“Is there anybody out there?!” the man called out to the universe.
That might be a beautiful and haunting start to a fairytale, but it is far from the perfect beginning to your marketing journey.
At no point in time has anyone in the business world succeeded if they did not know who they were talking to. Tossing brand messages around with no hoop to land them in; no brand ambassadors or loyalty programs to keep their interest? Putting forth marketing campaigns to no particular target audience? Implementing a new brand-build initiative without an emotional connection to your market?
If you’re thinking about any of that, throw it all out the window. Forget about it. You need target marketing to succeed.
And don’t worry; here, we have all you need to know to grow your business with target marketing. We teach you what it is, why you need it and how to develop and use it for your specific company needs.
What is Targeting in Marketing?
Target marketing is targeted marketing. Okay, we get it; aren’t those the same words?
Basically. But that is the simplest way to look at it. We know, though, that you need the particulars. So let’s get into it.
In the scope of marketing, targeting is a certain strategy you have to use. It breaks up that massive market you are working with into smaller pieces or segments. This way, you can focus on a targeted audience from your primary audience. This target audience is a very specialized group of customers.
How do you know who makes up this customer base, though? Your target-marketing strategy outlines this group with their unique, identifying factors and traits. Then, you can cater all activities throughout the buyer’s journey to their needs.
No more calling out into the ether for anyone to hear your plea and become your loyal customer. With target marketing, you can put all your efforts and attention into the customers who will prove most beneficial to your company.
Why is Targeting in Marketing Important?
Target marketing is essential for your overarching marketing strategy. It has an impact on every part of your business. From advertising to customer service to branding, design and business operations. Target marketing plays a hand in all of it.
Just think about it. When you zero in on your market segmentation or target positioning process, you get even more benefits from your holistic target marketing.
First, you can send direct, customized marketing messages to your target audience. As you can imagine, customers far prefer that sort of custom-fit messaging to a generalized approach. Plus, once you and your marketing team get the hang of it, creating new marketing campaigns becomes a much more streamlined process for the future. You already know your market.
Second, you bring more quality leads right to your front door. You do not have to expend your energy on chasing “leads” that turn out to be not much more than a waste of resources. Since you are putting out engaging marketing initiatives, they come to you with an interest that already exists.
Third, you separate yourself from your competition – in the best way possible. Target marketing can lead you right into brand positioning. You quickly become the go-to in your industry instead of your rivals who only seem to focus on making more money instead of keeping more customers.
This brings us into the fourth reason targeting in marketing is so key: loyal customers. You humanize the shopping experience for them. That prioritization of relationships with them makes them want to stay.
Fifth and last, you get a way to laser-focus on your products and services. Better yet, you get to analyze them from the perspective of the consumer. And you can improve them from there.
Brand Positioning vs Target Marketing
We just mentioned that term: brand positioning. It sounds an awful lot like target marketing, right? And they are similar, right? Yes and yes. But the process that underlies both are different.
With targeting, it takes a wider stride. Like we talked about, market segmentation and brand positioning go into it so that you can market to your ideal audience. So brand positioning falls under its wings. It is the smaller strategies and steps that your company rolls out for brand marketing, or to establish your brand’s name in the minds of your target market.
In other words, to do well in target marketing, you have to apply a mix of targeting the right set of customers and positioning your brand for them.
How to Use Target Marketing?
Later still, we will discuss the best ways to go about defining your target market. But first, we have to go over some of the many ways you can elevate your marketing strategy with target marketing.
You can capitalize on anyone (although we prefer a mix!) of these channels for your brand targeting. Analyze which would work best for your company, its products, and its services. But above all, you should determine what works best for your customer core to develop your concentrated targeting strategy. But more on that later.
- SEO – We all use the Internet. If you’re here today, like so many other business owners, you used it too. Your target audience cannot get to your page, though, if you do not optimize it. You can ensure that your company’s site and content appear higher on search engine pages with SEO tactics. A simple change like using the same keywords your market searches for in your own content can lead to a huge increase in site traffic.
- PPC – Do not confuse SEO and PPC (or pay-per-click) with one another. But also realize the value in both of these. You may have to make some small investments into PPC ads, but you are sure to boost more digital traffic with their help. Again, use the proper buyer keywords per your audience’s preferences. Find them through your own research (or with the help of an SEO or PPC specialist). Your ideal buyers will head to your website when they are already ready to make a buying decision.
- Email Marketing – Email marketing might sound like an ancient concept, but it is not as much as you may think. This is especially true when you combine it with other marketing activities. Make sure you get the timing right, the recipient list right and the content here fresh. You should align your email marketing campaigns with whatever stage of the sales funnel the customers you are sending it to are in. This is a good time to complete brand mapping.
- Marketing Communication (MarCom) – This one is all about the language and the words you use. Once you build relationships with your audience, you get the ins and outs of the style of communication to use in all marketing content. This could be website content, social media copy, and general words to use when you talk to your customers.
- Content Marketing – Direct all your content with the individual desires of your audience. Create compelling content that skips out on the one-size-fits-all approach of so many other businesses. Think about what they fear, what they need, and what they want.
- Display Ads – Where is your audience hanging out? Place display ads for your company and what it offers on the appropriate external sites. Do not waste time placing them anywhere else.
- Blogs – Blog posts are standard. But you can rise above the standard with techniques such as guest blogging. Think again of those sites where your market hangs out. Then work with those site owners for an opportunity to guest-post blogs with them.
How to Target (Define) Your Customers?
Now we get into the meat of what we want to accomplish today. How do you target, or define your ideal market? As we have shown, you have to appeal to your market segment. But let’s face it: you cannot target even all of them.
It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming and, not to mention, stressful.
Targeting your ideal buyers is not to say you leave anyone out, a la playground bullies. Rather, it means you invest in them. Anyone else who comes along by chance is more than welcome to join the party.
So adhere to the following recommendations. You cannot say “I want to target middle-aged mothers” for your marketing efforts. You have to dig into the essence of their – well – everything. These steps we have for you ensure that you can do so.
Study Your Competition in the Market
Ah, yes. The old dilemma of the dreaded competition.
We don’t want you to think of it like that. Dreading the inevitable (as far as your industry’s competition) is like wanting to eat a whole chocolate cake after dinner and not wanting to intake any calories. It just leads to stress, guilt, and useless worry.
Still think of it in terms of the cake, though. You don’t have to eat the whole cake right away, not right after dinner. Instead, you can take a few of the best slices. Those slices are your market segment that you need to use target marketing with.
Analyze who else has a slice of the cake, A.K.A.: your competitors. Who do they target? What are the ingredients that make up their slice, A.K.A.: their ideal customers.
And who are their customers right now?
You cannot have their slice of cake. They already ate it. So go after a different market. There are better slices, more niche markets, that they are not even taking into account. Those niche markets will appreciate that you took the time for them.
Set Your Target Demographics
Yes, of course, you need to identify who needs your product or service. That is how you got your business (and the products or services that sustain it) up and running in the first place.
But you also have to know who will most likely purchase your product or service. So you need to do some research and find out critical demographics, like their:
- Geographic location
- Income range
- Level of education
- Marital (or family) status
- Occupation (past and present jobs included)
- Ethnic background
Research Your Target Market
You researched your competitors’ customers and target market. Aren’t you forgetting something? Like, say, your own existing customers?
Figure out who they are and really get into the essence of it. Why do they buy from you? Is it out of necessity or do they look forward to interactions with your company?
Pinpoint the commonalities. What interests and hobbies do they share with each other? Who are your top-dollar clients that drive revenue and boost profits? Segment them and see if there are other people like them out there (hint: there are) who would like to join in on what you have to offer.
Dig Into Your Customer Database
You can now say with certainty that you know what the key demographics are. But do you know about their close relative, psychographics?
Check out your customer database again. Here, you want to get personal. You need to discover how what you sell will find a place in your audience’s life. More so, you want to see if your product or service will improve their lifestyle.
What are the benefits of your product or service that they are most interested in? Do they have a time and place to use it? How does your market get the details about it?
Here is what you need to research as far as psychographics:
- Values and moral code
- Personality traits
- Hobbies or interests
- Behavior (past and current)
- Lifestyle choices/lifestyle in general
Your Product or Services Analysis
Write or type out each of your products or services. Now, add their features. Finally, turn those features into benefits for your target audience.
You cannot abide by any of that “lasts a long time, durable packaging, ergonomic grip” nonsense. Why does it matter? In what ways will these features transform and add value to your customers’ lives?
Once you are done there, list out those in your audience who need those benefits. Build from there.
Conduct Testing and Evaluation
The final step in defining your audience as you begin target marketing is to test and evaluate.
You have your target audience at this point. But are there enough people in it to sustain itself? Do they both want and need what you are selling? What influences their decision-making process? Do your costs and prices align and are they appropriate for your audience? Are you able to communicate with them and influence them with your marketing messages?
Those were a lot of questions to ask yourself as you wrap up the basics of target marketing. And as you have found out multiple times in the past as a business professional, there are many more questions to come.
How will you keep up with this new practice? How are you going to get those high-quality leads we talked about? Or make sure your team has the right training to stay on top of things as you learn more and more? Will you be able to recruit and retain the top talent that you know can keep up with you?
Of course, you will. Because you have Selling Revolution to stand in your corner.
At Selling Revolution, we have decades of experience in growing small businesses. This is the experience and dedication you need to shine.
Our blog has tips and tricks galore for all the professional self-help you can imagine. But we know you’re ready for more than that. You’re ready for business success built to last.
So help us build it and book a call with us today.