When it comes to branding and positioning, don’t jump in cold with your blinders on.

We all know that saying about assuming, right? Well, it’s true. Unless you are just starting out in your business, don’t make assumptions about your customer’s preferences, tastes, habits, needs, wants, fears or concerns. Get real hard data and take the time to ask the right questions and test your hypotheses so you can make informed decisions. Ultimately, this data will help you develop your brand position to increase sales and conversion rates. Don’t get caught up in increasing traffic if it’s not the right traffic—quality over quantity, always.

“Get real hard data and take the time to ask the right questions.”

So, where do you start? The basics, of course! Conduct market research in order to gain valuable insight into the mind of your target audience. Remember, your goal is to be relevant because that is what will drive conversions. If you can identify with your audience and truly understand what they want and what matters most to them, then you will be able to position your business as the obvious solution. Thus, effectively engaging with them.

Below, I have the outlined the five steps in conducting market research to establish and develop your brand position. And as an added bonus, we have created a downloadable Ideal Client Profile worksheet to help you on your way. Whether you’ve been in business for 15 years or if you’re just starting out, it’s important to evaluate the gap between your brand identity and your brand image. More on that later, let’s get started!

Step 1: Pick A Niche

Who is your target market? Seems like a simple question, huh?

I find that this simple question is quite often overlooked. No business can be all things to everyone, nor should it be. If you are trying to market to everyone and anyone interested in your product or service, then you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Firstly, you don’t want to attract the wrong customers and secondly, you don’t want to turn off the right customers. When you fall into the trap of trying to be the jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none, not only are you spreading yourself thin, but you risk sending mixed messages. Cut out the fat and focus on what makes you great. Your niche should come naturally and it should play towards your strengths to showcase your value. Additionally, your product or service should be the solution or answer to a specific need or problem. The following should help guide you in this process:

  • List your skills and strengths
  • Outline what you’re passionate about
  • List your achievements
  • Identify your failures or big lessons

Step 2: Create Market Segmentation Personas

Once you’ve established your niche market, it’s time to get specific.

Believe it or not, women, small business owners, and high net-worth clients aren’t considered a niche. Those are all defined as a demographic and I don’t think a demographic that consists of 50% of the population is getting specific. In fact, focused brands are powerful brands. Create client segment personas using a combination of various persona markers such as location + occupation + age.  For example, if you are targeting executive women, what are the different segments within that demographic that align with your brand? Are they in the tech or healthcare industry? Single or divorced? Kids or no kids? Where do they live? Each persona marker will help you narrow down the various personas you want to target while capturing the diversification within your niche. And of course, market segmentation will enable you to tailor your sales and marketing campaigns and strategies.

Step 3: Define Your Ideal Client

Your market segmentation personas serve as a framework for defining your ideal client profiles.

If you are targeting single, female yoga instructors between the age of 30-45 located in San Diego, then it’s time to take a step further into getting down to the details so you can speak to it consistently and concisely. Download our Ideal Client Profile worksheet to help you in this exercise. Before you begin creating your wish list, take the time to re-evaluate your current A-list clients and think if you could clone 5 customers, who would they be and why? Or if you’re just starting out in your business, think of people who fit your target persona. Now, write their names down and print out the Ideal Client worksheet and start filling out their profile! Good luck!

4. Test Your Assumptions

Now that you’ve pinpointed who you want to target, it’s time to ask for feedback.

Find out how aware your potential customers are of your brand—what they think of it, what they expect of it and how credible and appealing it is. As I mentioned before, close the gap between your brand identity and your brand image: who you think you are vs. how others perceive you. There’s a big difference between the two and it’s important to do due diligence. Don’t be afraid to get the conversation going by engaging with your followers on social media, posting a poll, starting a contest or sending out a simple survey or questionnaire. And be sure to leave it open-ended. If you’re going to run a survey, don’t ask all multiple choice questions. If you’re baiting them with your answers, you won’t acquire any new data. You want to learn what you don’t already know. Ask the right questions about why and how they buy (ie. why did they hire you or choose your product over your competitors?).

5. Analysze Your Web Data

Just like target market segmentation, it’s also important to segment your data and leverage the data properly.

Don’t obsess over one specific keyword and only focus on one single outcome or key indicator. That 25% increase in organic traffic doesn’t mean a whole lot if you’re not collecting or analyzing the right data. Why? Your website serves many different purposes which as a result influence different behaviors. For example, some people may come to your website just to check you out, some may want to sign up for your blog, or some may want to download your free eBook. The list goes on and on for reasons why people visit your website and it’s important to capture that. Each motivation or behavior gives clues about where they are in the sales cycle. Start by segmenting your data by source (where did they come from? and why did they click?), behavior (is there a pattern between people who visit the site regularly? what are they interested in?) and outcome (separate a lead vs. a newsletter signup vs. a buyer). Once you segment your data, you will then be able to personalize your website content and online marketing campaigns to match exactly what they are looking for.

Download Your Ideal Client Profile Worksheet

If you follow these five steps, you will find clarity in who you are and who your target market is so you can position your brand to be relevant in the minds of your consumer.

The data from these exercises will help you to create sustainable solutions and effective campaigns to increase your sales conversion. Most importantly, you will position your products and services to essentially sell themselves! If what you are offering aligns with their values and needs, then you have gained a new customer. Don’t forget to download our Ideal Client Profile worksheet if you haven’t already. You’re welcome to share this worksheet with your colleagues, friends and family. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to hear from you.