Sometimes when you’re starting out, it can be tempting to declare that your business is for everyone!
When I started my freelance design studio, technically I could design for any type of business, from a corporate giant to a solo entrepreneur. It was just a matter of applying the same principles to a different set of problems and scenarios.
BUT, as I quickly found out, those two types of audiences have very different challenges, pain points, budgets, etc. Trying to go after both of them at the same time would mean that my branding and messaging might seem unclear or -- what’s even worse -- conflicting. Not to mention, I prefer working with one of those audiences over the other (I won't say which one... 😉)
That’s exactly why choosing a type of person or business to target is so important. It’s about giving yourself the best possible chance for resonance. And resonance, remember, means true fans, lasting customers, repeat clients.
Now, let’s talk about why that is.
Speaking To Their Struggles
First, getting specific about your audience helps you figure out the pain points and challenges of one single like-minded group. If you’re trying to reach everyone, it’s going to be hard to pin-point what exactly they struggle with and how they interact with your products or services.
However, if you narrow your focus to a smaller, more concentrated segment of people, some of their challenges and struggles will start to get more similar. This will allow you to get highly specific with your messaging, making it appear that you’re speaking straight to that group of people.
tailor-creating for their needs
Narrowing your audience also helps you tailor your offerings to a well-defined need. Take the Better Branding Course, for example. Made Vibrant's target audience is a group that I've dubbed "soulful creatives." These are highly creative people with an interest in personal growth, continuous learning and self-made success. Over the years, I’ve been able to hone in on the unique desires, goals and needs of this audience -- one of those needs being an affordable and encouraging option for branding. Because I was able to connect with that audience, I could tailor my course specifically to the needs of those people.
attract your tribe, repel the rest
Lastly, by getting specific when it comes to your audience, it will allow you to attract valuable members of your tribe and repel more transient members of your tribe.
Years ago, before I even had an online business, I attended the Alt Summit conference in Salt Lake City. While there, I signed up for a session on personal branding with photographer, Jasmine Star, and something she said in her talk still echoes in my ear. She said, when it comes to her brand:
"I want to attract you or I want to repel you."
Okay, the attract part made sense to me. Of course you want to attract new blog readers, new clients, new people in your community. But REPEL? That's such a strong word! It seemed so counterintuitive at the time. Until she pointed out to me that repelling the wrong people (people who won't appreciate your business or people whose values don't line up with the values of your business) actually saves you valuable time and energy down the road. It's not just a matter of authenticity -- it's a matter of efficiency!
Turning away customers or clients that aren’t a good fit for your business is almost as important as attracting the right ones because you don’t want to be wasting your resources on people who won’t positively impact the health and growth of your company. By drawing a line in the sand on who “your people” are, you’re effectively keeping your tribe as high-quality and engaged as possible.
Now that you're clear on WHY it's important to get specific about the people you're trying to attract with your brand, let's talk about how to actually do that...
How To Define Your Ideal Audience
Depending on where you are with your business, you may already have a pretty clear sense of who you think this person is.
If not, I have a free worksheet at the end of this post that will help lead you to the exact type of person you'd ideally like to serve.
Once you have a better idea of who that is, these are the three vital questions you want to ask yourself:
1. Is this an audience that I want to be working with?
There’s a reason why I refer to it as an "ideal audience." You have a chance to choose the people you want to serve, and if you choose a person you don’t want to be working with, you’re setting yourself up to not be very happy with your business. Think hard about who it is that you actually want to help. If you get stuck, sometimes it helps to start by who you definitely do NOT want to be working with.
2. Is this a group of people that want (or better yet, need) what I'm offering?
If you’re trying to sell jetpack rollerblades to grandparents, you might run into a few issues. It’s important to identify whether the audience you want to help is actually in need of your services/offerings. This will make sure that the business you’re creating a brand for actually has the ability to be profitable and sustainable long-term.
3. Is this an audience I’m uniquely equipped to help?
It helps if you are especially well-qualified for one reason or another to connect with the audience you choose. In my case, I believe I’m uniquely equipped to teach soulful creatives because I myself am self-taught. That gives me insight into what someone might be thinking who is always trying to learn new things and get better through continuous learning.
I can't tell you how much I recommend spending time solely focused on this one aspect of your business because your audience is the lifeblood of your company. They are the ones that will buy your products or services, and they are the ones you want to keep happy and deliver value to!
Need some help defining your audience? This is a topic we cover extensively in the Better Branding Course!