Let's get this straight...
The whole world is not interested in your product.
That's not a shot at you. That's true for every startup product and service—including ours.
There's a specific group of people with a specific set of needs that you can meet. This is your market. It may be big, or it may be small. What's important to realize is that it isn't everyone, and it isn't you.
Define your target market. It’s crucial to your success. 🚀
A target market tells you who you're competing against, who your customers are, and where to find them. If you define this early, it can also help you avoid the #1 killer of startups...no market need. 👇
Remember this frightening chart from CBInsights? It's so scary we're only showing you the top half. 😱
Sure, Facebook is for anyone with an email address now, but it wasn't when it started. Initially, it was just for students at Harvard. You'll find similar stories for many big companies that target massive markets in maturity. Most started small. (And remember, those giants now have the budgets to target everyone—you don't!)
Stake out your virtual real estate. 🏡
Seth Godin compares starting a business to choosing a piece of real estate. You get to decide whether you have a great view, are nearby amenities, or in a great neighborhood. There's virtual real estate in every industry and you get to choose where you plant your flag and work. 🚩
That's exciting. It's also pretty damn scary. 😬
Because as soon as you define where you are, what you are, and who you are for... you simultaneously say where you're not, who you're not, and who you aren't for. 🚷
Target markets are hard, but they make other things easier. 🙌
We get it. By targeting non-technical founders of B2B SaaS companies, there are a lot of people we leave out. That's exciting because we love our audience. It's pretty scary when cash is tight or runway is short. However, we know the fastest way to tank our business is to try and be for everyone.
That said, I’m going to let you in on a dirty secret: we occasionally work with people outside our target market. The difference is we don’t go looking for them and we don’t spend time honing our skills to serve them.
Three huge benefits we’ve seen from picking a target market:
1. A clearer message. 🔎Think of this as standing on a corner in Times Square vs. speaking to a neighborhood association. In the first scenario, you're competing against neon, cabs, storefronts and other street vendors. All you know about your audience is they happen to be in Times Square. With the second scenario, you know why people are there, who they are, and what they care about. This gives you the power to deliver a narrow message that's a lot more persuasive.
2. Easier decision-making. 📊At Krit, target markets help us prioritize our limited budget, time, and resources. It's easier for us to decide whether a networking event or conference is worthwhile. If you're building a product, it can also help you decide which features to focus on.
3. Smarter spending. 💰Neil Patel points out that marketing to everyone is a quick way to spend a fortune on advertising. It's also a quick way to see low conversion rates. Defining a target market helps us pick specific channels and focus our efforts there. We don't always pick the right channels, but having a target audience helps us strategically experiment.
Like most things, it's a work in progress. 🛠
This is an ongoing process. At Krit, we have a good idea what kind of market we add a lot of value to. But we're still refining exactly who we work with. We ask our customers (and ourselves!) a lot of questions. We read a lot of articles, too.
Like every other part of running a startup, defining your target market is hard, and it takes sweat and time. Don't expect it to come easy or quickly. But don't be surprised if spending time on this saves you a lot of sweat and anxiety in other areas of your business. Defining your target market may be hard work, but it's absolutely worth the benefits.
Closing Tip: If you’re still apprehensive about going all in on a single market, try focusing on going all in for one marketing campaign. Don’t overhaul your homepage, just create a super specific landing page. 🎯
"The virtual real estate that’s available in every single industry is a choice." –– Seth Godin
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