How to Stand Out from the Competition 

Module 3:
Understanding Your Target Audience

In order for you to market your services to clientele in your niche,
you need to understand them on a more personal level.

5 Ways to Understanding Your Target Audience

A Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is a statement that explains how your practice is different from everyone else’s in the market. It tells your clients how you can better meet their needs and what makes you different than anyone else. Your UVP essentially tells them why they should use your specific services instead of that of your competitors. It takes some creativity to come up with a compelling UVP, but it’s necessary for your practice to thrive.

Here some examples of Unique Value Propositions:

“We help large companies reduce the cost of their employee benefits without impacting the benefit program’s quality or cost.”

“We create robust, easy-to-use online systems for mid-sized manufacturing companies.”

“I write web content that sizzles and converts so you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself.”

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1. Study

Understanding your audience will include studying your client’s demographics; however, understanding them on a more personal level means to view them as more than just their demographics. Rather than thinking of your clientele as male or female in a certain age range or social status, go a little deeper and consider their needs, their emotions regarding their needs, and even their motivations for seeking out answers to their problems, and find a way to meet them there. You need to appeal to them on more than an intellectual level. You need to create an emotional bond with them that will draw and tie them to your services, which as we’ve previously discussed, are unique to you only and therefore not achievable by any other means. 

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2. Observe

There are two types of data you need to be considering: demographics and psychographics. Gather demographic data about your clients both online and offline. Online, you can use Google, social media, forums, reviews, and blogs. Find out where your clients spend time online, and with whom and how they are engaging. Offline data gathering methods include surveys and focus groups.

Demographic information is a great way to start with the basics. But you’ll want to go deeper, which means you also want to look for psychological data. Don’t let this scare you though! Demographics tell you who the client is. Psychographics simply tell you their motivations for why they pursue services and where they might look. Grab a notepad as you take a look at the following psychographics chart and use the questions to find more information on your target audience.

What are they concerned with?

What are their fears and problems?

What kind of lifestyle does the client see themselves as living, or want to live?

How do they decide what to buy or which services to pursue?

What is their other buying behavior, such as when and how they buy, what services they typically pursue, and so on.

What are the client's values and attitudes?

What brings the client fulfillment?

What makes the client take action?

What are they concerned with?

What are their fears and problems?

What kind of lifestyle does the client see themselves as living, or want to live?

How do they decide what to buy or which services to pursue?

What is their other buying behavior, such as when and how they buy, what services they typically pursue, and so on.

What are the client's values and attitudes?

What brings the client fulfillment?

What makes the client take action?

3. Engage

Get into conversations with your target market to learn more about them. A common offline market research method is to conduct surveys. Surveys work well but they’re one-sided. A better approach is to get a dialogue going. You can do this through social media sites like Facebook, online forums, email interaction, or your blog. Engage people in conversation related to your product or just come right out and ask them how they feel about it.

4. Discover

When conducting market research, it’s important to take good notes. Record all of the data you gather and organize it so that it’s easy to analyze. Separate data into categories, such as demographics and psychology. Look for data that’s consistent from one person to another. 

Try to find ways to quantify your results. When it comes to market research, objective data is the most important. Subjective data, such as someone’s feelings about your product, should be used to support the objective data.

5. Complete the Picture

Take all of the consistent trends you find and create a picture of your ideal customer. Identify their demographic information, their opinions, their buying habits, and all the other data you’ve gathered. Once you’ve done this, it’s much easier to create a unique value proposition. You now have a good idea of what your customers want and need in the products they buy. You can write your UVP so that it speaks directly to those wants and needs. You can even look at the physical picture you’ve drawn as you’re doing your writing, so that it sounds as realistic and personal as possible.

Getting Started - Action Steps for Your Next Coffee Break

You’ve taken lots of notes throughout this module, which will serve you very well! Armed with all of this information about your ideal clients, you’ll have an edge over the competition. It’ll be easy to see what mistakes they are making and how they are not delivering. You and your company can then fill in the gaps and give your market exactly what they want.

Assignment:

  1. Gather demographic information by searching online
  2. Join at least one niche forum, one group on Facebook, and one group on LinkedIn. Who are the people in these groups? Could they be potential clients? Note their demographics. What are they asking? What problems are they looking to solve?
  3. Do a Twitter search for your main keyword and save the search, then identify hashtags you can search and keep track of. Check daily and take notes on questions, answers and topics being discussed.
  4. Groups appreciate a give and take with members, so make sure you’re contributing value by helping answer questions as you’re able. Try to ask one question in each group you’ve joined every day. Take notes on responses.
  5. Look through the information you’ve collected and draw a picture on paper of what you feel the typical person looks like in your market. Use the graphic above to help brainstorm your picture using the questions to better identify your client. Use a center client theme based on your primary services – if you are a dentist, your center client description would be something like “Dental Patient”. From there, use the questions in the graphic to answer your client’s problems.

Ready for a deeper dive? Explore the resource below!

When you are ready to really dig into everything, there is a plethora of resources available. But just like with any advice, keep an eye out for the elements you’re learning in this course and how to best implement them.

We’ve filtered through the best of what is available to provide you with actionable advice in our Deep Dive recommendations that are from the most trusted resources and are designed specifically to promote professional practices like yours.

Deeper Dive Recommendations:

As you read through the resources below, take note of the various ways to find demographic and psychographic information on your ideal clientele.

7 Steps To Identify Your Ideal Customer or Client

This article walks you through 7 steps to figuring out demographic information and more. 

How to Find Your Ideal Client Online: Insider Tips on How to Figure Out Where Your Ideal Client Spends Time Online

This post breaks down where to find online demographics. Remember that discovering your client demographics is just a means to an end. You’ll be using this information as a springboard to diving into their motivations, their problems, how they solve those problems, and more importantly, why they need YOU and how they find you. 

3 Psychographic Gems You MUST Find Out About Your Customers

This article does a good job of explaining the differences between demographics and psychographics, and how to find information for each.

 

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