The Conversion Chronicles, resources for improving your online conversion rates

Do You Know and Understand Your Target Audience?

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“There used to be quite a few mom and pop bakeries in Atlanta,” Tom, a neighbor of mine and the owner of a local bakery, recently told me.

“But then the big grocery chains popped up everywhere in the 80s and 90s. When they started selling cakes for $10 and $15, they put many of my competitors out of business. Not only were they pushing a cheaper product, but they also offered customers something most of us couldn’t: the convenience of picking up a birthday cake while you shopped for groceries.”

According to Tom, other than cutting prices (which didn’t work), most local bakery owners didn’t know how to react. Only a few survived. And those
that did, including Tom’s business, still struggle to make ends meet.

How sad. These businesses were local institutions for three and four generations.

Was He Marketing to the Wrong Crowd?

But as I listened to Tom, I couldn’t help but wonder if he really knew and understood his target market. Was he chasing after the wrong crowd? I’m not an expert on the bakery business, but here’s what I know:

* Tom’s bakery is in an older part of town that’s being revitalized
* High-income professionals are moving in, buying up all the older homes and updating them. In turn, home prices are skyrocketing.
* These folks appreciate the finer things in life and are willing to pay for them -- art, great food and wine, organic fruits and vegetables, delicious desserts made from scratch
* Fine restaurants are popping up everywhere, catering to this discriminating crowd

However, Tom’s store looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 1970s. Worse yet, he’s still chasing the $15-cake market; the same group that prefers convenience and low prices.

It seemed to me that Tom’s best potential customers are the people who would never buy a cake from a grocery sore. In other words, his new, affluent neighbors. Discriminating customers who appreciate a homemade treat made from scratch, using only fresh, high quality ingredients.

Price is not an issue. I bet most would pay $30 to $40 for a delicious (and impressive!) homemade cake. And because most are health-conscious, when they do have the occasional sweet treat, they want it to be heavenly.

(In fact, I recently saw a documentary on Warren Brown -- the lawyer-turned-baker from Washington D.C. that did this very thing successfully: he markets high-end, made-from-scratch cakes and desserts to a young, affluent crowd. Check out: www.CakeLove.c om.)

What Does This Have to Do With Marketing Software?

Here’s the deal: If you don’t know who your target market is -- if you don’t understand who your best prospects are (and I mean if you don’t know everything about them) -- you’ll waste a heck of a lot of blood, sweat and tears marketing to those who will never buy from you.

Of course, you may be targeting several markets. But if you can’t properly identify all your audiences, you’ll end up chasing after the wrong crowd. You’ll waste your time promoting your products and services to someone who, to continue the analogy, would rather pick up an uninspiring, $15 cake at “Super Wal-Mart.”

This is a powerful exercise. In fact, one of my clients recently doubled annual sales once they realized their best target market was one they never thought would be interested in their products.

So, what are your best target markets? Can you clearly define them? Can you get narrower in your description? How are you addressing each in your marketing communications? Do you truly understand their objectives, key pain points and potential buying objections?

Whether your products sell for $100 or $1 million, make sure you’re absolutely clear about who’s going to “get it.” Then, go to market with a message that quickly resonates with each of your clearly defined target markets.
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Ed GandiaAuthor: Ed Gandia, Freelance Copywriter

Ed Gandia is a freelance copywriter specializing in the software industry. A 10-year sales veteran, Ed has had great success turning around struggling sales territories through his hard-hitting copy and focused lead generation methodology. Check out his website at