June 12, 2020
A critical step in marketing your business is to understand exactly who your clients are. As such, one of the major questions every business needs to ask is ‘Who are my clients?’ More often than not, the answer is ‘everyone’.  Accountants do tax. Real estate agents sell property. Plumbers are plumbers. Builders build houses. So yes, in theory ‘anyone’ could be your client. But having that mindset is a big mistake. Why? Marketing is about getting your message into the consciousness of your specific target audience – your target market. And a ‘general’ message targets no one.


To succeed you must niche down your potential target market and concentrate on defined areas. This is called target market segmentation.

Most business owners when hearing this react adversely – mainly through fear. They think niching down and narrowing the potential prospect list will mean less business. The opposite is true.

Narrowing the market will allow you to create a target market strategy, and target prospects with a marketing message that resonates with their pains, frustrations, hopes and desires. With market segmentation, you attract exactly the people you want while repelling those who aren’t a good fit.

In effect you’re qualifying out as much as qualifying in, which will save you a lot of time by not having to deal with people who won’t be good prospects for your business.

So how do you select your target audience niche? There are two main ways of looking at niche markets: demographics and psychographics.


This encompasses industry, size of business, location, age ranges of individual consumers, gender, occupation, income level, etc. The defining characteristic is a demographic that is quantifiable.

A target demographic in a home builder’s market could be people within a range of suburbs looking to build a house in a specific price range. A bookkeeper might work with clients who have between two and 10 employees within 10 km of his office.


This is a segmentation of your market based on target audience characteristics. How they think – their personality traits, values, attitudes, interests and lifestyle.

People who only buy organic food are an example. The psychographic question is “Why?” Is it health related (they don’t want to eat pesticides), or do they believe it’s better for the environment?

Holiday makers who only want five star travel versus backpackers who are happy to rough it.

Often your market consists of both target demographic and psychographic elements. It’s important to understand both so you can align your message accurately.

The next obvious questions are:
  • “Are there enough of them?”
  • “Will they pay money for a solution to their problems?”
It’s critical you do your target market research, talk to real people and find out what it is they want and will pay for.


Narrow down your market segments and create specific marketing messages for each. And yes, you can have different segments that target different population groups each with their own message.

If you truly want to succeed, in the words of legendary marketer the late Gary Halbert, “Find a starving crowd”. In other words, find a need and give people what they want. Don’t build a better mousetrap and hope people will beat a path to your door. They won’t.

This article was originally published on Business Australia and can be viewed here.