Choosing Your Target Market 

On Bob Dylan’s 1979 album Slow Train Coming, there was a song called ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’. Little did I know back in the day driving around in my 1970 Chevelle listening to this song that I would be using the title in an article on marketing. (I also didn’t know the Chevelle I purchased for $500 would be worth around $40,000 now.)

You may have a lifestyle business that provides you with the luxury of traveling the world and working from anywhere making millions. You may be dealing with clients on a daily basis. But you’re gonna have to serve somebody. (If you know the lyrics to the song, you will appreciate the previous three lines.)

And the more clear you are on who you serve, the more success you will have in your business. Notice Dylan says we gotta serve somebody…not everybody.

Choosing your target market is the first place to begin when starting your business. Most people want to start with setting up their Facebook Page, building their website, going to networking events without first getting clear on who they want to work with. Big mistake.

The following questions will give you a good start on clearly defining your target market.

1. Who is your ideal customer? You need to know demographics and psychographics. Demographics are where they are, how much money they make, age, gender, etc. Psychographics focuses on why they buy, what motivates them to buy, and what are their (sometimes ingrained) beliefs you have to overcome.

2. Why do you want to serve them? This could be the most important question you could ask. The answer to this question is what will keep you motivated when the going gets tough. You will be doing a lot of research on the topic you choose and providing a lot of content on that topic. If you do not have a good reason for serving your audience or you are not passionate about what you are doing, then you may not last.

3. Is your story something your target market can relate to? What life experiences do you have that you could market and sell? Do you truly understand their struggles and frustrations? Dave Ramsey has built a multi-million dollar business with hundreds of employees because of his story and struggle with debt early in his life. His mantra is basically ‘cut up your credit cards and do what Grandma did’ (or something along those lines) when it comes to spending. He is relatable, easy to understand, and most important has empathy for his millions of listeners. Because he has been where they are. He may be a little tough sometimes, but the intent is there.

4. What value do you bring to the marketplace? Do you have specific training, knowledge, or experience with this particular topic? Here’s the thing. You don’t make money doing whatever it is you do. You make money by delivering value to a market that is hungry for a product or service that will make their life better. And if you are the one who delivers that value, you make money. Simple. Bottom line is if they are paying you money for a product or service they want something to be different in their lives. When they exchange give you their hard earned cash, they are expecting a transformation. And if you can paint a clear picture of that transformation for them, you will make money.

5. Is there a hungry market that wants and needs what you have to offer? Are they willing to pay you and do they have the money to pay you? Think about a business owner who is supporting his family with a new business. More than likely, he is passionate and hungry for information about growing his business. People who golf or travel are passionate about their hobbies and interests. They are always looking for information that will improve their experience.

6. Do you have a consistent way to reach them that is both cost effective and profitable? Or will you have to spend hundreds of dollars every month on paid ads such as Facebook Ads or Google Ads? Will you need to join an organization or association to get to them? Or can you reach them organically by going to networking meetings or speaking in front of a group of hot prospects?

Do not get stuck on this step of identifying your target market. I have seen countless business owners spend months and even years on this process of trying to decide who they serve. It’s better to get started and implement something than to spend too much time on this step and do nothing. Your business will evolve and things will change. You will learn by doing. Getting started on something will help you move forward and then you can figure it out as you go.

Don’t worry about having a ‘niche’ market. Just narrow it down as much as possible for now and get started. Implement! You do not need a ‘guru’ and their $497 product to show you how to do this. It boils down to just doing the work. I promise if you will take some time whether a few hours or a couple of days (NOT months or years), you will be more confortable promoting your product or service, and you will have more success.

All the best,

Mike Coleman