Round Out Your Target Market

As a novelist, I create characters out of thin air and put them into different situations to tell a story. The more I know about the character, the more believable I can make their reactions, the more believable their reactions, the better the story. By using the same process as a novelist does to create a character, you can define your optimal target market.

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How do you create a target market?

First leave the fear of missing out at the door.

Don’t chase every lead. Most you don’t want. It’s your business you get to do the work you want with the clients you want. Yes, money is part of the equation but you only have so much time to work, don’t fill it up with the wrong thing.

Understand your business, product, and service

To determine your target market, you will need to completely understand your product, service, and business.

  • What does your business do?
  • What problems does your product or service solve?
  • Why should a person buy your product or service?

You must know your unique selling feature. I am always surprised when a business owner does not know why someone should buy from them and even more shocked, when they don’t know whom they are targeting with their marketing message.

Next, know thyself grasshopper.

Use the characterization method outlined below, to understand how you fit into the market and why you would buy from yourself. What do you, as a person, bring to the experience? This will help you to understand how you interact with your target market and why someone would want to buy from you personally.

Ask any business owner whom the best customers are and they will say, the referred ones. Similar people get along best with each other and it is easier to trust someone when they are like you rather than extremely different. By knowing yourself, you will be able to determine what characteristics in a customer are more likely to result in a positive experiences and referrals.

Now you can start asking questions about whom you want to do business with.

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Using the Characterization Method

Some characters are based on arch types, which are two dimensional and limited by expectations of the reader. They are made for a certain roles in specific story genres and for the most part are not based on real people and rarely grow or change.

In some stories the characters feel real, you can relate to them, you understand them and can see yourself being friends with them. They are flawed, learn and grow as the story progresses. These are the well-rounded characters that are created through a process of asking questions, creating back stories, and drawing from people in the real world. This is the kind of process you want to engage in to define a target client.

Start by identifying your favourite clients. If you don’t have any yet, think about the kinds of people you get along best with.

Traditional Demographics are Not Enough

Let’s start with the easy stuff, the obvious part of target marketing – demographic stats.

These include, Age, gender, race, profession, married, single, kids, homeowner, address, and income. Write down the general demographics your ideal client fits into, then take it one step further by asking why do you want to target that age, gender, etc and how will your product or service help them?

Now, round them out a bit more by looking at what they do. What hobbies does your client have? Where to they shop? Is it Walmart or Bloomingdales? Where do they like to eat, go for drinks, exercise, and vacation? Ask all the questions that will tell you what kind of buying habits they have, their recreational choices, and how they value their status or image.

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Dig Deeper

What values does your ideal client have? Values encompass things like, honesty, courage, leadership, and vision. The Internet has lots of lists to help you define a person’s values.

What does your client want most of all? Wants that are common are, security, fame, adventure, happiness and love. Once again you can do a Google search to come up with a list to help you.

What about your client’s morality or belief system? Things people passionately stand for are charities, causes, political views, religion, and world order. This is a starting target for your core ideal client, so though you may think this isn’t important, it is, because it will help you identify where your clients are.

What is the main problem your client has? This is where your ability to solve that problem comes in. Look deeper into the problem though, why does he have it? How does he communicate that he has it? Does he even know that he has it? When does your client’s problem become so critical they need your solution, yesterday? Understand how this problem fits in your target client’s life and what it looks like when he needs your solution.

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A novelist is determining the detailed characteristics of one character, not a group of identical ones, unless his book is about clones that is. The point is, don’t get so detailed that you will only target five-foot-nine, blue eyed, blonde haired, bombshells with great bodies. You want to keep your characterization general enough to describe a decent sized group of people. If you find your target market is too tight, loosen up your criteria, if it’s too large, tighten up your criteria. This is your target market and the size of your budget will help determine how large of a target you can afford to start getting your story in front of.

Now that you have your target market, how are you going to get your message out to them?

I have some choices for you:

Follow me on social media – I’ll be adding more posts to answer marketing questions.

Google – “Getting in front of a target market”

Let’s chat about your business and see if I can help you get your message out.

If you are in the Vancouver, BC Canada area, let’s have a coffee to brainstorm.


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

Shannon Peel is a Digital Marketing Specialist, writer, and novelist living in the Vancouver area of British Columbia.  Follow her on social media where she writes about marketing, writing, novels, single life, divorce, parenting, and adventures with her Mini Cooper named Tori.

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Shannon Peel

Marketer / Author

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