4 Reasons Why You're Not Reaching Your Target Audience & How to Fix It

defining target audiences
Target Audience Demographics

It feels great when sales are consistently rolling in, right?
You feel like you're riding a tidal wave of glory and you are proving all of your naysayers wrong. 

Then for some reason, business starts to slow down. 

And if that's not the issue, sales stay the same with a little fluctuation here and there. You might get plenty of visitors to your website but with little conversions. 

If this is similar to your situation I want you to pay close attention to this message. I'm going to explain 4 reasons why you're not getting new customers AND how to fix it. 

Good, Better, Best

The good thing is that it's not a complicated process. The better thing is that you're going to become a pro (ok ok, maybe not a pro, but pretty darn close!). The best thing is that once you understand what happened and what to do to change things, you won't have this problem again.

4 Reasons You Don't Have Customers

Reason Number 1 
Lady Doing Market Research
Market Research
You Didn't Do The Research

Lots of people are excited to start new businesses because of the training and information they have access to due to technology. They hear about a lucrative business, get their money together and then jump right in. 

They think all it takes is a store or website that looks nice and pretty and the people will start rolling in. 

When that doesn't happen they rely on paid advertising, push hard to convert their paid leads, and pray for the best.

While prayer and wishful thinking is a good thing, success requires a plan that is based on research and proven ways that work. 

Putting pressure on your employees, if you have any, doesn't guarantee results either.

If your business isn't growing, it is because you haven't done the research to get know who your potential customers are. Without the research, how are you supposed to know how to tailor your message?

What problems do they need to be solved? What are their interests and hobbies? What are their goals? Where do they frequent? What do they read? Are they shopping at your competitor's store? If so, why?

If you can't answer any of these questions, then you have to go back to the drawing board and start again.

Reason Number 2 
People Shopping at a Market
Everyone Shopping

You Are Trying to Sell to EVERYONE

You have got some work to do if you believe your potential customer is everybody! Increase your odds for success by narrowing your target audience. 

If you are not a nichepreneur, then perhaps you need to consider it. Focusing on a niche and finding the people it appeals to will help you be more successful. 

Trying to service everybody may leave you with nobody.

Look at your competitor's customers. Look at their social media sites. This will give you an idea of who they are marketing to and who they are trying to reach. 

Their social media sites will show you who is responding and what content they respond to. By looking at the content, you can gather more understanding of their needs and behaviors.

Reason Number 3
Laptop with Marketing
Digital Marketing 

You've Mastered Your Craft, But Not Marketing

This one is unfortunately extremely common. Think about how many talented professionals you have received services or products from that had to go out of business. 

Have you ever had a conversation with an ex-business owner that gave up because they couldn't get enough customers? 

It is one of the saddest stories you will ever hear especially if it is a service or product that is badly needed.

I like to connect reason number 3 to service professionals. I recall an individual I know, who was a writer and artist that teamed up with his siblings and friends to create a uniquely powerful comic book series. 

They traveled and did lots of events. They had lots of followers on their social media sites. Plenty of words of encouragement. 

However, they barely had any sales.

My friend couldn't understand it. I explained to him that the number of social media followers and likes that he received on his posts are what we call VANITY METRICS. 

It looks good but nothing of value came from it. There were no actions that came from the followers and he was limited in what he was asking for.

He is a perfect example because he was a true master artist but he found market research to be tedious and didn't want to invest in having someone help him although he had a marketing team, they were just focused on exposure for the brand and not anything else. 

He believed everything would just fall in place because his website and products looked good. 

He gave up because he didn't understand why his business wasn't growing, why people weren't buying his products, and he didn't feel it was necessary to research his industry.

He was very discouraged. This level of discouragement happens when one refuses to adapt to changes in technology and marketing.

Being stubborn only makes it worse.

Reason Number 4
Lost Man Reading A Map
Lost Man Reading Map

You're Marketing Your Business In The Wrong Place

If you don't know who your audience is, then you will most certainly be marketing in the wrong place. You have to know where to find your customers.

Are you marketing on a platform where it is mostly career and business-minded individuals with a product for teens? Do you offer services for women but you are advertising on a male-dominated platform?

Once you know the details of your audience, you can figure out which channels are best for you to market.  

You will have a better idea as to the flow of things, what's appropriate, developing the tone and the message of your content.

The beauty of the internet is that your audience will frequent more than one spot. It is up to you to do some digging and find out where everybody is going and what they are responding to.

The Easiest Way to Find Your Target Audience

5 Strategies

Here are five strategies you can use as starting points. Each one may be refined to satisfy your needs. There can be variations within an audience that you will discover once the audience interacts with your company more often through content that you create and market. 

Until you find one, keep narrowing your market! 

First Strategy 
Children - People just about to enter their adolescent years and especially teenagers are big business. Spending by teens accounts for more than $150 billion.

Second Strategy
Baby Boomers - They're well trained as customers. They know there is a service or product out there designed for them and they intend to find it. They will also use financing if they feel your product or service is a necessity. 

Third Strategy
Explore a Common Passion - Think about your very own personal passions. You could provide services or products among individuals who share more than one of those passions. For example, you could offer financial advice to NASCAR fans who want to get on the fast track to retirement. Shared passions may create a bond and trust which extends into other aspects of life.

Fourth Strategy
Religious Affiliations - Religious affiliation is definitely not a brand new way to niche, but it is a strong one. In fact, understanding the needs and wants of a certain religious community is a good way to target your services and products. 

Fifth Strategy
Ethnic Groups: Ethnic groups make up some of the biggest niches out there. They tend to fully enjoy their success. They understand the modest needs of that group and offer services and products accordingly. 

After deciding which strategy from above that you will use (if any), you will define the basics such as age, location, gender, and income level. 

Go Deeper By Creating A Buyer Persona

Group of People
Group of People

A buyer persona is a representation of your target audience based on factual data that you have gathered.  The data is not based on what you think, feel, or intuit. Rather, it is based on the information you have gathered through various sources. A common source to gather data is through a survey.

You can ask your current customers to take a survey. You don't need a lot of people to take the survey, a minimum of 12 people will provide you with more than enough information.

Here is a list of questions you can use on your survey which can easily be created on MailChimp or Google forms.

You want to find out the psychographics, behaviors, interests, hobbies, pain points, and goals of your potential customers. 

You can offer some type of incentive (i.e. discount, free product, entry into a contest, free consultation) to encourage your customers to take the survey. 

If you don't have any customers, you want to join different groups on social media such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Tell them you're working on a project and need help to complete it.

Once you have gathered the data from the surveys, you want to group together all of the common information that you find.

You can place the data on an empathy map.

Empathy Map

An empathy map will help you to visualize your customers' needs. It helps you to understand the customers' behaviors and attitudes.

You can use the empathy map to segment your master list of customers so that you have multiple buyer personas that you can market to more effectively.  

<img src=”empathy-map.jpg” alt=”empathy map”/>
Empathy Map

If you could visualize having a conversation with someone about your business, you wouldn't speak to them robotically. You would have a personable conversation with them.

You create your content based on the data you have gathered and according to the stage of business you are in and the customer's journey.

Digital marketing is about sharing stories and making connections through brief communication.

If you are stuck in the mindset of talking AT your customers instead of talking TO them then that mindset will be reflected in your marketing strategy and the results you receive from it.

You must go beyond basic demographics and remain adaptable to the times, staying current on changes and improvements with digital marketing efforts.

Although the methods I mentioned here are not brand new, they are more widely used due to the amount of data we have access to and their level of effectiveness.

It is up to you as a business owner to learn how to use the data to grow and expand your business. It can be done. You will thank yourself once you have decided to do it.

Please share this information with someone who needs to hear it and leave a comment below if this blog helped you understand target markets.