Marketing is everything when it comes to getting your business up and running at a good pace. Many entrepreneurs start out thinking that the best marketing strategy is one that casts as wide a net as possible, but this is actually one of the worst mistakes you can make.

Marketing without first defining your target market is financially wasteful. It quickly eats up your valued time and money without yielding the customers that you want.

Chances are you didn’t start a business just for the transactions; you wanted your product or service to meet the personal needs of a customer base, improving their life in some way. But if you are marketing too broadly, you lose the ability to reach potential customers on this personal level.

Stop pouring water on a sinking ship; it’s time to patch up those holes and reset your marketing strategy. Whether this means defining or redefining your target market, the following steps can help you reach your ideal customer base resourcefully.

Design your ideal client avatar:

1) Ask yourself who can most benefit from your product or service. What specific type of person has a need that your business can meet?

2) Think in terms of age, gender, qualifications, income, and other lifestyle factors. Narrow your target market with these criteria in mind.

3) Do some research — What are the purchasing patterns for this group of individuals? How do they engage online? What social media platforms do they use, if any?

4) Ask yourself if you’re overestimating the number of people you’ll reach. Keep in mind that marketing to a specific type of individual ensures your message won’t get lost in the noise of the internet.

5) Look for ways to learn from your target market. Engage with the target clients you already have to better understand them and better tailor your marketing to others like them.

6) Be observant and think ahead. Does your client base seem to be evolving in a certain direction — becoming more social media savvy, for example? How might you expect your target market to change throughout the next year?

7) Reflect on your successes. Who have been some of your most satisfied customers so far? What types of individuals have you most enjoyed working with?

Don’t let your message fall on deaf ears; revisit this list periodically to ensure your time and money doesn’t go to waste on marketing that lacks direction.

By designing an ideal client avatar and seeking them out with a targeted marketing strategy, you can make sure your goods and services are directed at the people who will most value them, and whom you will most enjoy working with!