How to identify your customer base and target your marketing to reach them.
It’s a finely honed skill to locate that group of people who are your real buyers. This is the time to put away the manners mom so fretfully ingrained and get down right nosy. The more you know about your buyers the better your bottom line will be. You know, that line that either reads red or black? That says spend or worry. Grow or groan. So pick up your marketing bow and let’s do a little target practice.
The worst thing a business owner can do is delude himself into thinking that everyone is his buying audience. Might as well shoot straight up into the sky and hope to hit a star with your bow and arrow. That approach won’t work and it simply isn’t true. Every business has a defined audience and every business owner instinctively knows something, some little tiny thing, about his buyers. Think about it, what group of people are most likely to buy your product or service? Let’s be obvious as an example. Selling gasoline? Car owners, motorcycle owners and, on the outside, lawnmowers owners are you buyers. But to really pull the buyers in you have to take that little bit of knowledge and try to pull out other useful tid bits of information until finally you have a clear picture of just who would buy your product or service.
So lets start with the little tiny thing you know about your buyers right now. Write those details down. Write down everything you currently know about your potential buyers. Okay, now we have someplace to start. Expanding on this is called research. A word that usually sends people flying for cover as thoughts such as “too hard”, ‘too expensive”, or maybe simply “how?” come to mind. Relax. Take a deep breath. It’s not hard, it’s not expensive and we are here to show you how.
Okay, with the first tiny list of what you already know about your buyers make a second list of what you want to know about your buyers. Your list of questions should include as much as possible. Get really, obnoxiously nosy on paper, ask politically incorrect questions, pry into every corner of their lives….it’s just a piece of paper and this is just a test. So don’t flunk out by being passive.
Among other questions your list should include:
- Is your buyer male or female?
- What age?
- Are they the person in the family likely to make a buying decision on this product or service?
- If not, who is?
- What kind of job do they have?
- How much are they paid?
- Are the happy at their jobs?
- What do they do after work?
- What do they wish for?
- What religion are they?
- Do they have children?
- What kind of home, apartment or condo do they live in?
- Where do they live?
- What do they primarily spend their extra money on?
- What forms of entertainment do they indulge in?
- Where do they vacation?
- What types of transportation do they use?
- What kinds of magazines do they buy?
- What paper do they subscribe to?
- Which parts of the paper do they read?
- What kind of car do they drive?
- What kind of car do they wish they drove?
- What television shows do they watch?
- What restaurants do they eat in?
- What nationality are they?
- What religion are they?
Get the idea? Okay, now take your list and organize it into a polite little survey. Funny thing about us humans…we love to talk about ourselves. When things are going great we like to talk about it. When things are going lousy we love to talk about it even more. We aren’t terribly picky as long as we get to tell someone about ourselves. So this is a prime opportunity to let people do what people love, tell you about them. So once you have your organized the survey, put it online or in email form. Now, take your tiny list, the one we told you to put together at the beginning of this tutorial. The list of characteristics that you already know about your buyer. Yes, that list. Take that list onto the Internet and find a newsgroup, mailing list, or newsletter that best describes this group of people. Once you locate a good match, ask them to participate in your survey. Just tell them like it is. You’re starting a new business doing such and such. In an effort to make your business the best it can be you are asking people to tell you about themselves. With a little encouragement and a firm declaration that everything will be kept confidential you will have a large supply of data to add to your original information about your buyers. WOW, now your really beginning to know your buying audience.
What does all this information tell you? Tons. It tells you how to reach them both physically and emotionally. It tells you how to meet their needs. And it tells you how to improve on what you are doing, how to price your product or service and where to advertise. The more you know, the more power you have. Guard this information as if it were cold hard cash, because eventually it will be.
Once you’re armed with oodles of information, pat yourself on the back because research companies charge thousands of dollars to do this same thing. This thing you just did all by yourself. And that’s hitting the target right smack in the middle of future profits.
Brian Ciriaco publishes the newsletter “Success Online” which is available at To subscrbe. send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.