Target acquired: How to define and use your ideal target market

Don’t assume you know who makes up your target audience because you could be wrong. Here’s a look at how to identify a target market and create niched marketing campaigns that sell.

The post Target acquired: How to define and use your ideal target market appeared first on Marketing Land.

Ironically enough, when it comes to promoting themselves, many businesses jump straight into marketing and forget to really think about the most important part of marketing: their target market.

This problem isn’t just limited to new entrepreneurs or start-ups, either. I’ve talked to plenty of well-established companies who can only describe their target market in broad generalities.

This is a real problem because knowing exactly who you’re targeting with your marketing is the key to successfully reaching, connecting with and convincing them to buy what you’re selling. So, while it’s tempting to jump right into building your marketing campaigns and putting together creative, it always pays to stop and think about your target market first.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at how to identify your target market and use what you know about that market to create target marketing campaigns that sell.

Who am I targeting?

Whether you’re a new business or a decades-old company putting together a new ad campaign, you should always be asking yourself “who am I targeting?” Even if you sell products with broad appeal, this question is still important. Specifics sell and the more specifics you know about the market you are targeting, the more effective your marketing will be.

For example, if you sell lotion, you might think that your target market is too big to define. I mean, almost everyone gets dry hands at some point, right?

While that might be true, there are a lot of different reasons why people buy lotion. Some people live in a dry climate. Some have a skin condition like rosacea. Some people want a lotion that smells good, while others want a scent-less lotion because scented lotions irritate their skin.

Would it make sense to use the same marketing for all of these different groups?

Even if your scent-less lotion happens to be great for people who live in a dry climate or have rosacea, it’s hard to effectively market to all of these markets simultaneously. After all, if someone searches for “rosacea lotion” on Google, they aren’t looking for lotion because they live in a dry climate. They want a lotion that will treat their specific skin condition.

Even within a more targeted market segment like “rosacea sufferers”, there is often room to refine your target market further. For example, you’d want to use very different marketing tactics to market your lotion to moms with young children suffering from rosacea than you would if you were trying to sell to middle-aged men with the condition.

Can you see why understanding your target market is so important? The more clearly and precisely you can answer the question “who am I targeting?”, the more focused and effective your marketing will be. Obviously, you have to balance market size with market specificity, but understanding who you are targeting and what motivates them is the key to create compelling marketing campaigns.

With all that in mind, here are a few easy questions you can ask yourself to help you define your target market(s):

How do my current customers use my product or service?

As I mentioned above, even people who use your product or service for the same thing may use it for different reasons or in different ways. For example, if you offer invoicing software, you may have some customers who use it for every client and transaction, while others only use it for certain clients or situations.

Odds are, invoicing software addicts are probably your most valuable customers and you will want to both target them more aggressively and with different messaging than you would more casual users. Your software will be an integral part of their business, so certain selling points about your software will appeal more to them than they would to your standard users.

Segmenting your current customer base by how they use your product or service can give you a lot of insight into your target market(s). Odds are, if your current customers love your business for a particular reason, potential customers who are motivated by the same things will be likely to respond to marketing that focuses on that same issue.

What am I trying to sell?

This might seem like an obvious part of any marketing campaign, but when it comes to defining your target market, knowing what you are trying to sell is important, especially if you’re changing what you are selling. Many businesses try to use old marketing tactics to sell a new product and then wonder why their results are bad.

Whether you’re trying to market something new or simply get more sales for a particular product or service, it’s important to think about who your new target market is. Different products and services appeal to different audiences, so even small tweaks to what you’re selling can have big effects on how well your marketing works.

For example, if you sell cookies and decide to add organic, egg-free cookies as a new product, you need to market them differently than your standard cookie line.

Let’s be honest, most people who buy organic, egg-free cookies aren’t buying them because they are the best tasting cookies. They care about the ingredients more than the flavor, so your marketing should focus on how healthy and environmentally friendly your cookies are.

At the same time, if most of your customer base loves the flavor of your standard cookies, they aren’t likely to start buying your organic cookies because they are environmentally friendly. They want the delicious cookies they know and love, so you should focus on marketing the flavor of your core cookie offering to your less ingredient-conscious target market.

Ultimately, what you are trying to sell has a huge impact on how you sell it and who you sell it to. As a result, “what am I trying to sell?” should be one of the first things you ask yourself during the marketing process.

What is the competition doing?

While I’m a big advocate for standing out from the competition, you can also learn a lot from the competition—both about what to do and what not to do.

For example, take a look at the ad below:

You can clearly see that this business is targeting high-intensity people who probably lead high-intensity, busy lifestyles. To appeal to this market, their ad copy is high energy and focused on the flexibility of their offering.

If you happen to be a competitor of theirs, there’s a lot you can learn from this. On the one hand, if you want to target the same market, you can look for keywords or phrases they are using to try and catch the attention of their target audience.

Alternatively, if you want to differentiate yourself and try to target an alternative market, you could try focusing on price, a different exercise option or offering lower-key classes that might appeal to less intense potential customers.

Whether it’s a gym down the street or an international conglomeration, your competition can teach you a lot about who your target market is (or should be) and how to approach them in your marketing.

Is my target market niche … or non-existent?

One final thing to keep in mind as you identify your target market is the size of that market. As we discussed earlier, the narrower your target market is, the easier it is to create specific, highly targeted messaging for them. However, if you can only target 10 people with that messaging, it may not be a market worth targeting.

Given the massive reach of online advertising platforms like Facebook and Google, this isn’t a common problem, but it is something to keep in mind as you define your target market(s). If you find yourself struggling to effectively target the market you’ve selected, you may need to take a step back and expand your audience a bit.

As a general rule of thumb, I like to assume that 3 percent of the people you can target with a given marketing channel are ready to buy today and 3 percent can probably be convinced to buy. If that 3 to 6 percent of your identified target market isn’t enough potential business to be worth your time and money, your market is probably too niche to be useful.

Conclusion

While it can be easy to assume you know who your target market is and what they want, taking the time to really think about what you’re selling, who you’re selling it to and how to best sell it can significantly improve your marketing results. It might not be the most glamorous or exciting part of marketing, but it’s a key part of every good marketing campaign.

The post Target acquired: How to define and use your ideal target market appeared first on Marketing Land.

How to find good writers and other content marketing struggles

You get what you pay for when it comes to copywriters says contributor Jessica Fowler. Here’s a look at how to hire good copywriters to help drive traffic and sales to your site.

The post How to find good writers and other content marketing struggles appeared first on Marketing Land.

While the “content is king” mantra sits firm 0n its throne, it leaves one burning question: “How do I find writers fit for such royalty?”

From low-cost content factories to high-ticket copywriters you feel you can’t afford, you may find yourself wondering if there’s a middle road.

How do you know which solution is best for you?  Some say the best solution is to build an in-house team of writers, but this isn’t always the most affordable (or practical) option.

For those that need to outsource content writing, finding the right fit can be a bit of a whirlwind and confusing.

Today’s column will help answer all those questions, and more!  I’m going to share ideas that will help you find, qualify and hire quality search engine optimization (SEO)-savvy content writers you can depend on.

Struggle #1: What qualifies as a “good” SEO content writer?

Qualifying a good writer can feel a lot like qualifying a new love interest. They look good on paper and make a good first impression, but how do you really know they are the one?

The hard truth is that, just like with a love interest, you’ll have to spend time getting to know your writer before you really get an answer in full. But that doesn’t mean you have to go in blind. Here are some non-negotiables that will increase your odds of finding a good fit without wasting time:

  1. It should be clear to you from the start that your writer understands the basics: grammar, spelling, and structure. You can learn this through conversation. Converse with your writer by texting and/or email to get a feel for their grasp of the written word.
  2. A good SEO content writer also understands that a search engine wants you to write for the audience, not the algorithm. Ask for samples to assess this and watch out for keyword heavy posts that have poor flow and readability. Read their work and ask yourself, “If I am my target audience, do I find this information valuable and consumable?” If you don’t, usually the algorithm won’t either.
  3. Run the samples you receive through a readability scoring app like HemingwayApp.com. Sometimes an article will look great on the surface, but you’ll find that it carries a low readability score. This means the way its written lacks clarity and is difficult to consume.
  4. If you want to doubly ensure that you’re going to get a great return on your investment, look for content writers that do SEO copywriting — not just practice SEO. Why? People that only specialize in SEO might be able to bring you traffic, but will they know how to influence that traffic? Not necessarily. Copywriters understand the psychology of why your audience will purchase, join your list, or take any action you want them to take on your website. This is where the real magic happens, so look out for these copywriting unicorns.
  5. Lastly, copywriter or not – your writer should understand your audience’s relationship with your niche. If you want to sell diet pills to middle age women who want to lose weight, your writer shouldn’t just understand the audience or only understand the diet pills. They should understand where the two collide. What are your audience’s pain points, limiting beliefs, and buying triggers around your product or service? Usually, this is the biggest mistake when hiring, but the answer is simple: require relevant samples when vetting your wordsmith and see what they know.

Struggle #2: Where can I find good SEO writers?

Speaking objectively, you can find good writers anywhere. But there’s definitely a difference between shopping around on Fiverr versus other higher quality avenues that offer you better screening opportunities.

One of the best ways to vet an SEO content writer is to find them on social media where they post long-form content. This way you can see for yourself how they write, how they work, and how they interact with their clients and prospects.

Join SEO and copywriting groups on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn and just hang out for a bit. You’ll notice writers posting in quality groups to attract leads. Instead of just seeing samples that can be tweaked, you’ll get to see how they write and interact with leads and clients on a day to day basis.

This level of consistency and insight into a writer’s personality, ethics, and values will help you feel more comfortable and less blind going into a working agreement together.

You can also post in these groups asking for recommendations. You’ll find community members are happy to showcase the writers who’ve brought them the most value.

Struggle #4: Do I need an “SOP” for my writers?

A million times yes!

You are probably going to pick an experienced writer who is also catering to multiple clients at the same time he/she works with you. Each client they work with has different primary preferences and concerns, from the style of writing, how the work should be submitted, and so on.  Standard operating procedures (SOPs) help minimize the guesswork for your writer and potential headaches for you.

The truth is most business owners aren’t struggling to find quality writers, they’re struggling to keep them! Without clear direction, writers have to guess how you want things done and that generally causes confusion and room for error.  With more direction and outlines like an SOP, everyone stays happy.

Writing SOPs may seem like a time-intensive step, but the good news is, once it’s done it saves you hundreds of hours on the backend. And if you want to take it off your plate, consult an operations specialist who can help with this. It’ll increase your return on investment (ROI), help eliminates stress and keeps good writers happy and in your employ.

Struggle #5: How much should I pay for copywriting?

A wise human somewhere once said — you get what you pay for.  If your audience is based in the US, will a non-English speaking content writer fully understand not only the language but the culture of your audience?  Probably not.  Do you have editors available to help or are you setting yourself up to spend just as much time editing a piece as you would have spent writing it yourself? The allure of inexpensive writers is high but unless you have the time and patience to train them it’s probably not a smart investment.

Even a native speaking writer charging minimum wage is probably inexperienced and may not have access to research resources. At the end of the day ,you’re paying for a result. How much is it worth to you to make sure you are getting the best content in a reasonable amount of time?

Ultimately, the best copywriter understands your audience’s language and culture, is skilled in SEO and conversion rate optimization, is resourceful and capable. You have other things to worry about, and having a writer that can produce high-quality content is key not just for successful writing, but successful business operations and scaling.

Struggle #6: Is “SEO content” worth the investment?

Search-engine-optimized content is like anything else — you get out of it what you put into it. If you hire top quality writers, you’re going to get top quality content which in turn will help drive traffic and better rankings for your site.

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