How important is it to understand your target market, define customer demographics and create buyer personas?
That's a good question. Let me share a story to help clarify my thoughts on this. I am working with a client right now and we have changed directions a bit from our previous marketing consulting strategy. Today we are focused on vertical markets. SLC Bookkeeping found a client that seemed fun, profitable, and easy to work with and we decided to go after more of these prospects.
Recently Matt and I decided Yoga Studios might be a good market for SLC to go after. In a few weeks of creating a strategy, developing an ebook, creating a case study based on a yoga client, and writing a few articles… we really started getting our heads in the yoga world.
Because of the focus on a specific industry, SLC Bookkeeping is building relationships with the Yoga Industry. He is not just blasting out marketing messages to yoga studios, but he is actually connecting, following and engaging with people in this space. Now after just a few weeks they are already getting listed in a digital industry newspaper. Wow! That is great news.
So yes understanding your target market is very important. Creating demographic data of your current or past customers might lead you to a good vertical market as well. If you have never gone after vertical markets or create buyer personas then it is probably tough to get listed in industry newspapers or even build relationships. The more focused you get though, the easier it is for people to relate with you.
So let's say you go through the same process…
- Find a past client you like.
- Research the industry to see if there are other opportunities.
- If you see opportunities, then create some more formal, demographic data.
- Then keep working on this info, tighten things up and turn them into a buyer persona.
- From there, start following similar prospects on twitter, join their industry related groups and find where they hang out.
- Then work on building relationships (keep in mind relationships are built on respect and give to get. Don't just start spamming these people. Be patient connect, listen, ask questions.)
- Then RT their tweets that might be relevant to your readers.
- Have them do guest posts on your blog; do guest posts on their blogs.
- Create a package specifically for this group and promote it on your website. (Not in their groups - bring it up only when asked or when answer a question and it is relevant). They will find it if you build the relationship or they do a search for help in your area of expertise.
This will help you build a little niche marketplace for yourself and set you a part for your competitors. The most important part of these tips is building relationships. This takes time so don't rush things. Always be helpful, offer educational content to help them and their industry and promote these new connections. Do all this and ask for nothing in return. This helps build trust and the type relationships you are working on building. Over time people will start looking for way to return the favor and help you out. Don't not go in to a relationship looking for a payoff because people can sniff out a rat very quickly. Be patient and be a friend and you will see some great things start to happen.
You could be like Matt Roberge from SLC Bookkeeping and start to build relationships and friends and then out of the blue you make it in an industry newspaper with the readers being your target market/buyer personas. Cool stuff, huh? Here is a screen shot of Matt's latest article (Yoga Studio Bookkeeping - What You Need To Know) listed in the Dynamic Yoga News.
I remember all the print reps used to attend the Design or Advertising clubs. These guys were ruthless and were all over you. The thing is these guys smelled desperate and so I doubt they ever got much business from this strategy. It was the printing companies who offered to bring in speakers or sponsor events/food or something that were building better relationships than the sales reps attending the event and trying to hardsell you at every meeting. I hated these guys. Don't be this guy/gal.
Best of luck and I hope you make some great connections and you too might see how building relationships could help grow your business, your reputation and set you up as a thought leader.