Not sure who will appreciate your benefits the most? Do some research. Google is a beautiful thing.
Using an example from above, let’s think about who would benefit most from office supply delivery. Business owners, specifically business owners who work in an office, right? It is true that a small coffee shop owner would appreciate delivery and could end up a customer, they wouldn’t be your target market.
Next you would want to figure out what demographic profile fits a business owner? Right off hand, I found a report from the Small Business Administration (SBA) that identifies demographic characteristics of a small business owner. It says that 15.6% of owners are under 35, 32.7% are 35-40, and 51.7 are over 40. If you were to go strictly from this report, the demographics of most small business owners are that they are 35-88 years old, non-minority, are US Citizens who are homeowners and live in a metro area.
A big thing to keep in mind is that it is best to define your target market based on your specialties, services/products, and even your own interests (usually a well-designed small business will be suited to your interests).
5. Create Your Marketing Personas
Think of 2 People In Your Life You Picture Being Your “Perfect” Customer
This is my favorite part. You have done good work defining your services, benefits to customers, and target demographics.
Now, think of someone that is a “perfect client.” If you have been in business for any length of time, this is easy – think of your top two clients who are also people you love to work with and wish all of your customers are just like.
If your business is new, just think of two people that you think would enjoy the benefits of your business the most. Then describe each one of them using the demographics outlines above.
Write a Description of the People Who Fit Your Target Market
After that, take everything that you have done and write out your target market. Your demographics list and two “perfect clients” should have more than enough content. Now describe your target market in 4-7 sentences.
6. Identify the Unique BENEFITS Your Customers Can Enjoy
The best approach to this step is to go through your list of things that set you apart and your list of services. Tabulate the list of set-aparts (those things that set you apart), features, and services. Then make a list of benefits.
Communicating the benefits of what you do and how it will improve your ideal client’s life is what will get their attention and bring you more sales.
Here is an example using a fictional real estate agent identifying the benefits of her listing packages:
I have great listing packages (set apart) to sell houses (services)
- first, so that sellers are more informed of the process (direct benefit) to give them more piece of mind knowing things are handled (ultimate benefit)
- second, so that the listing marketing is consistent (direct benefit) and sellers can move on sooner with more money in their pocket (ultimate benefit)
- third, so that everything is laid out and nothing falls through the cracks (direct benefit) to make the process smooth and more profitable
This is such an important step, but one that many entrepreneurs misunderstand, and that is understanding the difference between a “feature” and a “benefit” to your client or customer.
If you sell office supplies and offer delivery as something that sets your business apart – that is a service, not a benefit. The benefit to the customer is that your delivery service saves busy small business owners from having to pay someone to drive to the store to buy a pen.
Another example would be a real estate agent who offers a free price opinion. Again, that is a service. The benefit to the customer (well, at first, prospect) would be that he can discover how much he’ll pocket after his house sells, even how much he can buy his next house for, whether he sells it himself or hires an agent.
Write down three to four benefits you offer your clients.
7. Identify the Pains and Dreams for Each Market Segment
Your business likely pitches to multiple market segments.
A pet supplies store might sell to retailers and directly to customers. Each of those large segments could be broken down even further. Customers could be retired baby boomers who spoil their pets. They could also be young families with little kids whose pets are part of their lively family.
Each segment has very different pain points that send them to a pet store to get them to their “dream.” As you create content for baby boomers, headlines could be fashioned to answer questions and pique interest around connecting with other pet owners, how to travel with pets, and ways to train dogs with quiet lives to be ready to be sweet to the grand kids.
Headlines for young families could offer ways to incorporate kids into training your pet, which foods your toddler feeds your dog are poisonous, and solutions for keeping your pet entertained while at work.
Create Your Before and After Grid
Identifying the “Pain and Dreams” is best done with what we call the Before and After Grid. We go through this process at length with our clients, but I’ll give you some quick tips on how you can do it yourself.
Write the title of your segment at the top of your paper and a name that personifies the segment. By focusing on a specific person, I promise that you’ll get a better outcome. If you feel like you need help with this, feel free to see if it makes sense to set up a Free Marketing Consultation with our team.
Create a column on the left and list the pains this segment experiences when they come to you. What problems are you solving? Using our pet store example above, the “family” direct to consumer segment pains might be that they travel and feel guilty when they leave their dog at home. They are afraid their dog is going to die from food their toddler drops from his high chair. Their dog is tough to train with kids in the house and taking him for a walk is painful, since the dog seems to be the boss.
In the right column, list the “dreams” your Customer Persona has come to you to produce for them. Referring again to our pet store example, the family consumer segment likely dreams of having a well behaved, healthy, well adjusted dog. They see their kids playing and growing up with their beloved family member. As the dog is equipped and the kids mature, they have everything they need to move into that dream. Your business is just the place to deliver what is needed to make that happen.
Can you see how this works?
Create one Before and After Grid for each segment.
This process works for absolutely every industry.
It’s become one of my favorite steps in our Breakthrough BluePrint because it combines the science of demographics the art of crafting the stories behind why people do what they do. Our clients have enjoyed it as well – believe it or not, analytical and feelings-driven business owners all like and appreciate it! Even the biggest skeptics became fans who found themselves using the wording that came out of the sessions.
Common Myths of Creating Customer Personas from a Target Market
Resist the urge to let any of these common myths hold you back from the kind of growth you’ll surely see by starting your marketing and sales strategy with a well developed Customer Persona.
Fiction: If I pick a target audience, I don’t want to alienate everyone else.
Fact: By speaking confidently to a hypothetical person, it actually attracts the other groups.
An article written for a retired couple about how to travel with pets would also attract many adventurous pet owners – even if they’re single, young, old, or have 10 kids. You will not alienate anyone by writing great content.
Fiction: I’m uncomfortable creating a buyer persona. Not everyone is exactly like that person.
Fact: When you give a name and description to a specific avatar, you can speak right to that person. Anyone reading it is more attracted to content that clearly speaks to a human person.
Your audience will have more confidence in you with strong, clear messaging. Additionally, crafting it as if you are speaking to a person is much more effective. For instance, if your Customer Persona is built as a 35 year old woman and you create an ad that targets that person, who will feel alienated? I’m thinking of a 35 year old woman and come up with the headline, ” Leftovers that Could Send Your Dog to the ER.” This speaks to a very wide range of readers, but it was crafted with our Customer Persona in mind. Does that make sense?
Fiction: Data doesn’t lie. I need a way to identify my target market that is more data driven.
Fact: Data is a big part of a deep dive into developing a Customer Persona. Your Target Market has to do with your vision.
When you started your business, you knew the group of people who would benefit most from what you have to offer. If you skipped that step, I recommend you go to your local Small Business Resource Center and ask for help in working that out. They have excellent resources to build that data with you.
As your business grows, you have clients whom were dreams to work with …. and the not so dreamy ones. In other words, your experience starts this process and data takes it deeper. The data often validates what you already know, while offering nuggets of valuable insight.
How to Use Your Target Market Findings
In conclusion, what you just did is going to get you so much further than many of your competitors who don’t plan at all! “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” So true.
You will use this target market description in your marketing decisions: buying pay-per-click (PPC) ads, determining where to market (because it will be where your target market is), and as you write your blog posts. Everything will be written, placed, and advertised towards those people you identified.
In fact, if you are writing a blog post, be sure to ask yourself if your “perfect clients” would read it. Always write, advertise, and place marketing according to the interests and needs of your target market.