How to define your target customer in 2021.
By Freddie Ngunju
Psst, business owner…you need to define your target customer!
If you ever want to experience any success, it is important that you get extremely clear on who you are targeting. Otherwise, your digital marketing efforts will never work and you will always be spending money on Facebook and Instagram ads, but you will never fully reap the benefits of paid advertisements.
So who’s your target customer anyway?
Your target customer is the specific type of customer that your business intends to serve with your products or services. Your target customer is the type of person that is most likely to be interested in or benefit from your products or services.
Identifying your target customers is a critical step needed for your small Kenyan business to market and promote products or services effectively. If you don’t have clarity when it comes to your target customer, then your small Kenyan business is in more trouble than you can possibly imagine.
What’s more, if you are the kind of business owner that’s targeting ‘everyone’, then you should know that you’ve been running your online business in Kenya the wrong way. It’s the same case for you if you are the type of business that ‘caters to a big group of people’.
That’s simply not going to work, my friend.
If you target everyone, then you’re literally targeting nobody. Your business cannot be all things to all people and if you try to be, you will end up on the losing side. No one can afford to target everyone; unless you’re a huge corporation like Jumia or Safaricom.
You may be asking; how can I define my target customer if my product/service really is perfect for everybody?
It is indeed possible for your small business to be ideal for a large group of people.
Take for instance; Amazon. Everybody knows Amazon these days because they sell everything to everyone under the sun. So surely, if Amazon can target everyone, so can your business right?
First and foremost, it is important to know that even though Amazon now has the capacity and might to target everyone, things weren’t always this way. When Amazon was founded in 1994, it only sold books. Marketing itself as “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore,” Amazon sold books and used major book distributors and wholesalers to fill its orders.
Because Amazon did not have any physical stores when it was founded, it had a very specific niche, which then allowed the company to grow quickly. So as you can see, before Amazon sold everything and anything, it had a well-defined and very specific market and customer.
Amazon did not start expanding into other things until 1997, 4 years after it had been selling books and only books online. Fast forward today and Amazon has conquered online retail, racking up billions in sales with every passing year. Through the years, Amazon has also taken on cloud computing, tech gadgets, the entertainment world, as well as grocery stores. As more and more people rely on Amazon, it’s hard to remember a time when Amazon only sold one product: books.
So like Amazon, your small Kenyan business may have the potential to target everybody one day. But for now, you’ll have to start small- just like Amazon did in 1994.
HOW TO DEFINE YOUR TARGET CUSTOMER IN 2021.
The point of defining your target customer is to understand your customers’ true needs and desires so well that your product or service basically sells itself.
It doesn’t matter what product you sell, as a business owner, you are ultimately in the business of educating your target customers. You need to educate your target customers about the numerous advantages of doing business with you; you need to train your target customers how to use your products effectively, and you need to teach how your products or services will make much-needed improvements in your target customers’ lives.
That’s literally the definition of marketing!
Your target customer impacts ALL the decisions that your small Kenyan business will ever make, especially as it regards your digital marketing. So if you are currently not clear on who your target customer is, then you have been making the wrong decisions for your business.
Scary, isn’t it?
Here is an example to help you make sense of this:
Let’s imagine I’m selling fitness attire/gym clothes.
I may identify my target customer as single women, aged 24-34, who regularly watch their diet and frequent gyms. These single women also have an interest in fashion and looking good.
In the example above, my target customer is defined. However, I can hone in even further on this target customer by stating that:
I’m targeting women on Instagram, aged, 24-34 who regularly watch their diet and frequent gyms. These single women also have an interest in fashion and looking good. They follow social media pages such as @eveal_health_and_fitness @doctor_fitness_kenya, and @alphafitltd. These women live on Ngong Road and value high-quality one-of-a-kind fitness wear.
Do you see how clear and specific I’ve now become with my target customer?
The power of defining your target customer.
A lot of Kenyan business owners make the mistake of thinking that if they target the largest audience or customer base possible, then it will directly translate to making more sales. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The most successful fishermen know which type of fish they plan to catch ahead of time. So to prepare, they design nets with this specific type of fish in mind. These fishermen also know where they’ll park their boats in order to find these fish.
When running an online business in Kenya, you want to be like these prepared fishermen. Businesses that define their target customers are on average more likely to make sales compared to businesses that are trying to sell to everyone.
In the case above, where I am selling fitness wear, it will be hard for me to market to the very broad category of single women who want to look good. (That’s a huge group of women! Too huge, in fact).
However, it will be a lot easier for me to market to Njeri, single, aged 25, wants to keep slim, works out 5 times a week, and is always looking for high quality, unique gym wear that will allow her to stand out in the gym while hopefully attracting her future husband.
With my clearly defined market, every detail of my gym wear will be tailored to the needs and desires of Njeri. When I’m creating content, as well as marketing materials such as Facebook ads, I will be careful to use language that resonates with Njeri. I will also work on creating content consistently that will appeal to Njeri’s interests, emotions, and points of view. This will not only allow me to build a powerful brand, but all other Njeris will also start to gravitate towards my business when they start to see how amazing Njeri has been looking these days.
And that folks- is the power of defining your target customer.
HOW TO DEFINE YOUR TARGET CUSTOMER STEP BY STEP.
Step 1: Ask yourself; who would benefit the most from your products or services?
You started your business for a reason, right?
When you were envisioning it at the very beginning, what type of customers could you see yourself helping? If you get this part right, your ideal target customers should reveal themselves to you.
If you haven’t yet launched your small business, I want you to think really long and hard about what is important to the type of customers that you want to reach. What would make them want to do business with you?
What are your customers’ attitudes towards the products or services you sell?
Why would a customer choose your products or services over your competitors’? Why?
Do the customers you are trying to reach care more about the benefits of the product you sell or its features? Understand the difference between the features and benefits of your business here.
What outcomes do you provide? Keeping up with my example:
I may sell high-quality gym wear on Instagram. But that’s not the outcome I provide. Instead, the outcome I provide is confidence and sex appeal to single women aged 25. My business helps single women look and feel confident and sexy when working out at the gym so that they can attract their soulmates. Plus, we never stock more than 5 pieces of the same item so my customers never have to worry about bumping into someone else at the gym that’s wearing the same gym wear as them.
Step 2: Research your target customers’ demographics.
Including demographic information in your target customer profile is what helps you gain a better understanding of your customer base. Some business owners can identify their target customers’ demographics easily. For instance, if you sell beauty products, your target customers are likely to be mostly women.
Other demographics may require more research to identify, such as:
Age: How old are they?
Location: Where do they live?
Job and income: Are they employed? How much do they earn (estimate)?
Family status: Are they single, engaged, married, divorced? Do they have kids?
Level of education: Are they college-educated? Campus? Studied abroad?
Step 3: Identify their psychographics.
Psychographics simply refers to the psychological attributes of your target customers such as interests, lifestyle choices, behaviors, attitudes. Psychographics help you to understand the personality of your target customer through their likes, interests, and habits. In short, psychographics will help you understand WHY your target customers buy.
To identify your target customers’ psychographics, ask yourself:
What’s their lifestyle? Are they fit? Like natural handmade goods? Do they party all the time?
What’s your target customers’ personality? Outgoing? Outspoken? Demure?
What do they value?
Which activities and interests occupy their time?
What are their opinions or beliefs?
For example: In my case, my target customer’s psychographic profile will be:
- Njeri is an extrovert, loves socializing, wants to look good in the gym but she doesn’t want to spend a whole lot of money on gym wear.
- She spends a lot of time watching fitness videos from channels on Youtube.
- Njeri is concerned about her health and her appearance.
- She goes to the gym 5 times a week but doesn’t want to keep wearing the same gym wear over and over again because her crush is also in the same gym.
- She believes women should always look good no matter what. She’s also doesn’t mind spending a little extra to look good.
Step 4: To define your target customer properly, you will need to identify their needs, challenges, and pain points.
Put yourself in your ideal customers’ shoes. I want you to look at your products or services from the point of view of your target customer. What usually motivates and provokes them to buy things? Some other important things that you should pay attention to here are:
What are your target customers’ problems as it relates to your product or service?
How does your product or service help your target customer? What is your business trying to help them feel better about?
What are they concerned about that might prevent them from buying from you?
When you look at your business from your target customer’s point of view, it will give you a much better understanding of how to present your products in a way that your target customers will find alluring.
Step 5: Once you’ve defined your target customer, determine how and where they will find your business.
Think about how your target customers will find your business. It doesn’t matter how great your products or services are; if your target customers cannot find them or if your target customers do not know that your business exists, then what you have is a really expensive hobby.
So let’s fix that, shall we? Ask yourself these questions:
When your target customers carry out a Google search to look up your products/services, which phrases or search terms would they use?
Which social media influencers do your ideal customers love?
What websites do they visit frequently?
Do they read blogs? If they do, which ones?
Which pieces of content appeal to your target customers?
Which social media sites do your customers hang out on?
For instance, if you are a web designer that’s looking to attract more customers, you may consider using LinkedIn as part of your marketing strategy. If you make crafts such as crochet items or jewelry, you may consider adding TikTok or Pinterest to your social media marketing strategy.
The most important thing is to reach out to your ideal customers in spaces they are already familiar and comfortable with. If you do this, it will increase your odds of finding the right customers because you will grab their attention easily.
Step 6: Evaluate the market.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the type of customer you are trying to sell to, you need to look at your market and figure out where your business fits within it.
To do this, ask yourself these questions:
Are there enough target customers in your market to sustain your business?
Does your target customer have the money or purchasing power to buy your product or service?
Will your chosen target customer buy repeatedly, or will you have to constantly keep finding new customers?
Is there a lot of competition for this customer that you are trying to reach in your market?
If there isn’t a lot of competition, why is that?
If there is competition, what separates your business from the competition – why should your target customers buy from you?
So there you have it!
Unless you truly define who your target customer is, all of your marketing efforts will fail. I know it hurts to hear that, but it’s true. When you define your target customer very clearly, it will allow you to create more meaningful content that resonates with your potential customers.
Clearly defining your target customer is essential if you want to attain long-term success. The random approach you may have been using will only take you so far- if it has been working at all. So take the time to define and understand your target customer and you will start to see a real difference in your sales.
What is the one key benefit that your business provides to your target customers? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Still don’t know how to define your target customer? Book your FREE consultation here.