Getting Your Target Groups Right Is Nine-Tenths Of The Game In Knowledge Commerce
Target groups are the specific segment or audience of people you want to aim your marketing at, so that you can turn them into engaged readers, loyal subscribers and eventually regular buyers of your products and services.
Wikipedia describes target audiences as: “… a particular group of consumers within the predetermined target market, identified as the targets or recipients for a particular advertisement or message.”
Once you identify a broad swathe of potential target audiences for your business, you then have to break them down into micro-segments. Only then can you aim and hit them with more accuracy – and shape their minds towards you with deeply relevant products.
At Solohacks Academy, we believe in what Philip Kotler, the Father of Marketing, once wrote: “There is only one winning strategy. It is to carefully define the target market and direct a superior offering to that target market. Because it doesn’t make sense to try to please everyone, your time, energy and money are better invested in as specific a target audience as possible.”
1. How To Get A Strong Fix On Who Your Likely Target Audience Is
How can anyone do business without a very clear fix on their target audiences? You have to know who exactly form your target audiences groups. More importantly, you have to know their psychology and behavior like the back of your hand – their ages, demographics, tastes, preferences, motivations, budgets, online behavior, buying behavior et al.
There are some systematic ways to get certain about your likely target audiences – which is what we cover below …
a. Key Questions To Ask Before Determining Your Target Groups
Before you begin your exploration of target audiences for your Knowledge Commerce business, you need to ask yourself three critical questions. These questions will help begin your exploration on the right track …
What problems does your business solve? And do some people know they have this particular problem?
All businesses essentially exist to solve problems for their target audiences. Identifying what these problems are can be invaluable in determining who your target audience is. However, it’s not enough for you, the solopreneur marketer, to believe that some customer-problems exist; your potential customers also need to be aware that they have those problems. So while you are exploring problems your business can solve, it pays to look for people who are already aware they have those specific problems … otherwise, most of your time will be spent trying to educate people that they may have such problems.
What kind of people are most likely to be suffering from these problems you have identified?
Try to build a list of the kind of people who may have the kind of problems your business can help. You can then paint a picture of who these individuals are. Are they male or female? Do they have high or low incomes? Where do they live? What are their daily lives like? What are their goals and aspirations? What do they rue in life? What makes them feel on top of the world? All this can help determine what will appeal to your audience.
What are your competitors doing? Are they solving these same problems or other problems?
Look at some of your biggest competitors and their marketing efforts, to see what kind of problems or people they are targeting. It’s easy for you to get led astray by looking at your competitors superficially. They may be in the same area of your topic, but addressing a different problem entirely from the one you plan to tackle for your audiences. Even if they look to be in an absolutely same territory, don’t just copy their marketing approach. Use all the audience information you get to find ways to separate yourself from your competition.
b. Look For Target Groups With The Objective Of Building Long Term Relationships
Most Knowledge Commerce marketers who try to identify their target audiences forget one most important principle: you have to be looking for target audiences you can build long-term relationships with. You are not looking for one-time readers of your blog post, or people who will subscribe with ease to your subscriber mailing list, and then unsubscribe with equal ease within a week, when they find their initial attraction for you and your brand waning.
When you are looking for target audiences, you should not just be looking for a group to dump your products on. You should be looking for a community of supporters around you, giving you the encouragement and satisfactions you crave from bonding with others. It’s easy to forget that even in business, you need a family around you.
Likewise, when people opt to join your community they are not looking to be merely sold to. They too are looking for bonding and long-term relationships.
So try to find your audience, and then try to bond them into a loyal community. Nine-tenths of your business will get done, if you can do this one step with utmost sincerity.
c. Sketch Out Your Audience Personas And Buying Journeys
There are two processes that can really aid you in crystallizing your target audiences, in your own mind. One is to sketch out a buyer persona for every kind of typical potential buyer you have. And the second is to sketch out the personas’ most likely buying journeys. Let’s look at both:
Sketching Out Your Buyer Persona
What is a buyer persona? It’s a fictional representation of your ideal customer. You take a typical representative person in your ideal target audience and give the person a make-believe name. Maybe even include a stock photo of what the person may look like. Try to sketch a pen portrait of this persona’s likes and dislikes, job, lifestyle, online activity preferences, opinions … in other words, flesh the persona out, so that it sounds like a real person. You can aim at your audiences better if you’re writing for a single, lifelike representative character from among them. Here is an example of a simple buyer persona …
Image courtesy: Dani Guerrato
Sketching Out Your Buyer Journey
Every potential buyer goes through a journey. He may first become aware he has a problem or issue. He may then look for possible solutions for it. He may find products that claim to solve his problem, and he may compare their benefits. He may then decide to buy one of them that resonates with his budget and needs. Awareness, Consideration, Decision, and Action (AIDA) is believed to be a typical buyer journey. For your potential buyers try to sketch out a typical buying journey leading to your products. If you do this, you’ll know how to take your potential buyer through these steps towards eventual purchases from you. Here is an example of a simple buyer journey map …
Image courtesy: Venngage
2. Your Primary, Secondary And Tertiary Audiences
Most marketers don’t realise that they should be looking to reach three layers of audiences – their primary, secondary and tertiary audiences. How do you differentiate between these three classes of audiences?
Read on to see who they are and how they differ from each other …
a. Your Primary Target Audiences Are Those Who Have The Potential To Pay You
While most solopreneurs look at target audiences as potential readers and subscribers, they seldom pay a thought, in their early days, to find target audiences who have the capacity, potential and need to pay them when the time comes to buy products.
Naturally then, after going a long way in cajoling such prospects, they find to their dismay, that their customers were all only going along with them for their free products. There are two issues to finding prospects who can pay:
- One, a lot of newbie marketers begin with serious self-doubt that they have something good enough to sell to others at a big price. They run themselves down even before potential customers can. So building up your own belief in the quality of your products is one big key to finding target audiences suitable for your business, who will have the readiness to pay you well.
- Two, you have to get into the heads of your potential customers and look for those wanting to make money themselves, or those having goals that involve big money purchases. Unless people have a goal of making money, they would hesitate to spend money unless it can get them that big money they desire.
If you can help your potential customers (your target audiences) achieve their goals, they’ll be happy to pay you for your products and services which are aimed to help them achieve their goals.
b. Your Secondary Target Audiences Are Those Who Can Influence Those Who Can Pay You
The primary person that you’re targeting with your content marketing is clearly the person who will pay you. However, that’s not the only person you should be worried about in your target audience. The secondary person on your separate target audience list should be the person who can influence the person that pays you.
Let me tell you a short story of how much this helped me personally in my Digital Marketing consulting business. I was targeting businesspeople with new businesses as my primary target audience. But the going was rather slow.
I did some research and saw that almost all the businesspeople I had targeted had been funded by venture capitalists and angel investors. I decided to make these venture funders my secondary audience.
I showed these investors how I could help their investee companies – and more than that, I convinced them that I would help their investee companies be market-ready for the next round of funding with some spanking “brand-burnishing”. That argument lit up the eyes of the first-round investors and they hurried to tell their investee companies to work with me. I am happy to say this entire game-plan worked like the blazes, and I never looked back!
This just goes to show how important your secondary audience can be, to move your primary audiences into action. But remember: people are not simply going to ask others to join your roster because you asked them to recommend you. There’s got to be something in it for them.
c. Your Tertiary Target Audiences Are Those Who Are Noting You For Future Use
There is always a group hidden from your immediate view whom you never think of as a potential audience. But you should give them a serious look. They are the people who are not searching right now on Google for the topics you write about, because they probably don’t have immediate problems in those areas. They don’t need your products right away.
But how often has it happened that while people are looking for something else, their eyes are suddenly caught by something new that they’ve never heard of, so they start reading that piece. The name of the author gets stored in their memory. They may not have need for more information on that topic just then, but curiosity enabled them to get some new learning via your article or product promotion.
As a marketer, you may think that such people will tend to forget the author, if the piece they read has no immediate relevance. But there are good chances that the exact opposite may happen. Since people have got exposed to a new idea, they develop a favorable view of the author who first introduced the idea to them. That’s why in the world of advertising they say “If you’re not first with something, you’re nothing.”
Whenever you write a blog post, or create a knowledge product and promote it, or someone drops by your site accidentally, your brand rubs off on the person. This is your tertiary audience. Every day, people look at irrelevant but intriguing content, and bookmark it for future use, don’t they? Make sure you value such people who don’t immediately need you, but walk away with a good feeling about your brand. They may recall you to mind later when they, or someone they know, needs you.
3. How Micro-Targeting Takes Your Audience Segmenting To A Different Level
Micro marketing requires narrowed, intensive focus on small groups of target audiences. You then can build several nuanced products that serve small groups.
Micro-targeting actually help your business grow faster. Here’s more about it …
a. What Is Micro-Targeting And Why Is It So Powerful?
In micro marketing, you address very small groups of people within your target audiences, to get to know their pain-points in depth. Your marketing communication gets very concentrated on their needs. Your words resonate with these small audiences better.
You relate to audiences at an emotional and empathetic level. Your audiences instinctively begin to feel that you know them and their issues very well. They feel as if you are writing for them, almost on a one-to-one basis. Trust bonds develop faster when people feel “understood”. As trust builds, so does sales.
Micro targeting isn’t a tactic suitable only for small businesses or solopreneurs. Huge global brands have now understood the value of it. Companies like Coca Cola have changed in many countries to micro marketing. Uber too is among the many big businesses that use micro marketing.
Uber tries to understand every small transportation issue in global cities where it plans to expand. Naturally, each small geography has its own peculiar transportation problems. The result? Uber says its footprint has grown through an “acute understanding of peoples’ commuting bottlenecks across the globe”.
b. Learn More About Micro-Targeting From An Example
To understand micro marketing better, let’s take an example, say, from the real estate industry. For starters, you would expect that any realtor would have a narrow enough niche. He may be targeting a particular suburb of his hometown. He cannot otherwise handle too many clients, or they’d be taking him all around town on house visits.
But what if the realtor then decided to go even narrower? Say, into rental houses that are two-bed apartments within a certain price range. Now, his own focus and specialization will grow with speed. He may see his target audience needs better than before. He may be able to distinguish the little nuances that affect 2-bed home-renting decisions. He may gain clarity on why some sales don’t materialize, while others do.
In his Knowledge Commerce business, he may be able to develop a host of products. He could make every nuanced need the subject of some knowledge product. He could have products tailored to small groups of similar buyers. Every product and service could nail a small but vital need.
In narrowing his outlook, he would gain depth. The focus of the marketer would become “one inch wide and one mile deep”. Further, the marketer would become the “go-to” person for single people or small families. He would grow a reputation faster as an expert in “small apartment rentals”.
c. Inspirations On Micro-Marketing For Knowledge Commerce Marketers
Here are some ways of how you can slice and dice your niche and target audience. Think of small audience segments. Think of the many small problems people have. You’ll find plenty of ideas.
- Geographical markets are easy to break down by, say, zip code, or streetwise, or by suburbs. One Knowledge Commerce gardening expert sells a course suited to owners of “houses with a back garden space of at least five square meters”.
- If you are in the fitness or medical space, you can target people of certain health problems. For instance, you can build knowledge products for women “on the brink of diabetes”. Or build knowledge products for men with “shoulder-dislocation sports injuries”.
- If you’re in the family counseling niche, you can break up micro-market knowledge products by the kinds of relationship issues people have. For example, a professional I know targets “mothers fed up with quarreling daughters”. She sells sibling-rivalry counseling and therapy services.
- If you are an HR expert, you can target small groups of people with common work problems. One job consultant, for instance, targets people “who have not seen a promotion in three years”.
- If you are a wealth expert, you can target professionals by their job titles or areas of business focus. Rather than just use standard segmentation like salary levels, you could look for problem areas with salaries. One wealth consultant sells a substantial guide for “those earning $90,000 a year but losing more than 40% of it in taxes”.
All of these ideas are about identifying the small problems that small groups of people in your niche have. The closer you get to your audiences, and help solve their particular problems, you’ll see that “one size can never fit all”.
In Summary …
- Target groups are the specific audience of people you want to aim your business and brand at.
- You have to be looking for target audiences you can build long-term relationships with.
- Your primary target audiences are those who pay you. Secondary audiences are those who influence the primary audiences.
- Your tertiary target audiences are not immediate buyers – but the ones that notice your brand and bookmark you for future.
- In micro marketing, you segment your target audiences into very small groups, to address their pain-points in depth.
- The closer you get to your audiences, you’ll see that “one size can never fit all”.
So What Are Your Thoughts? Do Share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of Knowledge Commerce solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
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