If You Don’t Know Who Your Target Audience is, You Cannot Serve Them Effectively.
The first step in creating a Business Plan is to identify who your “target market,” “target audience,” or “ideal client” is.
This is a critical first step. By starting a business online you have become an online marketer. Whether you’re selling a service or products you will be in the business of marketing. It therefore means that your marketing message must be crafted to attract and meet the needs of your particular audience, in order to produce effective results.
If you attempt to target everyone, you’ll probably have very little impact on anyone as your message and methods of delivery will be diluted. Your message must educate your audience or market on how your product/s or services will meet or exceed their expectations. They need to know how they will benefit by doing business with you.
When I first started my online business in the fall of 2008, I had been a Skin Care and Image Consultant for nine years with a large customer base but I had no idea who my ideal client was. If you had asked me then I would have said, “Every woman with skin” because I truly believed that. I’ve since been able to identify that my target market was: A 40 plus woman with some college, employed or an entrepreneur, owns her own home, spiritual-minded, involved in her community. Interestingly, even though this is now my sub-niche, this description fits the majority of my customers, many of whom I’ve served for over 10 years.
Once you have identified your target market or ideal client, your responsibility as part of your business plan will be to:
- Get to know your topic as it affects your market.
- Develop specific goals and strategies around meeting their needs. Keep in mind that in setting goals you can only set goals for things that you can control. You cannot control your customers or clients’ response to your efforts.
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Do you need to increase your knowledge of your topic so that when you talk or write about it you can do so in an enthusiastic and compelling way?
- Research your competition. As part of your marketing analysis you will need to know what others in your industry are doing
- Create financial projections and growth expectations
Now that you have identified your target market or ideal client, it’s time to break down your business plan into sections. Don’t be alarmed! 🙂 For most entrepreneurs one or two pages should be adequate, and we’ll look at the various sections in my next post.