You’ve been working with a target market for some time, but it doesn’t seem like you’re getting the regular flow of new clients that you need. You get some new business, but it seems like a struggle and feels like a constant battle to keep the business afloat. What could be the issue? Is it the economy? No, some businesses are doing great. Is it your marketing efforts? It could be that you’re not marketing enough. How about looking at the answers to the question, “How well do you know your target market?” You may feel convinced that you know them intimately, and perhaps you do, but let’s look at some ideas that might help you pinpoint target market issues that you might not have been aware of.

1. Can you talk animatedly about your target market and their problems and the solutions you provide for a minimum of an hour?

If you can’t answer, “Yes!” to this question, it may be that you don’t know your target market well enough. If you don’t know them deeply enough, your business will appear to be a bit “standoffish” to your target market. They won’t feel that you understand them, and they are unlikely to trust you to help them solve their problem. There is no commonality or potential for real connection. The relationship does not develop and you’re not going to get their business.

2. How certain are you that you know exactly what your target market wants to experience and get when their problem is solved?

You may be “selling” them what they don’t want, but rather what you think they want. If your solution is not the solution that your target market passionately desires, your marketing efforts will not work. If you’re selling them what you think they should want, rather than what they crave, and have no method for inspiring the desire for what you think they should want, again, you are wasting your time.

3. Do your targeted prospects see value in what you offer?

How do they react to your description of your services. Do they get excited? Do they desire what you sell? Do they want to know more? If these things are not happening, you are not creating value in the way your business is perceived by your target market. Sure, your family and friends tell you that what you do is great and valuable, but if your target market is not telling you that, you probably do not know your target market well enough.

4. Do you get inquiries from your target market?

Do they want more information about your business? Do they contact you to ask you questions about what you do? Do you have to “chase” them? If you are not getting regular and fairly predictable contacts from targeted prospects, you probably do not know them well enough. Your marketing writing is not doing its job. You have not dug deeply enough into the psyches of the clients you want to attract.

5. Is your written target market description so detailed that you regularly have prospects comment favorably about it?

You’ll know your have your target market description right when you hear prospects say, “When I read that, I felt you were talking to me.” If your marketing writing and website writing do not bring you the prospects you want to work with, you probably do not know them well enough. It’s harder to write an effective target market description that it seems like it should be. It’s a combination of imagination and experience, artfully compiled to speak to exactly those prospects you want to become clients. If your description is not working for you, hire professional help.

If you are struggling to sell your services and don’t exactly know why, consider the question, “How well do you know your target market?” You may discover that you need to dig deeper in defining your target. You can’t aim for a target until you know what it is.