Whether you’re launching a new business or updating your long-standing online presence, you need some unifying themes that will be the platform for all messaging and internal decisions. A clearly defined target market and value proposition go a long way toward guiding all digital marketing and communication.
Why does a business need a target audience?
Most entrepreneurs believe their business offers something for everybody. While you may choose to pursue a strategy with a broad appeal, it simply isn’t true that everybody is the right customer for your business. Some people don’t need your products and services. Others aren’t willing to pay what you charge. Some might be ready to buy but are going to end up having a negative experience with your business because their preconceived notions are a mismatch for what you offer.
While narrowing your niche can feel scary, it’s actually less scary than trying to market to everybody. There are two core reasons for this:
- You can’t talk to everybody effectively at once. The world is too diverse. People’s needs, preferences, values, and priorities can vary wildly. If you dilute your message to the point that it has mass appeal, it ends up having very little appeal to anyone.
- When you have an intimate understanding of exactly who you are targeting with your products and services, you have the opportunity to serve those individuals in an extremely effective manner. You can align your marketing, online presence, customer service, customer experience, and product/service to meet the unique needs of your target customer.
Can you have multiple customer niches? Sure. The point here is that by knowing who you’re targeting, you can address their pain points in a way that speaks specifically to that subset of humanity. Accomplishing such targeted marketing requires you to understand:
- Who is the ideal client? Depending on your business, you’ll want to note characteristics like:
- Marital status
- Geographic location
- Living situation
- Stage of life
- Income/budget for your services
- What problems do you solve for your ideal client?
- Is the ideal client the decision-maker when it comes to purchasing your service or product?
- Where do the ideal client and decision-maker seek information related to the problems you solve?
- What kind of experience do they desire from working with you?
- What are the common objections to purchasing?
- What factors indicate that a customer is not a good fit?
You may find that you have multiple answers to these questions, particularly if you are targeting multiple niches. If you’re selling in a business-to-business (B2B) space, you’re still going to answer the same questions, but add a layer for the type of company. From there, answer the questions based on the key stakeholder or decision-maker (these are people too!).
Gaining clarity on your ideal client will help you to understand the problem you’re really solving. From here, you’re ready to construct your value proposition.
What is a value proposition?
Put simply, a value proposition is a clear statement of the problem your business solves better than anyone else on the market. It’s the reason customers buy from you, and it’s foundational to designing a website that clearly communicates what you do.
Your value proposition should incorporate three components:
- What product or service does your business offer? What problem does your business solve better than any other company in the market?
- Why is the way you deliver your product or service better than your competitors?
- How do you solve your buyer’s problem better than anyone else? How do your internal processes offer support here?
Chances are, the WHAT is pretty straightforward—we’re a roofing company, so WHAT we do is put roofs on houses. The problem we solve is to fix leaks and increase the curb appeal of a home. Sometimes there is a differentiator in the WHAT (say your roofing company manufactures its own unique style of shingle). However, more commonly, the WHY and HOW of the value proposition are the areas your business brings a unique approach to the table.
A lot of established companies intuitively understand their value proposition—they’re the roofing company that delivers the fastest turnaround time in the area for the best value, for example. Most haven’t ever written it out in words and made sure that everything associated with the business reflects that value proposition. If your value proposition isn’t materially different from your competitor’s value proposition, you’re going to either end up competing on price (an undesirable situation for many) or struggling to show customers why you’re the better option.
What is a positioning statement?
It’s worth noting that your value proposition must become a promise that everyone in the company understands and agrees to uphold. If your marketing promises one thing but the customer experience is something completely different, you’ve got a problem. A positioning statement is similar to a value proposition, but it’s more detailed and intended to help align everyone in the organization. The positioning statement explains what you offer, the target customer, and your competitive differentiators.
I need help creating a value proposition.
Creating a value proposition may sound straightforward, but in practice it can be an arduous process—particularly when there are multiple stakeholders who don’t agree on the key points. We begin all of our marketing strategy and website design engagements by helping clients clearly articulate their value proposition and target marketing. Not only do we believe these are essential foundations for marketing, but they also serve to make our work clear. It’s nearly impossible to write effective website copy or come up with marketing ideas when you haven’t defined the audience and ways your business can address their pain points.
Digital marketing efforts not yielding the results you want?
Use our Digital Marketing Strategy Questions to help you develop a strategic plan to reach and engage your audience online.
Contact us to learn more about our value proposition workshop, during which we guide you through the process of pulling out all that stuff in your head and putting it into your online presence. Having an outside perspective can help to uncover inconsistencies and ensure everyone on the team is aligned to the overarching vision for the business.