By: Carol M. Aldridige
When asked who their target market is, many equine business owners reply, “horse owners” or “equine business owners”. Keep in mind that targeting a smaller, niche market will result in much greater success. It will allow you to focus your brand message and marketing efforts on a specific group of consumers who will be more likely to buy from you than others. When your audience feels that your promotions are “speaking directly to them” they instantly connect with what you are offering. This is a much more affordable, efficient, and effective way to reach potential clients and generate business.
ANALYZE YOUR CURRENT CUSTOMER BASE
Take note of who is already buying from you. What characteristics do they have in common? Which customers bring in the most business? What do they value most about your business? You may even choose to present a brief survey to your customers in an effort in an effort to gain a better understanding of their needs.
RESEARCH YOUR COMPETITION
Your competition may be apparent or you may need to search for them. Whatever it takes, understanding who they are, how they are reaching their audience, what they have to offer will be extremely helpful in shaping a clear picture of your general audience.
DEFINE THE BENEFITS OF YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Write out a list of the products and services you provide. Then list the needs each of these fulfill. Next make a list people who have a need that your benefits fulfill.
DETERMINE SPECIFIC DEMOGRAPHICS TO TARGET
The previous three tips should give you a fairly clear image of your ideal customer. Now, let’s look at specifics. What demographics do they have in common? Some general demographics to determine include: Age, Location, Gender, Income level, Education level, Marital or family status, Occupation, Ethnic background.
UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE
Your target audience should now be coming into focus. For example, let’s say you are targeting women over 40 in the Real Estate business with an income of $80,000 or more. Now you can begin to expand their profile beyond demographics to their interests and lifestyle. Perhaps they enjoy traveling; you could consider advertising in a high-end travel magazine. Or if they are interested in the arts, you could begin networking in a LinkedIn group focused on the opera. In essence, be present in the places chosen by your target market is so they can find you.
EVALUATE YOUR DECISION
Finally, take a look at the target market you’ve chosen and ask: Are there enough people to sell to? Can they afford what I am offering? Am I truly meeting their needs? How can I best reach them with my message?
Remember, you can have more than one target market. Defining your audience is a bit of work, but the benefits will be worth your while. You will save time and money and receive a better return when you direct your message specifically to each niche.
Carol Aldridge is a Marketing Consultant & Administrative Support Specialist serving the equine industry for over 20 years. Her clients across the United States and Canada enjoy customized business support services designed to relieve workload pressure, streamline office procedures and maximize marketing results.