Finding Your Peeps: Understanding Personas And Target Markets

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We all just wanna be loved, right? Or “Liked” at least! But with the race to get more likes, followers and subscribers, it’s easy to lose touch with the fact that in order to grow your business you need to be spending your time talking to people who have a high probability of actually becoming customers. Oh, how easy it is to become ensnared in the “Liking” game!

Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t communicate with or do free stuff for your community; however, there needs to be a clear distinction in your mind. That’s your give-back strategy, not the lifeline of your business. The core of your marketing and sales efforts should be focused on the people who are likely to purchase your product or service.

We can probably all agree that that makes good sense. But the question is, are you really clear on the distinction? Or maybe, are you really practicing this process?

Are you able to clearly identify or describe your people?

If you had to group them into segments, what would you list as their key characteristics? Do you know where to find these segments of the population? If you find yourself hesitating or stumbling over these questions, then it might be time to spend a bit of time defining your ideal customer(s).

Why is this so important?

Most people don’t realize that this disconnect is the fundamental flaw at the core of many a failed marketing campaign. You may have a HUGE email list, but if you’ve attracted the wrong people to that list, they won’t turn into customers because they are not the type of people who will actually BUY from you. If 80% of your list includes single people, but your product really appeals to people with families, that’s a problem. Likewise, if what you offer are cooking classes, but 70% of your list consists of people who don’t cook and prefer to eat out. And unfortunately it’s easier to get into this situation than you might think, especially if you are relying on unfocused social media efforts to build your customer-target lists. This can also happen as a result of too many giveaway or free-product promotions.

So, how do you stop this from happening?

First, work on defining your ideal customer by building a persona.
It’s common for vegan business owners to use a broad brush to describe their customers, like “all vegans” or “all non-vegans”. But this is such a generic look at potential customers that it’s easy to make mistakes when choosing the right marketing tactics.

Instead, dig deeper and use at least 5-10 characteristics to describe your ideal customer(s). Consider that every person has layers to their interests and preferences. You probably wouldn’t categorize yourself by just one characteristic, so don’t do that to your customers.

Going through the process of developing personas, or specific target markets, will make it easier to understand where you can find these people (a.k.a. good potential customers!). Consider which magazines, blogs or websites already track people who fit into your target market, and think about how you can set Facebook or other social media ads to reach this group.

Identifying personas will also give you insight into the language you should use in newsletters and emails to speak to this audience more directly or accurately. It will allow you to decide what benefits you should highlight in your marketing to meet the interests/needs of your target market.

Take Action

Sit down with pen and paper, or on your computer, and describe your ideal customer, using 5-10 characteristics to describe them. If you target more than one type of person, do this for each ideal customer.

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