A step-by-step guide to figuring out what you are doing, and who you are doing it for
Identifying your target market, or ideal client or niche is talked about a lot. Like, everywhere. Pinterest is an overflow of blog posts about finding out who you’re marketing to, and figuring out who it is you even want to sell to. I see it suggested by top bloggers when someone asks for advice on getting traffic, or looking for tips on conversions, sales funnels and SEO ranking tips. Finding out who wants what you have, and then finding out what you want to give them can be tricky, but a necessary part of building a reliable source of content and products.
Brand & Niche Discovery
Taking the time to find out what you want your brand to be about and what values you want to express and uphold is one of the cornerstones to creating a strong and reliable brand or business. Clarity in your business/blog/brand is part of the foundation for a solid and reliable brand, and will allow you to take your business in the direction you want, with more opportunities for growth and discovery. If you understand what you are and what you can do, you will see a clearer path to where you are going and who you will meet along the way.
Brand Discovery Exercise I
In thinking about your business, and what you envision for it’s most successful future, choose adjectives that best describe that ideal business. Write down every word that you think of when you envision your future successful business.
*If using any of the Google Docs I created and link to here, FIRST go to “File” and down to “Make a copy” and you will be able to use and edit that doc for yourself in these exercises.
Do you want to be described as reliable, high-quality, family-oriented..?
Close your eyes and imagine the business you are trying to build. Write down every word that describes it.
These descriptive words about what you want your business to be are going to be important in building a sustainable and reliable business or blog or product.
Brand Discovery Exercise II
This will take some more imagination.
•Sit quietly and imagine your final business outcome. See the brand you are trying to create, in your head, right now. See the colors, website, packaging, product, social media profiles, everything that would make your blog or biz the perfect brand. Go through each item individually in your mind. Write down or use this handy Brand Discovery Google Doc, or type out in a Word doc exactly what makes those things so perfect. Is it the functionality of the website? The labels and ingredients in your product? How about that Pinterest profile and Twitter feed? Are you engaging socially, do you have a Facebook group?
•Next, go through an imaginary transaction as your very own client. Imagine the perfect experience, whether on your website, or on the phone/Skype, or in your own shop. Pretend, have fun, and create a user experience, daydream a while on this experience, and take your time. Now you are going to review this business, as a client or customer or consumer of content. Review this business, (this future brand of yours) and actually write down what made this experience so perfect. You can use this handy Business Review Exercise Google Doc to do this exercise. If you love the quality, the colors, the website, the customer service… become the client and really give it the ‘ol one-two. This is the experience you are going to create with each and every client or consumer. The items and experiences you record are going to become your goals. Write it all down.
Now let’s find out who these people are you are going to create this awesome experience continually for!
Finding Your Target Market
WHO you do this for is going to be pivotal in helping you find and sell to your target market. Finding your target market is important so as not to waste precious time and resources pitching to a bunch of people who will never buy from you.
You are going to do a bit of research into your niche, and find out more about who already buys from your competition. Your clients already exist, and they are already buying from someone, and more clients will need the same thing they do and if you don’t know who they are, you will never get found.
- Become your ideal client. Be one with the client.
- Pretend you are in search of the exact service/product you offer. How would you go about finding it? A Google search of it? Do that. Read testimonials of your competitors, “stalk” the client a bit, look into what they say about the service or product they received, a lot of them will say what it is for, and then give you an idea of another target customer.
- As your own client, ask yourself why you are in need of this service or product. Why is it you are in search of this item? What scenarios come up as the client reaching out to your competitors, WHY do you need the thing? It is probably because you do not know how to make the thing you are looking for, or you do not have time to make the thing you need.
What are you going to do with it? Say you make desktop stationery and sell it on Etsy, find out who the person is that is buying stationary and why they might be buying it. They might own their own business and are in need of professional, high-quality products for their desks, they may be a photographer in need of new props for styled stock photos. Maybe it is an aunt buying it for her niece as a graduation gift, find out every way your product might be used, and who it is most useful for. Write it down.
- Take the time to also write down the plan you would have if you were a client in search of your product/service. What steps would you actually take to get it? Phone book, internet, ask people who have gotten the same service or product? Where would you look? Etsy, Ebay, downtown?
As you gain more sales/clients, your target market may shift, may evolve, you may offer more services or products, but for now, where are you going to find the peeps who want what you have?
Figuring out who you are selling to will help you once you start marketing. You will be able to target those people in places like groups, Pinterest boards, Facebook ads, Google Ads, Google Plus, Twitter, anywhere you advertise your brand, you want to be advertising to the right person. When you know where they hang out, you can go there and offer your services.
Figuring out what it is you’re selling goes hand-in-hand with who you sell to, and once you have those two things nailed down, your business plan will be more clear, and your anxieties and insecurities with creating products, content, and advertising will decrease, and you will gain confidence; having clarity and confidence going into this thing is priceless.
Get a Mission Statement
You want your brand to be strong, reliable and simple to understand. Being able to communicate your value and purpose in a few short sentences means you understand your brand, and therefore, others can understand it!
Making a Mission Statement is very simple, and can even help you find out whether or not you need to focus more on your priorities, and can show what areas need progress, and what areas you have nailed down and are ready to market. Your statement should not be too wordy, but be able to tell others clearly what you offer and to whom. Then, you stand by your product or service and honor that statement, or promise and declaration of quality and trust, every opportunity you get. Live by your statement.
Hopefully you have a good starting point for a business or blog or brand foundation. The steps necessary to a strong and reliable brand can be tedious and trying, and it may take more time than you planned for to get things sturdy, but creating a strong foundation will pay off int he end. So keep doing research, keep checking out markets, if one turns out to not be your target, it may be time to adjust your trajectory, and goals. Your business plan will evolve, (you should expect it, growth is important)and getting through the growing pains is vital, and well-worth it if you push on!
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