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Marketing Strategy 101 - Target Market

Oct 09, 2022

In this article, we are going to make your marketing 10x more effective, find your audience, and create some fictional customers that are going to be a huge part of your brand and a huge part of helping you create a message that really hits home with your ideal clients.  


Whether you are just starting out or established, I challenge you to really dig in and do this exercise for your business.  


Often we think we know who our market is, and often we haven’t really nailed it, and it’s causing us to struggle to get results from our marketing, or our audience has shifted over the years, and we aren’t connecting like we should be any more.


This is a critical exercise for EVERYONE, no matter what your stage is, so first we are going to get super clear on what your niche is.


I really believe you need to obsess over your customers, and before you even have customers, you should be obsessing about your POTENTIAL customers. 


  • Who will they be? 
  • What are their needs? 
  • What motivates them?
  • Why did they buy your product or service? 
  • Why do they buy it from you specifically? 
  • What would they like to see more of? 
  • How can you better serve them?

So let’s start with defining your Target Audience and niche



What Is a Target Audience?


Very simply, a target audience is a specific group of people you have decided to target with your products or services. It could be a large market or a smaller niche market.


The most common mistake new business owners make is to insist that their product is for EVERYBODY.  Your instinct will tell you that the more people you target the bigger your market, and therefore the more people you will sell to.  Which is what you want right?


The truth is actually a bit counterintuitive.  The more specific you get with the audience you target, and the smaller your niche, the more successful your marketing will be.




The more specific your target audience is the better you can speak directly to them.  It’s much harder to effectively market your product or service to everyone, and have anyone take notice of it, than it is to speak to a very specific group of people, in terms that they understand, with a message that really resonates.


So – for example, let’s say you are a consultant helping small businesses manage their finances.  Technically you could help any small business, but if you try to market to that incredibly wide group, all you can really do is talk about you and what you do.  You can't talk about them and their needs, because it’s just too varied.  


But what if you decide to niche down to specialize in managing finances for just real estate professionals?  Now you become the go to expert, you can speak directly to their very specific concerns in your marketing, and get their attention. You can also target media outlets, social media hashtags, etc that realtors would follow.  Now your marketing just became incredibly effective.


So the very first thing you need to do is figure out specifically WHO you help and how you help them – and not with what you are supplying them – but what their transformation is. What transformation do you provide?  


You sell piano lessons?  Then you aren’t helping kids learn to play piano, you are helping 5 to 12 year olds learn to appreciate and enjoy music by playing the piano.  


Although in this example, the kids aren’t really your target market – their parents are – so perhaps you give parents of 5 to 12 year old homeschooled children the opportunity to experience and learn about music through playing the piano.


So WHO are you really helping? Identify as narrow a niche as you can, and then state how you are helping them, or what transformation you are providing.


There are many ways to identify the right target audience for your brand – but let’s talk about a few


  1. Conduct market research 


Begin with conducting market research to analyze all aspects of the market. 


If you have a business with some existing customers, take note of their attributes to determine what your current audience looks like. You also get more information by examining your social media and website analytics. This can help you understand who is visiting your site, how they navigate it, and which website pages users are visiting the most. Also, know who’s interacting with your social media networks.


If you don't have customers yet, you can have a look at your closest competitors and take note of their customers:

  • Location (are they local, national or international)
  • Demographics (age, gender, occupation, income level, marital status)
  • Psychographics (values, hobbies, lifestyle, personality, attitude, behavior)
  • Customer’s buying habits and motivations
  • Customer Pain Points


Also look at changing trends and economic shifts in your market.  For example, you want to open a nail studio, but you noticed that the current trend is that people are getting used to having more services in their homes so perhaps the market would like a mobile service, or online tutorials.  Looking at the current market information is good, but you also want to have an eye on where it might be going as well.


Knowing ALL of the factors that contribute to your brand’s market and purchase path, is a critical first step to helping you identify the right target audience.


You can also use your own networks for data:


The next time you are with family or friends, look at what products they use. Ask them questions like 


“Would you use this? “


“Do you have a need for this product?” 


“Do you know anyone who would use this?” 


You can also tap into your network of business colleagues, funders, and mentors. Ask them to examine your product or service and give feedback, have them test it out and you may be surprised at the valuable insight you receive.


It's SO important to understand your ideal customer, who they are, what they think, how they live, and what their challenges are.


So let’s talk about Buyer persona’s and why you need them:


Buyer persona’s are fictional representations of your ideal customers based on your data and research. They help you focus your time on the right prospects, they will guide your product development to meet the needs of your target customers, and serve as a touchstone for every part of your business to come back to.


Let me introduce you to Treena Walker.  Treena is one of our favorite members of the SHEcorporated community, and our example persona in the Buyer Persona Workbook you can download for free on our site 


At SHEcorporated, our target audience is women, between 24 and 55 in Canada or the USA with a new business.  From that basic statistical information, we need to get a LOT more personal to understand how to really talk to our market in a way that will connect with them.  


We start with the basics of ‘what” they are but to make your messaging 10x more effective you need to talk to them like you know them.


So how do you get to know them and talk to them at that level?


You create buyer personas like Treena. 


Treena is 26 years old, and works as a City Clerk in Portland Oregon.  She is a busy single mom, with a 4 year old son named Trey.


Treena is frustrated and bored at her current job.  It’s stable, which is great, but she desperately wants to use her Fine Arts degree, and start her own business, using her creative passions. 


Her buying habits are to buy less items, but generally of better quality, and she likes to shop well ahead of time, whenever possible. 


Her current problems are lack of time, missing her friends and family back home and a serious need for some adult conversations.


Are you starting to feel like you might know her?  


Do you feel like you would know how to really speak to her in a more directed way than if I just told you she was a 26 year old woman from Portland?


Building your marketing persona’s starts with the basic target demographic information, but then moves into much deeper detail, in order to construct a fictional character, with passions, flaws, and a personality all their own.


Buyer personas make it easier for you to tailor content, marketing, branding and every aspect of your product or service, right down to the customer service you provide. These fictional characters give you a much deeper insight into how to connect with your customer base at every point of contact.



One of the best ways to get started building your personas is to interview your target audience or current customers, if you have any.


You can ask questions like:

  • How do you prefer to shop (e.g. email, phone, in person)?
  • Do you use the internet to research vendors or products? If yes, how do you search for information?
  • Describe a recent purchase. Why did you consider purchasing, and how did you decide to purchase that product or service?
  • What social media do you use and what groups do you belong to?
  • Describe your personal demographics (if possible, ask their age, whether they're married, and if they have children).
  • Describe your educational background. What level of education did you complete, which schools did you attend, and what did you study?
  • What is your job title?
  • What does a typical day look like?
  • What skills are required to do your job?
  • What publications or blogs do you read?
  • What is the size of your company (revenue, employees)?
  • What are your biggest challenges? 


After you ask all of that – then ask WHY?


This is the number one tip for a successful persona interview.  The follow-up question to pretty much every question in the above list should be "why?"


Through these interviews, you're trying to understand your customers' (or potential customers') goals, behaviors, and motivators. But keep in mind that people aren't always great at reflecting on their behaviors to tell you what drives them at their core.


Start with a simple question — for instance, "What is your biggest challenge?" Then spend a good amount of time diving deeper into that one question to learn more about that person. You learn more by asking, "why?" than more superficial questions.


Now you are ready to create your buyer persona’s – once you have all the data you get to do the fun part.  Create your fictional characters, name them, and get to know everything about them.

We’ve created a template to help you build your buyer persona’s and it’s available for free download on our site HERE


The worksheet lists a many characteristics you want to map out for your persona’s and I have listed some bonus ideas below:


  • What are their favorite tv shows or movies and how do they watch them?  Netflix, Disney Plus?  On their phone or tv?
  • What celebrities or influencers do they love and follow – which ones do they really dislike and why?
  • What types of food or restaurants do they like?  Do they eat out or order in?  
  • Where would they be embarrassed to be seen by their peers?
  • What apps or tools do they use?
  • What groups or teams are they a part of – which ones would they never join?


How many persona’s do you need to build? 


You could have 1 or 2 to 10 or more personas – but I say if you are new to this start with 3. And then really get to know them.  


Once you have this information mapped out it makes your marketing 10x easier and 10x more effective.  Because now you know exactly how to talk to them, AND where to find them.  


Now you know what social platforms to focus on, what pop culture references will intrigue them and what will repel them.  


You know what celebrities and influencers YOU should be following so you know how to reach them .  

Knowing your buyer like a BFF is the very first step to ALL things marketing – so don’t skip this step and if you have never done it – go do it.  It’s an important part of your foundation.

Don’t miss out on our FREE magazine for Women Founders - Get it HERE 

One Step Empire Podcast - Listen HERE 

If you are a woman bootstrapping your business and the marketing budget is super skinny right now – you need this FREE booklet – it’s the Bootstrappers Guide to BIG Marketing on a Small Budget and it's packed with solid marketing tactics that you can start using right away that are free or nearly free.  


Here’s the link: