Finding Your Target Market

You may just be happy to have a prospect come through your door; but if that prospect isn’t your ideal client, that walk-in is probably just wasting your time. An ideal client will give you more business, larger profits, and fewer headaches; they are interested in your business, products, or services, and value what you bring to the table.

These four steps will help you begin to identify and target your ideal clients.

1. Analyze your current customer database.

In the article, “Higher Revenues: It’s the Principle of the Matter” (SOHO, April, 2009), I wrote about increasing your company’s revenue 16-fold through the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 Rule, stating that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your clients. Look at your customer database to see if this is true for your business. Your customer database should include the following information: name, address, phone number, e-mail, what was purchased, purchase date, and your client demographics. Your client demographics should track additional unique information: annual sales, client personality traits or attitudes, and anything else that helps you identify your ideal 20%. So you’ve figured that out. Now what?

2. Why does that 20% stand out?

This question is integral in determining methods to attract more and better business. The ideal 20% provide higher profits and repeat business, so examine your newly filtered database to find commonalities within this group. Do they live in a particular neighborhood? Maybe they work in an urban area or in a certain career field. Are there connections through schools, churches, athletics, or networking groups? Do they attend trade shows, seminars, or read certain publications? Continue to study your best clients and learn what makes them unique and want to purchase from you. Utilizing a customer data platform to gather this information can be a highly effective endeavor for businesses to pursue. This information greatly increases the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

3. What makes your business special?

Now that you’ve identified commonalities within your ideal client 20%, it’s time to look inward to find out what makes you stand out to that group. Your business can’t be everything to everyone, so discover what your ideal clients like best about your business?

Which product or service do they buy repeatedly? Maybe it isn’t your products at all, but your “go the extra mile” or “whatever it takes” attitude. Perhaps it’s the niche your product or service fills. Ask your ideal clients what they like about your business; they’ll give you honest feedback. Then look at your business brand and marketing message to make sure it is consistent with what you want to say and with what your clients say about you. Use this information to reach out to develop new prospects.

4. Target those prospects.

Develop a database of prospects that share identified commonalities with an “ideal client” and work to get in front of these types of prospects to increase your success. Attend events, seminars, and trade shows that your ideal clients attend, because chances are your ideal prospects are there, too. Become a featured speaker at one of these events. Your expertise will help gain their trust and provide the opportunity to earn their business. When given a choice, most informed buyers would choose value over price and prefer to purchase from someone who has a specific expertise in their business or need.

Market to this group of prospects and ask your ideal clients for referrals. Since they share common habits or traits with your ideal prospects, your top 20% are likely to know a few prospects they can funnel your way. If you follow these four steps for identifying and targeting your ideal clients and prospects, you will greatly enhance your chances for success.