Pop quiz: What do you consider your top three challenges as a business owner?
If you included marketing in your top three, congratulations… you’re normal! Finding a way to stand out from the crowd is one of the top challenges most business owners face. Although we know that effective marketing is vital to success in business, more often than not our attempts are simply a shot in the dark.
Most marketing falls short because we make it far too complicated, when we really should be getting back to the basics and simplifying our marketing strategies. American writer, Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Simplify, simplify!” Ralph Waldo Emerson later added, “One ‘simplify’ would have sufficed.”
Allow me to simplify creating an effective marketing message by suggesting what I believe is the number one ingredient.
Focus is the Key to Effective Marketing
Before gathering your team together to brainstorm clever catch phrases that might go viral, you need to focus on who you want your marketing message to reach. In other words, who is your target? Who is your ideal customer?
- Are you selling to businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C)?
- Are they male or female?
- How old are they? Are they twenty-somethings or retirees?
- What’s their education level?
- What do they do for fun? What do they read? What are their hobbies?
- What social media platforms do they prefer?
Often, business owners will reply, “My customer is anyone who wants to buy from me!” While it may be true that you will sell to anyone who shows interest in your product or service, if you don’t narrow your focus and define who your ideal customers are, your marketing will be lost in a sea of advertising.
According to author Doug Hall in his excellent book, Jumpstart Your Business Brain, 3M commissioned a study in which it was discovered that we are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages every day. And yet, most of us cannot recall even ten of those messages by the end of the day! In other words, if you try to reach everyone with your message, you probably won’t reach anyone.
Who is your market?
So, how do you clearly define your target? Here are a couple of critical steps.
- Think of your top ten customers. I’m not talking about the highest paying customers. I’m talking about your favourite customers. These are the people who you enjoy dealing with the most. Hopefully, they are also some of your highest paying clients! Now, take the list of questions I asked above and apply them to this list of ten. Are there any patterns that jump out? Most likely, you’ll find similarities in those ten clients. That list of similarities is the starting point of defining your target audience.
- Now think of your ten worst customers. These are the ones that you wouldn’t mind losing. In fact, if you could afford to, you’d probably send these clients to your competitors! What don’t you like about them? List the characteristics of these clients that drive you crazy. Take those statements and consider what the opposite looks like. For example, you might list, “client always makes excuses for not paying on time and never seems to have the money on hand.” From that, you might create a statement to add to your ideal client that reads, ““is financially secure and has disposable income available for personal spending.”
Narrowing your focus by defining your ideal client isn’t as “sexy” as creating a “wow” tagline that might go viral, but you’ll never get the latter without taking time to do the former.
So, who is your ideal customer? Consider taking our 10-Minute Opportunity Assessment followed by a short, focused conversation with a Rhapsody Business Coach to help you interpret your results and start to design your Action Plan.