No one can market effectively to everyone. To know where to spend your time, and your money, you need to know what will have the most return on your investment. To do that, you need to decide: Who is your target customer?

This is part 6 of a blog series based on my experiences with the Build Institute‘s Basics workshop.

Read More:
Week 1: Getting Personal to Create Sustainable Change
Week 2: Be Clear About Expectations, With Your Partners and Yourself
Week 3: When Writing Becomes Part of the Flow
Week 4: Need a Blog Topic? Look at Industry Trends
Week 5: What Are You Really Selling on Your Website?

Defining Your Target Consumer Can Be Scary for New Businesses

We sat around the Build Institute table, staring at each other in silence. The question looming above us: “Who is your target customer?” Sure, some of us had a general sense of who we were selling to, or a concept of what need we were filling, but none of us could fill out the customer personal “baseball card” we were being asked about by Mary Aviles of Connect 4 Insight.

It can be incredibly difficult for new business owners to pinpoint their target customer. This is because we are afraid to be exclusionary. We don’t want to say we “won’t” sell to X because then we will lose money! And as a starting entrepreneur, we need all the money we can get.

Targeting Your Ideal Client Doesn’t Say No To Anyone Else

Honing in on your target client isn’t about saying no. It isn’t about exclusivity (unless that’s what you’re looking for) or restriction. Instead, it’s about focus. It’s about creating a brand that attracts the kind of person you want to work with. If someone the exact opposite of your target client walks in to your business with money to spend, you won’t turn them away. But you should ask yourself, would you be happy if all of your clients were like that person?

Deciding Who Is Your Target Customer Is About Marketing Focus

Unless you are willing to pay thousands of dollars to a social media marketing company, you will need to focus your marketing efforts. Common knowledge says that the average person can master and maintain 3 platforms — including a blog. If you are going to handle your marketing yourself, you need to know which ones to learn.

Different demographics use different platforms. Trying to attract the active adult community? They tend to use forums and Facebook. Targeting a younger audience? Look at Snapchat. Are you focused on women? Pinterest should be on your radar.

Without a target ideal client, you won’t know where to put your efforts and you could end up wasting time, energy, and money on platforms where your clients aren’t. Before you dig into blogs and videos teaching you how to use social media platforms (and there are new ones every day), make sure you know which ones will reach the most people you want as your clients.

What Do You Need To Know About Your Target Customer?

Now that you understand the value of having a clear target customer, what do you need to know about that person? In short, as much as possible:

  • How old are they?
  • Male or female?
  • How much do they make?
  • Where do they live?
  • Where do they work?
  • What do they do for work?
  • How do they spend their free time?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What do they read?
  • What are their goals?
  • What do they do when they have a problem?
  • What do they think?

It sounds exhaustive, but the clearer you can get on your target customer, the better you will be able to meet them where they are. Should you write a blog or record short videos? Where should you post them? When should you post them? How sophisticated can your language be? All these questions depend on who your target customer is, and what you hope to do for them.

Getting clear on your target customer isn’t about exclusivity, or saying no to other potential customers. It is a marketing tool that will help you get the most for your marketing efforts.

Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She writes blogs and web content for lawyers and small businesses. If you need help reaching your target customer, contact Legal Linguist today for a free consultation.