Target Market vs. Ideal Client – Know The Difference!

target market or ideal client

Do you know the difference between your target market and your ideal client?

I’m sure by now you’re very familiar with the phrase target market. Identifying your target market is one of the fundamentals of marketing, and is a key component of ensuring a successful marketing plan.

By identifying your target market, you’re making sure that the investment you’re making in your marketing program is successful in reaching the proper audience. After all, if your product or service is geared towards women between the ages of 40 and 60, it is simply a waste of time, money and effort to be advertising your product or service to anyone outside of that demographic.

Your ideal client, of course, is something a bit different. Identifying your ideal client and communicating with them is a refinement of your target market, and is something that you must take the time and effort to do.

Another way to put it is that your target market is the big picture. You identify a specific demographic that is most likely to require your product or service.  Of those people who fit this demographic, only a percentage will actually buy from you and become your clients. Some of these clients may only make one purchase from you and be gone. But your ideal client is the client who becomes your advocate; a loyal customer who also provides referrals.

Each and every business has its ideal clients, and this ideal client is will differ slightly from business to business. As we’ve discussed before, people do business with people who they know, like, and trust. So establishing this factor with your clients might look different in your business than it does to one of your competitors. And many factors may play into this; factors like geographic location accessibility, and just plain relationship are very important in determining an ideal client.

Developing your marketing plan provides opportunities for lead generation by identifying target markets. But from there, it’s up to your sales force to ask specific questions of these leads to identify and close those individuals within the target market are most likely to become your clients.

When describing your ideal customer be sure to be specific. For instance, I have a client who is a financial planner. His target market might be people between the ages of 40 and 75 in a specific geographic proximity to him, and earning over $75,000 per annum. But his ideal client is a refinement of that. His ideal client might be a married couple aged 50 to 65 who are approaching retirement, have finished paying for their children’s education, and have $500,000 in assets that needs financial management. See the difference?

Once you’ve identified your ideal client, it’s easier to be specific about your product and service offerings in order to obtain referrals. The more specific you can be in describing your product or service, the easier it is for your client to understand who the perfect referral is for your business. In fact, don’t be surprised if your clients end  up spontaneously providing names of people you should meet.

As a marketing strategist, there is no question that I always put a high priority on the development and implementation of a strategic marketing plan. Indeed, marketing is the foundation upon which your business’s growth is based. But it is the foundation, not the complete solution.

Use the results of your successful marketing program as a launching point to identify and nurture your ideal clients. Using this strategy should guarantee that the appropriate people are in your sales funnel and able to provide you with great referrals.

Until next time…

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