Finding your ideal customer is a key step that other local businesses skip. Any time you build something, whether it’s a house, a computer or a marketing campaign, you MUST build a strong foundation. That means, you must have a plan. Before you can even begin to outline a local marketing strategy, and frankly before you make the leap to own your own business, you have to know who is going to buy your product and service, and why.
Finding Your Ideal Customer vs. Target Audience
Now that you have taken some time to research your local market, it’s time to define your target audience, and your ideal client profile. Your target audience is the general blueprint of your potential customer, and key characteristics. Your ideal client profile is more specific. The ideal client profile should define your perfect customer.
Your Small Business Target Audience
The approach you take to identifying your target audience will vary depending on how well the competition is marketing their own businesses. When nobody is standing out, you can take a more general approach. For example, a roofer entering a market where there are no other roofers doing a great job with marketing can define their target audience broadly. Perhaps all homeowners that need new roofs or roof repairs. However, if several businesses in your industry are taking advantage of digital marketing to connect with your community, you need to find a niche.
The best approach is to first define your customer profile generally. What are the broad characteristics of the people who will need your service. Then, look to tilt your business towards the most profitable niche to really allow yourself to stand out.
Defining Your Target Audience
Often, your local business won’t be the only game in town. You will have competitors, and they’ll have a head start. But that doesn’t mean they have the advantage. Most local businesses never research the local market. That’s always a mistake, but it’s up to you to make them pay.
Before you can start marketing to a community, you need to understand the make-up of your community. Then, create a profile using broad characteristics of what your customer would look like.
The Target Audience For A Local Contractor
For example, as a residential contractor, what characteristics would your customers have to have. Well, they’d have to be a homeowner or a landlord that owned a house in your service area. They would also have to be in need of a repair or home renovation.
Finding Your Ideal Customer
When you try to be everything to everybody, you’ll never stand out in a crowded local market. The better approach is to find a specific type of service your business can specialize in, or a specific niche audience of potential customers that your marketing message will really resonate with. This doesn’t mean your limiting yourself. Instead, it allows you to focus on getting the most profitable jobs, from the customers you love to work with. But you will not turn away the others as long as they fall within your general target audience.
The Ideal Client Profile For Your Niche
A common insider strategy to marketing your business in a crowded market is niche marketing. Niche marketing is gearing your marketing message to a specialized audience that their business can create the most value for.
When you know more specific characteristics of your potential customers, you can better connect with them. This can be either a more specialized service that your competitors aren’t focusing on, or a niche demographic that you can best connect with.
How Should You Find Your Niche in Your Community?
Don’t just target who you want your customer to be. Instead, analyze the competition and find a niche in your industry that’s not being filled. The easiest way to rapidly attract customers is to target a specific subset or niche in your industry that no other local businesses focus on. Solve a problem nobody else is solving.
The Niche for a New Roofer
Let’s take a roofer for example that is entering a new local market. Instead of just being a roofer, after studying the local market, MCAS Roofing & Contracting, Inc. took a different approach. With market research, we learnt how overwhelming it can be to hire a contractor you don’t know.
As a local, family run roofing business, our clients understood that a house is just not a house, it’s a home. So we have decided to define their audience as middle-class families that own a home in their service area, and value trust and quality over price. That has allowed MCAS Roofing & Contracting, Inc. to position themselves as the local roofer that values quality and relationships over profits.
Your Buyer Persona Profile
You can’t just have the target audience profile in your head. It has to be on paper so everyone throughout your small business is on the same page.
Your Target Audience Profile
Document all of the key characteristics of your general target audience. Remember this should be the broader definition of your potential customers. These are all of the people that you want to focus on marketing to.
Your Ideal Client Profile
Your ideal client profile is the more specific definition. These are the people that you love working with the most. Location, income level, values and demand are all criteria that can help with finding your ideal customer, then defining them.
Your local buyer persona profile should cover both your target audience and your ideal client profile. Then, you can begin crafting a message through digital marketing that will resonate with your audience. Focusing on defining your audience will help set you apart from the competitors. While they are speaking to everyone, you speak to your ideal customer.