Be the big fish! 5 questions to help you identify your ideal target market

Are you a little fish in a big pond?

Does your marketing monster keep telling you that you need to swim in the ocean, rather than a pond, to attract the fishes? In other words that you should promote your business everywhere and market to everyone?

Of course, it's very tempting to listen to him. I mean who doesn’t want all the business you can get?

However, when you think about it, do you really want to swim with all the fishes in the ocean – some of them can be pretty nasty creatures and not compatible with swimming together? Wouldn’t it be better to be the big fish in a small pond? It’s certainly much easier to get noticed that way, and small ponds are usually friendlier too.

What does being the big fish in a small pond mean?

As a big fish in a small pond, you will stand out. This is a much better (and safer) option than being a little fish in an ocean competing against squillions of fish of all sizes, all saying the same thing, or worse – attacking each other.

As the big fish in a small pond, the wonderful creatures you swim with (your market) will notice you and even seek you out to help them.

Why?

By being specific about who you are swimming with in the pond, you will attract people who are happy to pay for your products or services because they see the value in what you are providing.

It can be scary reducing the number of potential customers you are targeting, however, if you are specific about who your market is, your customers are more likely to spend more with you, more often.

For example, Annie owns a women’s fashion store. Let's look at her revenue per customer from targeted marketing vs trying to market to everyone perspective.

ScenarioAverage spend per sale# of sales per annumAverage revenue per customer# customersRevenue per annum
1. targeted marketing$500.0012$6,000.001000$6,000,000.00
2. generic marketing$300.001$300.002000$600,000.00

Even though Annie has half the number of customers with targeted marketing, she is making ten times the revenue. Annie does not listen to her marketing monster!

Targeted marketing works because...

...your customers see the value in the services or products you are providing them. You are solving a specific problem for them - you are helping them. It could it be the product you make, makes them feel better about themselves, or it fixes something that is broken. Your service might be saving them time, or providing peace of mind. (We will discuss really understanding what problem you are solving for your customers at a later date.)

In helping solve a specific problem, you are creating a connection with your customers, creating your own community so to speak. And this means they will become loyal to you and your brand/business, they will turn into referrer’s because they feel connected to you and part of your community in your pond. And we all know that word of mouth is still the best form of marketing (more of that at a later date).

At the end of the day, being a big fish in a small pond helps you to save money and get a better return on your marketing investment.

So, we’ve covered why you should be the big fish in the small pond. But how do you go about understanding who is in your pond?

Understanding who your market is can be challenging, which is why a lot of people listen to their marketing monster and try and attract everyone.

However, we are here to help simplify your marketing challenges, and tame that marketing monster. So here are five questions to help you identify your ideal target market:

Start with the basics. Look at your existing customers and ask:

  1. Who are your most profitable customers?
  2. What are the characteristics of those customers?
  3. What problem are you solving for them?
  4. What are the goals and values of your customers?
  5. Where do your customers do their research on who can help solve their problems?

Answering these will give you an understanding of who is swimming in your pond, what is important to them, and how you can help them. And that helps you know who you should be targeting your marketing towards.

So swim forth, be the big fish and create your community in your own pond.