Targeting: How To Find The Best Customers For Your Business
These 8 simple questions will transform your business
You can tell a first-time entrepreneur by how they describe their target market: “Everybody.”
“I sell clothes for everybody”
“I sell houses for everybody”
“I sell food for everybody”
“I sell cars for everybody”
Rule #1: Your product is never for everybody.
Even if you sell breathing oxygen, your target market is limited.
For starters, people with normal lung function don’t need oxygen tanks — they can breathe just fine. You’re targeting people with impaired lungs caused by smoking, emphysema, or congenital defects.
The young mostly don’t need oxygen tanks — it’s the elderly who might.
Oxygen tanks and medical consultations aren’t cheap, so people covered by medical aid are ideal.
Your target market for oxygen tanks is thus limited to affluent elders under medical aid with impaired lungs.
And with that, you’ll know exactly how to approach your marketing.
It’s important to niche down on a specific audience. This makes selling easier and allows you to charge more.
(P.S. Get new posts like this each week)
8 questions to help you find your best customers
You can find your best customers by asking these 8 questions and working backward:
Who needs this product to make money? If you sell writing services, your best customers are those who need good writing to make money. This includes magazines, founders, and corporate companies. Likewise, startups pay for social media marketing services, and investors pay for stock market analysis.
Who needs this product to save money? Making money is attractive, but so is saving money. Condoms sell because people don’t want expensive pregnancies. Accountants make money because people want to reduce their tax bills. There are entire countries whose biggest value proposition is “Move here and pay less tax.” They sell pricey citizenship packages for affluent people.
Who needs this product to do their job better? If you sell massage oil, your local casanova may buy a bottle or two in a year — but your best customer is a spa professional who uses several bottles a month. You sell lapel mics to speakers and TV presenters. Chefs need kitchen equipment more urgently than stay-at-home moms, and every Uber driver needs a car.
Who needs this product by law? Some products and services are mandatory, thereby guaranteeing you customers. All students need a graduation certificate — printing these would make you a mint. All drivers need a license — driving schools will always profit.
Who needs this product to save their lives? Security services are popular with those who live in dangerous neighborhoods. Doctors make a killing saving people from death — as do pharmaceutical companies. Everyone needs food — so supermarkets will always profit.
Who needs this product to save their reputation? Some offerings are only useful when there’s reputational danger. You only call a lawyer when you’re in legal trouble. Companies retain PR services when a scandal breaks out. You don’t really think about either of these things when everything is fine.
Who needs this product to start, grow, or preserve their family? Family is a strong purchase factor for most people. Schooling is one such product — parents will always absorb fee increases no matter how much they complain. Fertility services are another — by 2026, couples will spend $46 billion for a chance to become parents. Life insurance, wills, and estate planning services are other examples — people want to protect their families after they die.
Who needs this product to escape reality? People want to forget about their problems. That’s why comedy shows sell out, why alcohol is a popular drug, and why escort services will never die out. It’s also why theme parks, camping sites, and travel agencies will always be in business.
Notice a trend here: the customers of these products and services are all desperate.
The best way to make money is by targeting people who urgently, desperately need your product or service — as soon as yesterday.
I’m not suggesting you take advantage of them — your business won’t last long if you do that — but rather pointing out that demand is already assured.
All you have to do is serve that demand profitably.
Make more money at the intersections
You can make more money by serving audiences at the intersections of those 8 questions.
Truck driving certificates are useful for truck drivers because they need them to do their job. But such training and licensing services are even more useful for trucking companies. This is because experienced drivers make the company money. Having experienced drivers also results in fewer deaths, which enhances the company’s reputation and saves money it would otherwise spend on death benefits and insurance premiums. (3/8 boxes).
Media training is useful for executives to help save their reputations, but it’s even more useful for aspiring television presenters. This is because presenters need the training to do their job, make money, and enhance their reputations (3/8 boxes).
DNA testing is useful for all couples, but it’s especially useful for high-profile men who’ve been accused of having an affair — because they need it to preserve their families (i.e. avoid divorce), protect their reputations, and save money from an unwanted child (3/8 boxes).
Find the most desperate customer who ticks three or more boxes and serve them exclusively. The more boxes you tick, the more you can charge.
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I just had this conversation with a friend recently. We tend to be all over the place with our targets because we want to please everyone. We think that if we provide everyone a service we will make more money. The truth is I have done things which I wasn’t equipped for and I did an great injustice to those people. More than anything, I fear doing the thing i love most which is spelling to communicate. It’s too precious for me to mess up has become my thought process around it.
Realising that I need to get tighter about my audience, and that means being brave enough to let go (and mourn) my current audience as the work that I do now, no longer speaks to all of them.
As a speaker who once focused mainly on the mental and emotional aspects of fitness and wellness, I have grown into an Inclusion Consultant who facilitates processes that help organisations break through race-based barriers.
Employee turnover due to racial inequity in workplaces cost U.S. organisations up to $172 billion over the past five years - countries like Namibia and South Africa are slowly, but surely, starting to realise the real implications that racial inequity has in the workplace.
Companies need these workshops to create safe environments for their staff, protect their reputation, and to save money.