This is part 1 of 5 of the 5 part series of How to build a simple LGBT outreach plan.
We are going to do a deep dive into defining your target market. In a post titled “How to build a simple LGBT outreach plan” we discussed 5 questions to ask yourself to help create a solid plan. In that post the first question was “Who am I trying to market to?” Any marketing professional will tell you that the key to all of your marketing activities whether they be online or offline first starts with understanding who your audience is – your target market. Below are 4 key questions with action steps to help you on your way to defining your target audience. (If you want to dive even deeper into defining your target market, check out my training on how to do just that, click here.)
Knowing the demographics of your target market is an absolute first step. These are things such as their age, gender, martial status, sexual orientation, education level, income, among others. For the sake of this post we are going to use one continuous example throughout – I Heart Computers. The owners of I Heart Computers know the following about their customers;
- they are professionals in their late 30′s to early 50′s
- they are primarily college educated lesbians
- they are married with no children
This is the demographic makeup of the majority of their business. Serving this niche of married, college educated lesbians outlines exactly where they should spend their advertising dollars and marketing efforts. So for example, if they were approached to sponsor a gaming convention and they learned the demographics of the convention where college aged men with an interest in gaming, then they could easily determine that this is not the right sponsorship for them. Action step: Go through your current client database and find the commonality. If a few different themes start popping up make 2-3 groups of target markets. It is okay to have more than one.
Building upon question one, let’s dive even deeper into your target market. How well do you know them? Have you ever surveyed your customer base? In the above example we know college educated, married, lesbian professionals between late 30′s and early 50′s is the target demographic. But what else do you know about them? What types of professionals are they? Are they lawyers, doctors, accountants, bankers or college professors? When your clients are coming to you are they bringing in their personal computer problems, work computer problems or a hybrid of both? The more you understand about them the better you can serve their needs. What if you do a survey and find that a large percentage of your lesbian clients have children? You made an assumption that they didn’t. Perhaps they have children who are old enough to have computers. You could use this to your advantage and offer a special deal when they bring in their computer to be fixed they get a credit for their kids computer next time it needs some TLC. By having this data you can really focus on who you are serving and doing it well. Action step: Create a short survey to have your current client base answer. Give them an incentive to do it. If you are a service based enter all who fill it out into a drawing to win their next service for free. If you have products or coupons you can offer give them to those who fill it out. If you don’t have either purchase a gift card to a local establishment.
Where exactly can you find more of your ideal target customers? The best way to find that answer is to ask your current customers. Ask them where they do their networking or which social networks they prefer to hang out on. Gathering this data will help you focus specific outreach efforts. For example if the owners of I Heart Computers surveyed their current client database of 400 and more than 50% said they were on Facebook, you should consider creating a Facebook page to stay top of mind for them. If they tell you that they aren’t on social media but 50% of them listen to the classic rock radio station in your geographic location, then perhaps you should look into advertising on the radio. Action step: Adding on to the previous action step. Include these questions in that survey you’ve already begun compiling.
What are the concerns of your target customers? Look at this from an aerial view. Using the I Heart Computers example, are their concerns based around fear that their computer is going to crash? Or are they computer novices and this is just a source of stress for them? If they have the right data, they may have determined that a high percentage of their clients are female doctors who only use the computer when they absolutely must therefore they aren’t familiar with its capabilities and it stresses them out. Knowing this information you might be able to offer an intro to computers class for the busy doctor or medical professional. Not only would you be serving the need of your existing client base but word would begin to spread that you are offering this and it could help bring in new business that are part of your ideal target market. Action step: Find the commonality between your existing client base. If you have a high percentage of doctors or college professors or students, create a program or product geared specifically for them.
The number one thing to remember is that this is not about you. This is about your target market. Everything that you do should be focused on their needs. If you don’t know how to serve their needs, ask. Do not assume you know who your target market is, dig deep and find out. Do not define your target market based on who you would ideally like to be selling to. Define it based on who wants to buy from you. There could be a big difference here. Be strategic in your approach. By truly identifying who your target market is, you can begin to think like them, act like them and be where they are to best serve their needs.