“If you’re tawkin’ to everybody, you’re tawkin’ to nobody.”

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