Category Archives: Target Market

How To Avoid Sleepless Nights and Useless Social Media Postings

10.21.15There is one thing that hundreds of previous clients have not done that has cost them sleepless nights and many hours learning to use the latest social media fad, but to no avail—they haven’t taken the time to define their target market.

I understand it to a point; some people think they have already done that and don’t want to waste time doing it again.  And there are other seemingly logical reasons not to spend time defining their target market.  They get confused about how to do it.  Or, they decide that everyone in the world is their target market and they don’t want to leave anyone out.

After deciding not to define their market, their next step is to jump into the latest popular social media way to market their goods or services.  Then they spend hours learning how to use the latest fad.  They master it and boom; they find they have no more clients than they did before.

Here is the easiest way to define your target market.  It’s so easy you just haven’t thought of it.  The key is to look at the demographics and psychographics of your customers.

Demographics include: age, ethnicity, education, marital status, employment, household income, number of children, and geographic location.

Psychographics is the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests and lifestyles.  In the use of psychographics, you are looking for why your customers want what they want from you, why they buy from you.

The best way to find out about the demographics of your customers is do a simple survey.

And the best way to find out the psychographics of your customers is to interview them.  You can tell them why you are doing this and of course, anything that they tell you is confidential.  Here are some questions to ask your customers, keeping in mind that the questions relate to your offering: What do you like about my product?  What do you not like about it?  What had you buy this product?  What would have you NOT buy this product?  Ask questions that will elicit your customers’ personalities, values, opinions, attitudes, interests and lifestyles.  You are developing a profile of you target customers, and once you have that profile you will then know how to best reach them and market to them.  They will tell you how.

Taking the time to do the research to define your ideal customer will save you many sleepless nights and useless social media postings.

If you get stuck, I am here for you.


Your Fourth Quarter Game Plan

10.14.15We are beginning our fourth quarter of the year.  This is the time of the year to assess the factors that have influenced the success of your business in 2015.

Yes, it probably seems too early for this type of assessment but really it’s not.  When you look at the calendar and realize that we are entering in the busiest time of the year: Halloween! Thanksgiving! Holiday Season! New Year’s Eve!  Egad, it’s a good thing we are beginning now.

Let’s begin by doing an honest and in depth analysis of what has been working for you in your business this year. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What offering has created the most profit in your business this year?
  • Which segments of your target market responded to your marketing?
  • Which new offers stimulated the most business this year?
  • What parts of your marketing hit home runs for you?

It is also beneficial to take a look at what didn’t work for you this year.  Ask what actions you could change to make them more successful, or if you want, stop those facets of your business that your target market doesn’t relate to.  Of course, you do not use what didn’t work in your business as a way to beat yourself up.

I am talking about a process that is designed to help you make the best decisions for your business.  It is the intention of this conversation to give you a game plan that is robust so you end the year on the highest note possible.  The best possible scenario is for you to end the year totally satisfied about what you accomplished this year.  By doing this type of analysis you will be able to plan for the advent of 2016 fully informed about what direction to take.

This is also a good time to put your marketing plan in sharp focus.  And of course, continue to market your business.  This is not the time to lean back and relax—this is the time to be present and clear in the market place.


Could You Introduce Me To Your Target Market?

9.30.15Whether you are starting a business or expanding the business that you already have, knowing and marketing to your target market is the gold standard for assuring marketing and sales success.

This idea of knowing your target market sounds so simple, and yet business owners stumble more on this step than any other.

  • Some people think they have already done that and don’t want to waste time doing it again.
  • There are so many opinions floating around about how to define a target market that people become confused and thus do nothing.
  • Others don’t want to leave out any potential client so they decide that everyone—the world—is their target market.

If you are stuck on defining your specific target market, I introduce you to my colleague, Jennifer L. Morrow, owner of Creative Company

Jennifer has over 35 years of successful experience in branding businesses.  She and her team of branding experts are world class experts in defining target markets.

Jennifer designed a simple worksheet to guide you in designing your target market.  It is innovative and very useful.

The worksheet will help you define your target market; it will help you determine how to design your marketing to reach the actual decision makers, and will help you discover what will cause them to buy the product or service you are offering. Read It Now


What Are You Selling? An Experience Or A Product?

8.19.15“We really don’t sell smoothies. We sell an experience; and we give you a smoothie while you’re there.”

-Keon Davis, Owner, Smooth-N-Groove

Keon Davis is an entrepreneur who has grown his smoothie business from nothing to a million dollar business.  His story of building his business is certainly worth reading.  Click below to read more about Keon’s rise to success.

What struck me most about the story of Keon’s philosophy of his entrepreneurial mission is the idea that his company sells an experience not a product.

It is worth considering.  Are you focusing on providing your potential clients an experience or a product?  Your answer may belie what your next step will be to increase your sales and garner customer loyalty.  If you pair your intelligence about your target market with consciously giving those specific people a positive experience of you and your business, you will have leaped forward toward business success.

Many times, business owners are stuck at a certain plateau.  They become frustrated and feel hopeless about the future of their business.  When we look at what happened in the business to cause this malaise it is usually that the future of the business has expired and the initial customer experience has gone stale.  Once a business owner clearly sees what happened then he can build a new fresher experience for his customers.  The business begins to flourish again at a new level.

If you are stumbling about not knowing what your customer’s experience is, I suggest you ask them.  A high touch way to make the inquiry is to call some of your customers to get their impression of the experience that your business gives them.  You will find out more about what your clients want and expect.  They will be impressed that you called them and listened to their opinion.

Another way to test your clients experience is to ask them to answer a brief questionnaire about the experience of working with your business.  You may want to pair the questionnaire with giving each person a special discount on one of your products or services.

One way is not better than the other.  The point is to check in with your loyal clients, they are your target market.  Use their responses to further enhance the experience that your clients have in working with you.

Sharpen Your Focus

6.24.15Greatness doesn’t start with a market opportunity; it starts with a problem that needs solving.  The opportunity comes from marketing the solution.

-Simon Sinek

One of the things I know for sure is that business success is not built on an entrepreneurs desire to make money first and foremost.  It is built on the entrepreneurs’ desire to make a difference by providing services that offer a solution to a problem or pain point that their intended client has.  This desire to make a difference cannot be artificially created or conjured by the business.  It has to be real, authentic, transparent, and easy to detect.

You know that slimy feeling you get when someone is pitching a program or service that has been developed and marketed by someone who really doesn’t give a rat’s behind about the potential client’s problem but is acting as if they really care.  You can spot it a mile away and my guess is that you quickly delete the marketing pitch.  I know I do that and I would bet you do too.

By your spending the time to know your “one” person who represents your target market, you definitely get to know where the target client has pain and how they talk and think about it.  Also you have created a unique solution for alleviating that pain.  And you believe that your solution will bring them relief.

Your challenge is to design a marketing program (marketing mix) utilizing the 4 “P”s: product, price, placement and promotion.  One of the most effective ways to get ideas for an effective design is to have a series of focus groups work with you in creating the marketing program.  A focus group is defined by Wikipedia as “…a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging.  Questions are asked in an interactive group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members.”

Utilizing focus groups may sound a little intimidating but actually it doesn’t have to be.  It can be as informal as getting your friends and acquaintances together for pizza and asking them questions about your ideas for a marketing program.  Or if you like, you can download an excellent PDF guide for running focus groups, prepared by Elliot and Associates: How to Conduct a Focus Group (control click to download the document ).

For impatient entrepreneurs who just want to get on with it and not do this research, I totally get what you thinking.  To you it might seem like getting ready to get ready which indeed is a time waster.  However, this type of research on your part will give you more opportunities to offer your solution to your target market. After all, that is why you are in business—isn’t it?



Your Ideal Client Is Who?

61015Once you have decided that you do want to be in business, and you have an concrete idea about what it is that you want to offer the market, you naturally will have some idea about who it will be you are offering your services to.  Your idea about who is your customer is probably vague.  Usually what I hear from new entrepreneurs is, “Well, what I am offering is good for everyone.”

No, it isn’t!

One of the most important steps that any new entrepreneur can take is to thoroughly understand his target market.  The target market needs to be specifically defined so that it loses its name “Target Market” and becomes instead a person who has a name.  Not only a name but also a photo.  And, if you want to take this concept to its ultimate height, hang that photo in your office.  No, I am not kidding.  The entrepreneurs I know who are very successful do have photos of “their people” hanging on the walls of their offices.  Every time they forget what they are doing and why, good old Shirley or Jack is smiling down on them.

So how exactly do you get to know your target market so personally and what tools do you use to do that?

The two key factors in determining your target market are the demographics and psychographics about your desired client.

Demographics are the facts about your customers that are easy to observe: age, nationality, gender, income, where they live, if they have pets, children, how many cars they own, what their income is, and their level of education.  These are the characteristics of people that are measurable and verifiable.  This is information that is available on the internet in the form of census, Chamber of Commerce reports and some Google searches can provide much demographic information.

Psychographics are characteristics about your target clients that are defined by their interests, values, opinions and behaviors.  The best way to find out the psychographics of your market it to ask them.  What works is to design a group of questions that will help you understand why they do what they do regarding the product or service you are offering—I mean finding out specifically what has them want or not want your product.  What would they do to get it?  What motivates them to actually buy such a product?

What kind of questions do you ask?

Research Google for psychographic survey questions, you will find a treasure trove of templates to help you determine your target markets attitudes, beliefs, interests, opinions and behaviors.  Many of the survey templates are free.

By spending time in thoroughly knowing the demographics and psychographics of your potential clients, you will be ahead of the curve in developing a solid business structure.


Call Me…

3.18.15Like most of us I like hearing good news, and I love hearing breakthrough news from coaching clients.  Yesterday, I heard breakthrough news that is so exciting and over the top that I am sharing it with you.  One of my clients just closed a quarter million dollar contract.  She was excited.  I was over the moon pleased for her.

This contract wasn’t just going to happen.  This was not a lucky break.  She made it happen.  And she made it happen just like you can with taking the steps that are necessary to provide world class service to your clients.

Here are the qualities that produce breakthrough results:

  • A passionate belief in yourself and your ability to provide the services.
  • A clear vision of the core services you provide.
  • The ability to communicate clearly about your core services.
  • A continuing dedication to education about the latest developments in your field.
  • Knowing your target market like you know your best friend.
  • Keeping your word.
  • Planning your work and working your plan.
  • Communicating fully and honestly if you cannot keep your word.  Renewing a new “by when” for keeping your word.
  • Being willing to create a measurement for your results which includes “by whens” and promises and “go fors”.
  • Being willing to fail and to learn from the failures.
  • A refusal to be a victim of failure.
  • An unstoppable tenacity and persistence.
  • Having someone you trust hold you accountable for results.

Again and again I see these qualities in clients.  They are the people who have extraordinary results in their lives and in their businesses.

If you feel stuck.  If you feel like you can’t reach high enough for the breakthrough results you are longing for, please call me.  Together we can make your intention come true by clearing away what is holding you back from making that same kind of excited triumphant,” I did it!” telephone call to me.

I will look forward to hearing from you.


– Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


Purpose Part 2: Why Do You Want To Work With Those People?

1.21.14Purpose does not need to involve calculations or numbers.  Purpose is about the quality of life.  Purpose is human, not economic-Simon Sinek

We had a discussion last week about “Purpose”.  Here is an excerpt from the discussion: As you can see, “purpose” has power behind it.  Purpose gives one inspiration and drive.  By its definition, it is active, it is dynamic, and it has the power to pull you out of yourself and become a bigger, bolder you.  What I mean by a bolder you is, a purpose which inspires you, allows you to step up and be more than who you know yourself to be right now.  Reminding yourself of your purpose each day will set you up to go up the road to success not down the road to mediocrity.

Purpose is not about your numbers.  And, yes, measuring sales numbers can be just that– a measurement of success.  As Sinek says, purpose has much more weight and importance than numbers.  It is what gets you up in the morning to provide your services to people because purpose is about the people you are serving not what you are serving.  That being said in order to give you more direction in looking at this valuable question: What is your purpose?  Pamela Slim, author of the book Body of Work, has provided us with some valuable questions to answer about what you are up to in your business.  Consider answering these questions:

  • What do you want to create?
  • Why do you want to create it?
  • Who is it for?
  • Why now?
  • Why you?

As you can see in Slim’s questions, she is pointing to your specific intentions with your target market.  As you answer these questions continue to think about your target market.  It is useful to have a composite of your target market as one person who embodies the elements of your target market.  For instance, my one person is named Chris, he is a small business owner, married with two teenage children.  Chris is 50 years old and plays golf.  He is stuck on a plateau of working a lot and not making much money.  He does not have any idea of what to do to break the cycle of business mediocrity.  He wants results now.

Knowing your target market and why you want to work with them is vital for your business success.  It is through doing this deep work on your business purpose that your business will exceed your expectations.

I am looking forward to your comments in the space provided below.


Are You Selling To Please Yourself Or Your Client?

111914 Your OfferThere is a lot of value in being disappointed and failing in business.  Each disappointment and failure signals something that is not working in your business.  Once you see what is not working then you can change it, fix it, or just plain toss it away and not do it anymore.  Looking at what is not working sounds rather benign on paper; however on the playing field it can be painful for you, the entrepreneur, to face the fact that something you have put a lot of time and energy into is not working.

One of my clients had a brilliant idea.  In order to stimulate sales and bring in new clients, she would reduce her fee for service by 40% for a certain length of time.  She went about crafting her offer, designing special graphics, carefully composing emails about the offer and with much fanfare introduced her deeply reduced fee for service to her large list of potential clients.  What happened?  Nothing.  The offer bombed, and all the weeks of crafting, composing, and marketing was time wasted.

Another client has been selling a product to his target market for several years.  He has always told the potential buyer about the benefits and the limits of the product.  Sales were increasing steadily, but not dramatically.  He knew something was not working as it should.  After all, he always told the potential client what the product would not do as well as what the benefits were.  Why wasn’t his sales offering working as it should?

Both coaching clients came to their coaching session upset with their potential buyers.  They blamed the buyer for not understanding their offers.  “After all,” they said “My offer is wonderful.  Why isn’t the potential buyer buying?”

The answer to both coaching clients turned out to be the same.  They had forgotten WHO they were selling to.  They had made the assumption that the potential client knew their product offering as well as they did, when in fact, clearly evidenced by the disappointing sales numbers, the potential client didn’t understand the offer.  They didn’t see what they would be getting for their money so they declined the offer.  Once my client began to look at the offer through the eyes and mind of his potential client—his specific target market who he calls The One—he could see how to change the offer so it was appealing  

In the first instance, the coaching client could adjust the offer of the discounted fee for service by clearly listing what benefits the potential client would receive by accepting the offer.  The benefits would be written in such a way that would speak the language of the potential target client.  The potential client would want what the person was selling because it spoke to his needs.

In the second instance, the seller saw that in his quest for being honest and straight about what the product would not do, he didn’t specifically highlight what the product would do for the client.  He had been emphasizing the short fall, NOT the benefits.  The clients were left confused.

Do a thorough debriefing about your business failures with the intention of finding out what didn’t work.  It is essential to your entrepreneurial process.  Only when you see clearly why something didn’t work can you change it so that it does work.  The real proving ground for the success of every offer is through the eyes and ears of your target market, the specific person, the One.  If the One won’t buy the offer, find out why.

I am looking forward to hearing from you about this topic.


What Are You Doing for Q4? Don’t Know? Do These 3 Steps

10.1.14Welcome to the last business quarter of the year!  This quarter is commonly known as Q4 in business terms.  Are you greeting it with glee and joy?  Probably not.

This is a very dangerous time of the year for you because all the best holidays are coming up: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve.  It is our human tendency to figuratively, take off our “Spanx” and relax into the holidays.  However, if you do so without taking some steps to insure that your business continues to grow, you may be setting yourself up for more work in marketing your business and creating sales occurring for next year and this final quarter.

Do these steps before the holidays begin and you can set up a plan that will take you forward to next year.

1. Look at what worked for you this year.  Please list each item that worked and why it worked.  We are doing an analysis here.  This is a paper and pen analysis.  Not a mental analysis.  What caused the most profit in your business?  What segment of your target market responded to your marketing?  Was it your marketing plan?  Your new offers?  Your outreach to your target market?  These are just a few examples of looking at what worked.  Each business is unique and you will have unique answers to what worked.

2. Look at what didn’t work for you this year.  Perhaps, writing down what didn’t work will be harder for you.  We do like to look where we succeed not at where we fail.  It is so important to list the failures too.  Without looking at them purely from an analytic point of view, we cannot see what we should stop doing or change.  Both steps are important.  You will have your unique responses to this step.  Note to Self: This is not a step that you use to beat yourself up with.  No, it’s an approach to having your business thrive.

3. Keep your marketing going during Q4.  Our tendency to stop causing business through effective marketing also damages sales for the next year.  If you are “out of sight” during the Q4, you are setting yourself up for business disappointment in the next year.  Keep your business marketing present and valuable to your clients and potential clients.

By doing these simple steps, you will be far ahead of most businesses.  And of course, it will be much easier to enjoy the holidays with business success standing there glittering away.

I look forward to hearing your comments.  Please tell me what you will do as you go forward to Q4.