Let me present a situation to you, Santa Barbara:
You’re blogging away, creating all this great content, and you’ve been at it for months yet nobody has seemed to turn into a regular follower. Your email #’s remain low, as does the traffic to your awesome new website.
If your content is good and your capture forms are in place, chances are your targeting is off.
To fix it, know that targeting is about two things:
1.) Knowing your target client.
2.) Finding them online.
Now let’s get crackin’.
Knowing your Target Client is Important
1.) When you know your target audience you can write to just him/her. You do this because copy reads better if you’re writing to one rather than many.
Think about it. I’m writing to you right now, aren’t I? Note the conversational tone, my casual use of slang, the way I act familiar by using words like “you” and “I” – all these things help foster trust and break down inter-personal barriers. Getting people to trust you is the first step toward getting them to like you. And people listen to people they like and trust.
2.) The more you know about your ideal customer, the better you can present your business’s unique value to your potential clients.
For example, if you know that your target customer is in an older demographic, you’ll probably use different language than when marketing to 15 year-olds that eat lunch at Taco Bell. You’ll also be able to better identify their key pain points and insinuate why your business is uniquely poised to help solve them.
3.) Knowing more about your ideal customer helps you consolidate your efforts. It helps you know where to find them online and elsewhere, so your marketing campaigns can be more effective.
4.) And finally, it’s damn hard to find good content. It’s even harder to create good content on your own.
To continually come up with good ideas, you’re going to need to tap other sources. So in order to find what your potential customers are responding to, you’re going to have to know who they are and where they hang out, what they like and don’t like, what’s appropriate and what’s not.
So that’s why you need to find your ideal client.
Here’s how you go about actually finding them.
Step 1: Use That Grey Matter
Fight the urge to skip the “Target Client” step. It’s really in your best interest.
Example: Let’s say that you’re a contractor who specializes in high end home remodels. You might first think that you want to rank like crazy for “Custom Home Remodel in [insert target city],” but in reality, most high-end home remodel jobs come from word of mouth, right?
Therefore, you want to:
1.) Position yourself as a leader in your field about construction.
2.) Target your approach to those who would give you word of mouth – Designers, Architects, Sub-Contractors, etc. You can make friends with these “complementary” industries who are also targeting your same client, but with a different service.
[box] Take Home: Think for a minute about who it is you’re trying to appeal to, then see if there are any complementary industries that are targeting the same clientele, and then consider using their information to your benefit.[/box]
Ok, now let’s say you’ve thought about your ideal client.
It’s time to get get to work.
Step 2: Find your Target Client: Search and Destroy is Not Just for War Games
Identifying your target demographic, much like writing, is a process of revision. You’re going to start out with an idea, then hone and refocus, hone and refocus, hone and refocus.
Try not to think of it as excluding anybody from your market, but more that you’re targeting the people where your message will have the greatest impact.
Also like writing, you’re going to need to be brutally honest about your business and its capabilities.
For example, if you asked me who my ideal client might be, I may say “Direct Relief International.” They have a huge advertising budget, do good work all over the world, and are accessible to me since I’m based in Santa Barbara, California.
But, being honest, Alchemy can’t handle DRI – they’re simply too large an operation. We’d be swamped and completely under-resourced. We’d have to drop our other clients, bring teams of people on, and spend weeks, if not months, training them.
Instead, a more honest answer would be:
This is a middle-aged CEO/doctor/dentist/etc in Santa Barbara who:
- runs his own practice and, as of late,
- has found his business trailing off. He’s not sure why – he suspects it has something to do with the digital revolution, but he
- doesn’t have the time nor the inclination to do the work himself. He’s good at his job and he wants someone who’s good at theirs.
- He makes more than$100k/yr, has an advertising budget of $2500/month, and “just wants it handled.”
That, is my ideal client. Notice that I’m not going for a big pay-off here. Our ideal client isn’t a windfall of good fortune, it’s the good solid customer that will form the foundation of your business.
- Pain Points – time (he lacks it and wants more of it), small-to-medium sized business operation concerns, clients (he wants more of them by getting the phone ringing)
- Age – 40+
- Location – Central Californian Coast
- Gender – Male or Female
- Income – $100k+ annual
- Education – High
- Occupation – Doctor/Sciences (or any relatively high-level of income small-to-medium sized business owner. This opens up: contractor, dentist, lawyer, early startups, and so forth)
- Occupational Heirarchy -(Manager, Buyer, Worker Bee, etc.) – Owner/ Manager/ CEO
- Ethnicity – Any
- Marital Status – Married with Children (Probably)
- # of Children (2)
In reality, the more information you can gather about your ideal client. Hobbies, personality traits, recreational activities, outdoorsy/indoorsy, everything – the more, the better. Make a spreadsheet. Find a picture. Print it out and pin it to your wall.
Have it look something like this:
This will help you flesh out your ideal client personality profile. And this will, in turn, help you to understand what other information he might be looking at and how he might respond to your marketing efforts.
Ultimately, all your marketing efforts are going to be about building your brand into a brand personality. People resonate with a brand personality that is either closely akin to themselves, or one they admire or respect.
This is who you’re targeting.
Now let’s go find them online.
Step 3: Let Me Google That For You
There are a number of ways I can go about doing this.
I can make a list of potential magazines that cater specifically to that demographic:
- Conde Naste
- Vanity Fair, etc.
But this would take too long and be guesswork, nothing solid.
Instead, let’s put that information into amazon.com and see what’s recommended.
A quick search for “Business Owner Magazine” gives me Inc. Fast Company, and Entrepreneur. Click those and see what’s recommended, and your list grows.
You can then read some of these magazines, visit their site, and see how their social media efforts are panning out for them and what language is being used.
Ask yourself: Is humor involved? Is the tone subtle? Are the images racey? Classy? Dignified? You can model your marketing approach and brand copy after theirs.
Option 2: Use Your Competitors
Successful competitors are a treasure trove of customers. Pay attention to their social profiles and which posts do well and you can do likewise.
Additionally, Twitter allows you to search profiles. This is an often under-utilized tool.
In our example of Business Owners, we can search for “inc” “llc” “.com” and other suffixes that are commonly found in user’s profiles if they’re business owners. This way you can not only see the language that they use, but you can reach out to them directly. Bonus!
Curveball: “Ok Hudson, you say. That’s all good and well, but I’ve got to market to my ideal customers, not just write to them.”
Let’s take a look at CityTowninfo.com. Under Employment, we’ll see the list of just about every job in the country.
Click on the job, and you’ll get a breakdown of the professions, top paying places in the country, job openings, and much more data. You can search for the job your target client has, see what cities have that job with a median pay that fits your target demographic, and then use these cities in your PPC/Facebook/whatever approach.
Not too shabby, eh?
Now you know how to: find your target customer, interact with them on social platforms, and speak to them in their language so that your message resonates with them.
What do you say? Got any additional targeting tips you’d like to share? Fire away.