Talking through marketing strategy with small businesses, I’ve noticed that owners think about defining a target audience and ideal customers in a very rigid way.
As I help them to define who they’re targeting, we typically go through a series of steps that identify the target’s age range, affluence, location, interests and more. We really start to build a profile of who that ideal person and where we’re most likely to find them.
During the process, entrepreneurs regularly ask “but what if?” No one wants to leave a valuable opportunity out to dry. Rightfully so. If an opportunity arises for your business, you should consider it — even if it doesn’t fit your target audience profile.
Um, what? You read that right, I promise.
The purpose of defining a target audience profile is to help you aim your advertising dollars and marketing efforts in the right direction to effectively and efficiently drive new leads. What a target audience profile doesn’t do is lock you into serving only a small, limited audience.
This is, genuinely, a common misconception.
If your background isn’t heavy in marketing, the idea that a target audience is a small, limited audience is also a misconception. Your target can be as broad or as refined as you’d like. Detailed specifics about your audience will limit your reach, but increase the likelihood that your brand gets in front of the people most likely to engage or buy. A broad audience is going to reach many more people that don’t act, but also has the benefit of reaching new, untouched customers that you may not have considered before.
When defining a target audience, your goal is never to limit the type of new business you will take on. Nope. In fact, the business you’d like to have should guide your target audience selection, but not the other way around.
Audience targeting aims to reach the person that is most likely to use your product or service. Ultimately, we want to get you the most bang for your buck by reaching valuable, qualified leads that are ready to act. Doing this certainly does not dictate who you’re allowed to work with as a business. It simply helps us to invest your promotional dollars on reaching your most likely new client. By doing so, we can make the greatest possible impact on your business with every bit of your marketing budget.