Do you have a product or service you’re selling but seem unable to get past the “likes” and “retweets” on social media to actual Sales Conversions?  Or in your diligent email or telemarketing campaign you have “interested” prospects who’ve been on your “list” for months but sales are not converting?
Maybe you’ve been blogging and looking to increase your following with the hopes of monetizing your blog through list building and sales funnels.  Perhaps you’re a writer looking to promote and sell your book with the hopes of becoming a bestselling author topping the charts with not only glowing reviews but actual book sales $$.

It matters not what business you’re in, it’s all the same.  Sales are sales and sales are not necessarily driven by big lists and buckets of followers.   You need a committed customer-base and a consistent audience.  If you’re hoping to make sales conversions from your relationships, it’s critical to find, know, and reach out to your market consistently and engage them where they’re at.

With respect to Sales, size does not matter.

Email campaigns, direct marketing campaigns, media blitzes, print advertising or social media campaigns are a waste of resources if you don’t have a good handle on who it is that’s most influenced by what you’re offering.
If you don’t understand your market and you’re not connecting effectively with them, you’ll never win the conversions you’re hoping for.  Relationships sell.  We know this, this is what’s been drilled into us in every sales and marketing course, seminar, book and workshop.  However, only 1 kind of relationship will manifest sales.  You’ve got to look at moving beyond social and jump into the realm of becoming so compelling that your fan-base or prospect-base is moved to take action and make a purchase.

Your market needs to feel connected to your offering.  It has to matter to them or you’ll be stuck in “making nice” over the phone, Internet, email, and social media channels.  The buying signal comes when your target audience believes that by not purchasing your product or your service, they will be missing out on something that they want or need.  The motivation to click the “buy” button on Amazon to get your book versus simply congratulating you or flipping through the online reviews is imbedded in your prospects conscious and subconscious desires.  Your prospect needs to feel that their lives will be positively impacted through purchasing your book, your product or your service.  If you’re not getting your prospect’s click-through on the Internet or their credit card swipe, you’ve not reaching your Target Market.

You know you’ve done a great job of not only targeting your market, but touching them where they need to be moved when you’ve anticipated their needs and met them in such a way that your offering is irresistible and in return you’re experiencing sales conversions.  You can only anticipate their needs and meet them if you intimately know your market.

blog for someoneThe best print or television ad will fall flat if it misses the mark of engaging the target audience.  Spending millions of dollars on a Super Bowl ad campaign will not make conversions if the message is off-base to the intended prospect.  In a Super Bowl 2014 advertising blast, Goldie Box, a toy marketed to young girls, played a tune in the background during their advertisement with lyrics singing, “lets all build like boys!”  Oops!  (Obviously Goldie Box made a critical error in understanding their Target Market).  Goldie Box insulted and infuriated their own audience.  The advertising campaign was not the success that Goldie Box had hoped for and instead of conversions they received negative write-ups and reviews in the media.  Connecting with your target market and motivating them to purchase is never achieved by offending your audience.  Research.  What is important to your Target Market?  What do they want?  What will inspire them to take action to purchase?

Have a service or a product to offer?  How do you move from an offering, a promotion, a book, or a blog… to a sales conversion?  The answer:  Focused Engagement.  Focused Engagement means you’ve done your research and your homework and you not only know who your audience is, you know what they need, want and desire.  How do you clearly identify this “mind” of your prospect?  Engage with them, connect with them, care about them, listen to them and get to know them.  When companies pay attention to current customers as well as prospects, they learn what they need for Focused Engagement.

There are three primary steps to engagement leading to conversions.

1. Define your target market.
2. Find (locate) and identify your target market.
3. Connect with your target market for maximum impact.

In this blog entry I will discuss Part 1: Defining your target market.  In the next 2 follow-up blog posts I will cover Parts 2 & 3.

Step 1 to Engaging your Target Market for Sale Conversions:  Defining Your Target Market

Target BusinessmanTarget Business: Many times entrepreneurs, start-ups and even established companies don’t have a good handle on their buying-audience.  In the work that I do, I most often see that the sales and marketing teams within a company cast too wide of a net wasting valuable time, money, and labor resources on unproductive efforts.  If you’re not making conversions there’s a problem and one problem might be that the target market needs to be narrowed down.  It’s critical whether you’re a solopreneur or a Fortune 500 company, to know who wants what you have for sale .

To Define your Target Market, there are 5 Keys to fleshing out with specificity who your Target Market actually is:

1. Understand Your Product
This sounds pretty basic, but some of the most potent of wisdom is simple.  Most sales teams as well as entrepreneurs launching a single product often don’t understand their product.  They might understand their product from their own perspective but they’ve failed to consider the mind of the prospect and what the prospect’s understanding of the product might be.  Understanding your product is critical.  Even if you’re in a service industry, your service, “You” are your product.

What answer does your product or service provide for your prospect?  How does your product or service deliver on the “What’s in it” for your prospect?  What’s the benefit?  Why should someone purchase your product, your service or even your book?  Why should someone subscribe to your blog?  How is your IP (Intellectual Property) going to answer a problem experienced by your Target Market?  If you don’t have a clear answers to these questions about your own product, the rest of the steps below are worthless.

Pricing:  What are the cost dynamics of your product or service?  If you don’t price your product or service appropriately you may be on a path to business failure.  For instance, if your product is expensive to produce, and those who benefit most by obtaining it cannot afford your offering, you will have ZERO sales conversions.  If your target audience does not have money or lacks the decision-making power to purchase, no matter how good your product, you won’t have sales conversions.  It’s important to do your own due diligence to understand who will be buying and whether or not they have the money or power to make that decision.  Are you priced appropriately for conversion within your identified target market?

2. Look at Your Current Customers

Changing-demographics:  Who are your current customers and why are they buying your product?  Are you launching a new product that is unique and different from what you’re already selling?  How will this influence your current customer base?  These are the kinds of questions to ask yourself when you look to roll out a new product or service.  Look to your current customers first to provide an exceptional opportunity to understand who may purchase your new product roll out.  If you’ve been doing your job right so far, you should already have a good amount of demographic information compiled on current customers. Recognizing trends about who buys and why your current product, service, or books are being consumed in the marketplace will bolster your position in the marketplace and increase future sales conversions.  Data is power.

Don’t have any customers to collect data from yet?  Are you a Start-up?  Consider performing some focus group research on the demographic you believe may be interested in what you are offering.  Continuously ask questions of potential customers (this applies to established businesses as well!).

3. Check out Your Competition
Who’s HOT?  What is your competition doing well and what markets are they targeting?  Often in looking at what your competition does well, you’ll discover markets and niches that your competition has either ignored or is incapable of properly serving.  It’s not impossible to enter a market that a competitor is already serving, however, it’s wise to examine what others are doing and if there’s a better way to serve your potential customer base.  Great sales conversions are made through identifying needs and offering a product or service to fill those needs.  There’s nothing juicier than finding a gap in what a competitor offers and being able to fill that void.

Your competition also gives you a wealth of data and information.  If your competitor is doing something well, imitate it.  Notice what your prospect market loves about your competitor, can you also offer the same things and do them better?  Perhaps you offer stellar customer service or a quicker turnaround time.  Whatever it is that’s gaining market share and popularity, emulate it and then strive to do it even better than the competition.

4. Choose a Demographic

different-demographicsDifferent-demographics: After fully understanding your product, current customers, prospects and your competition, it’s time to choose a demographic to target that would best fit your product or service.  Perhaps your product is best offered to women ages 35-55 with an income of $100K or more.  Refine your target.  Be specific.  The more specific you are in targeting your market, the better spent your resources are and the higher your ROI, (Return On Investment), with respect to sales conversions.  This process of drilling deeper in creating your target market is called market segmentation.
An example of getting specific with your demographic would be launching a new women’s activewear line that has a particular benefit for women living in warmer climates.  Knowing this about your demographic, marketing to women ages 35-55 with an income greater than $100K who are avid runners living in the southern United States is a far more effective marketing strategy than spreading your marketing budget thinner to also include a demographic of women living in Northern Canada.

5. Evaluate the Effectiveness of Your Implementation Strategy
Evaluating the effectiveness of your implementation strategy, checking to see if you’re hitting your target market is extremely important.  It takes more than execution to attain the highest ROI with respect to your sales conversions.  A critical measure to add to your implementation strategy is follow-up and conducting a thorough evaluation of your market.  Have you hit your target with your current marketing campaign?  Are you making the sales conversions that you’d projected? If you’re having issues converting prospects into customers, revamping the marketing strategy may not be the initial best plan.  Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with your marketing but instead, your target market is not actually your best market.  Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate and adjust to what your current target market is teaching you.  Making adjustments and altering your Target Market once new information comes to light is something large companies do all the time.  It’s a constant learning process and your customers as well as those that are not your customers are speaking to you.  Listening is where evaluation comes in.  Make adjustments and tweak your marketing efforts as you learn more information.  The closer you are to reaching the audience that needs or wants your product or service, the closer you are to successful sales conversions.

**Unsure who your target market is?  Lacking clarity around where to find your target audience?  Please stay tuned and check back for my next post where I’ll discuss and give you applicable techniques that you can employ to locate and identify your Target Market.**   Are we connected?  Let’s make that happen!  Scroll down to the bottom of this page to make sure we stay in touch.  I’ll keep you posted on what’s happening, and where I’m speaking next!

To your success!

-Tamara McCleary

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Tamara McCleary

Tamara McCleary is a national speaker, business performance specialist, writer, social media expert and relationship economist.She has spoken to over 1,000 audiences and is ranked in the Top 1% of global Social Media Influencers.Past clients include KPMG and U.S. Department of Defense.Tamara speaks on the topics of team relationships, employee satisfaction and retention, the emerging relationship economy, social media, sales performance, customer service, customer acquisition and retention, entrepreneurship and more. She was named Top Sales Achiever nationally three years in a row for a biotechnology firm before launching her own successful national consulting firm based out of San Francisco, California.Tamara is the creator of the trademarked RelationShift® method, enabling individuals and businesses to improve virtually any relationship. Tamara changes lives and transforms businesses.
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