Businesses of all shapes and sizes spend an unbelievable amount of money on marketing campaigns of one form or another. According to their 2014 figures, eMarketer® predicted that companies would spend around $600 billion globally on advertising in 2015. Sure, you’d love to have the most customers possible interested in your product, but by casting too wide a net, you’ll likely come up empty. It doesn’t matter how many people see your advertisement, tweet, or landing page if they’re not the right fit and have no intention of buying your product or service. You want to find the people that you can turn into potential customers. You can’t target everyone because it would be far too expensive and you would risk spreading yourself too thin. This doesn’t mean excluding groups of potential customers but rather focusing on the ones who are most likely to make purchases. If you catch some customers outside of your target audience, great! Just don’t plan on it as part of your strategy. The signs are likely pretty clear when your marketing efforts aren’t working You may be getting that initial click, but if someone immediately bounces from your site, then they are likely not the right fit for what you have to offer. Sometimes all it takes is a little effort to get you back on track. Focusing on your target audience will save you time and money and lead to more sales. Here are six reasons why you may be targeting the wrong people.
1. Your message isn’t clear.
You need to articulate what you’re selling and how it will benefit people. Figure out how you can stand out from the crowd. Then shout from the rooftops what makes your product or service so special. Of course, pay attention to the words you use. You don’t want to talk too much about yourself or be boring. Focus on your customers’ needs, and show them that you can solve their problems. Use engaging language, and be helpful and entertaining.
2. You haven’t studied the competition.
Even in a crowded field, you can make your product stand out. Few companies are promoting something entirely new. Usually, they have taken something that already exists and then claim that they’ve made it better in some way—whether that means it’s faster, cheaper, or more durable. By focusing on a niche within a larger market, even smaller businesses can compete against much larger ones. Study magazines, websites, and blogs that are relevant to your industry. This will let you know what your competition is up to and give you a better idea of who they are targeting. Find a way to express what makes your company better.
3. You don’t have a clear profile of your ideal customer.
A little research can go a long way to nailing down who your target audience is. Analyze current customers to understand what makes them excited, enthusiastic, angry, and bored. What are their characteristics and buying patterns? Ask your current customers for feedback. Find out what they like about your products and, just as importantly, what they think you should change. Surveys and interviews may reveal things you didn’t know about your customers. Don’t go into the process with any preconceived notions. You might find out that they’re using your products in a different way than you imagined; that your customers are older/younger, richer/poorer than you thought; or that they’re living in a region of the globe you hadn’t even considered. Two types of data are helpful to study when fleshing out your target customer. By focusing on the broad characteristics of demographic and psychographic information, you can piece together a general profile of your ideal customer. This doesn’t mean you want to exclude others; it just gives you a little focus to start with. Demographics include:
- Education level
- Marital and family status
Psychographic information includes:
- Lifestyle choices
- Spending patterns
You can make a cursory profile with this data. Put all of it together, and you’re well on your way to determining who your ideal customer is.
4. You’re using the wrong medium.
Today there are so many options for where to spend your marketing dollars. But what kind of technology is your target audience using? Are they glued to their smartphones? Do they incessantly check Facebook for updates? Do they constantly refresh their email? You might have the right message, but if it’s on a channel your target customer isn’t watching, you’ll come up empty. The Pew Research Center has extensive demographic data that you can use to help figure out which social media outlet will work best for you. What you’re selling may also dictate where you want to concentrate your efforts. For example, if you have a visually exciting product, you may find more success on channels such as Pinterest, Instagram, or Tumblr, where you can showcase beautiful pictures of your products.
5. You never analyze your results.
To figure out what’s working and what’s not, you need to continually analyze your data. How are customers finding you? Where are you seeing success? Are your email campaigns, landing pages, and social media channels targeting the right people? By tracking your sales, you’ll see what’s effective and where your leads are coming from. Using customer relationship management (CRM) software can also help you analyze much of this data, so you can figure out what’s working with your target audience and which areas you still need to work on.
6. You’re not adaptable.
Just because you’ve honed in on your target audience doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax. In this ever-changing marketing climate, what works today may very well be obsolete tomorrow. In such a fast-paced digital economy, you need to keep up with trends, or the competition will swoop in. So be prepared to adapt your strategy, if needed, and try out new technologies as they emerge. Remember, 10 years ago no one was using social media to market their businesses, but today few businesses get by without it. Don’t be afraid to tweak your strategy to bring in even more of the right customers down the road.