Whether you’re new to business, launching a new product, or updating your existing content it’s important that you’re clear on exactly who you’re talking to and can tailor your message in a way that they perk up their ears and pay attention to what you have to offer.
Recently I was interviewed about how I help my Brand Your Awesome clients get crystal clear on their message and I wanted to share with you one of the exercises that we talked about.
Usually when talking about choosing your target audience you’re told to narrow your focus, and get really specific.
While specificity is important, the word “narrow” is one I want to put the kibosh on.
When you’re told to narrow your audience, it feels very limiting. The word “narrow” makes you fear, that you won’t be able to serve as many clients as you wish, or be able to deliver all of the magic you have up your sleeves.
Instead, I want you to think about how you can deepen your target audience.
When you deepen your target audience, you deepen the level of connection you have with your ideal clients by making them feel heart and understood.
When you’re talking to someone very specific in a very deep way, they’re going to be magnetically attracted to you. That’s obviously what you want more of in your marketing. You want to attract more of the clients that you were meant to serve.
Without further ado, let me share with you the three levels of target audience.
1. The first level is your target market.
This is what you traditionally start with by answering the question “what is the demographic of the people you want to serve?”
Are we talking to men? Are we talking to women? Are we talking to both? Are they married? Are they single? Are they divorced? Are they in certain age ranges, certain kinds of jobs, certain industry, how many kids do they have? Do they not have kids?
All of those demographic pieces that give you a specific industry or market to talk to. Instead of narrowing down from there, we’re going to go one level deeper.
2. Who within that market are your ideal clients?
Your ideal clients have special qualities, attitudes, and values that make them the type of people that you do your best work with. Consequently, they are also the type of people that are most likely going to buy your programs.
A common mistake coaches make when they are narrowing (instead of deepening) their target audience, is to narrow down to a market that isn’t actually going to be interested, or in many cases able to pay, for their services.
Obviously who you’re marketing to needs to value your services enough to pay you for them.
Let’s talk through an example that is outside of the coaching industry, just for illustration.
Let’s say you have a dog walking business and your demographic are people that live in cities, they have families, they are working 10 to 12 hours day. They need their dog taken care of during that time because they obviously don’t want to come home to a mess. This is the target market.
What kind of qualities would someone have that would make them an ideal client for a dog walker?
Maybe they get Bark Box for their dog every month because clearly want them to have stimulation, they want to give them new stuff, they’re spending money on their dogs already. Maybe they make them homemade biscuits and treat them the same as they would their children.
Do you see how those qualities would lead them into wanting your services?
An unideal client would be someone that is happy leaving their dog outside for the day or in a crate, their dog isn’t treated them as a part of the family it’s “just a pet”. They have a different attitude, and probably wouldn’t see the value in having an Class-A dog walker come to their house every day.
We’ve looked at one side of the spectrum, and the other, and of course there’s going to be people at many levels in between. For our marketing though, we want to focus on those who are ideal clients that we want to sell our services to. Not only will they be more likely to buy, they are going to be a heck of a lot more fun to work with.
3. Level three is your avatar.
When deepening to the avatar level, we’re going to pick one person in the group of ideal clients that we are going to market to specifically.
Now, you’re probably saying, “But Holly, you said we weren’t narrowing, that’s scary. I’m only going to market to one person?”
Yes, and here’s why.
When you’re marketing to one person it’s kind of like you’re going into a room and you’re shouting one person’s name versus going into a room shouting “Hey you!” some may glance over at you, but then they’re going to go back to their conversation because clearly you weren’t talking to them specifically.
If instead you yelled, “Hey Jennifer,” Jennifer is going to look and she’s going to know that you’re trying to get her attention.
This is what you’re doing when you’re talking to an avatar. You are calling out specifically to this person with examples and language that speaks directly to their needs and fears, so they know immediately that you’re talking them.
They will feel heard and ultimately they will see the value in your services.
Going back to the dog walker examples.
Let’s say your avatar are families who own chihuahuas, or if we don’t want to get that specific, we could say, “Small dogs.” The needs of someone that has a small dog, or a chihuahua in this instance, is going to be a lot different than someone that has a Saint Bernard.
They tend to think of their dogs a little differently. Small dogs need to be treated differently than large dogs. They have different fears. For example, you don’t have to worry about a Saint Bernard getting stepped on. You also don’t have to worry about a Saint Bernard squeezing out of a dog harness and running off. They might pull your arm off and run off, but that’s a whole other set of problems.
When you’re using very specific language that speaks to the fears that a specific person has related to their situation, and the desires that they have for, in this case, their animal, you can market to them in a very effective way.
You could create an ad, or a flier, or content, around why you only walk small dogs. Because you understand how delicate they are, and how they might be a little bit more nervous than larger dogs, because clearly they have to be afraid of being stepped on. You can speak to the heart of that owner, their worries, their fears, and they know, “Oh this person gets it,” or at the very least, “Oh, I don’t have to worry about that with this person.”
This is how you speak to your prospects in a way that makes them think you’re reading their minds. Ultimately, they’ll want to work with no one but you because you understand them so well.
In summary, you will have better results in your marketing if you deepen your audience from target market, to ideal client, and then to avatar.
Now here’s one little bonus tidbit that I’m going to give you.
Bonus Round: You can have multiple avatars.
I do not recommend having multiple target markets, but you can market to multiple avatars, you can even offer the same offer to multiple avatars.
Going back to the dog walker example for continuity sake. You could create ads for small dogs, and different ads for large dogs but still offer them the same pricing and packages. You just walk the dogs at different times so you can cater to their specific needs.
In this way, your prospects still feel heard, they feel like your services and your packages are geared toward people like them, but you’re still able to serve multiple levels within your audience.
Now what do you do with this information?
Well first of all, obviously you could take this and apply it to your coaching business, and look at the three levels of target audience for you.
What I’d actually like you to do first is take an industry, or a business, that is not yours, kind of like how I just took dog walkers, maybe yours is dentists, or bakers.
Your first step is to apply this concept to that industry and answer these questions:
- What would be the target market?
- How would you describe the ideal client? client?
- Who would be an avatar that you could specifically market your services to?
- What are the problems that they have and how are you going to satisfy those as whatever service provider you are?
I want you to do this is before applying it to your business because oftentimes it’s easier to apply concepts to someone else’s business.
You’re going to get practice doing this for someone else, and you’ll find that the strategy feels more concrete and applying it to your own business is a piece of cake.
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