Building a business is hard work but targeting your marketing properly can save time, and money so here’s our thoughts on how you can up the responsiveness of your marketing spend.

In our work building websites we always ask our clients about their target market. This enables us to work out what kind of message this target market is likely to respond to on the website.

However, what we realise is that very few small businesses actually spend time working out who they’re selling to and then end up wasting time and money attempting to sell to folks who are not ideal clients.

So, what can you do about this situation?

Well the first thing we recommend is that you stop spending time and money on your existing marketing (temporarily of course). This may seem a little counter-intuitive but if you’re not very clear about your target market then you might be wasting quite a lot of that time and money.

The next step is to sit down and begin to write down the kinds of ideal clients that you’d like to attract. In this exercise you need to go into as much detail as possible. You need to work out who they are in such areas as age, gender, where they live, what kind of work they do, their interests/hobbies, their income levels, family status, their likes/dislikes, their wants/desires, their frustrations/problems and whatever else might be important to their potential decision making processes.

Armed with this information, and the same principles apply if you’re selling to businesses as well, you can then begin to cut out marketing efforts and spending that isn’t aimed specifically at that group.

From that you can begin to craft a marketing message that will tick as many boxes as possible in their demographics.

However, always remember that you may have more than one target group. So you’ll need to consider the message that you send to each.

A couple of good examples are Next Directory and Mercedes cars.

Next will only send you marketing stuff about clothes and other goods that suit your demographics of gender and age group. But also it depends on what you’ve bought too. If you’ve only bought from the Home catalogue you’ll get marketing stuff based on that but very little on clothing.

Having said that, I bought a shirt from them in March and they send me offers on women’s clothing (what are they trying to say?). I’m certain that I put my salutation down as ‘Mr’.

But also consider Mercedes. They know that trying to sell to every car driver is a waste of time and money because not everyone can afford (or will want) a Mercedes car. So they spend on advertising in magazines that will appeal to their chosen demographics. You’ll often see their ads in The Economist and The Sunday Telegraph but rarely in PC Magazine or the Daily Mail.

So, spend time working out who your target market is and then focus your advertising and promotion efforts in their direction only. Targeting your marketing isn’t an option, it’s essential, you’ll get better results, and save time and money as well.

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