Many businesses say they target anyone who might be interested in their products or services, but this ‘target’ is much too broad. Targeting a specific market does not mean that you are excluding people who do not fit your criteria. Rather, target marketing allows you to focus on a specific market that is more likely to buy from you than other markets. With a clearly defined target audience, it is much easier to determine where and how to market your company. Identifying your target market gives your company a much more affordable, efficient, and effective way to reach potential clients and generate business.
Finding your Target Market
Look at your current customer base. Who are these current customers and why do they buy from you? Look for common characteristics and interests, like age, buying power, geographical location, and marital status. Which of your customers bring in the most business? It is very likely that other people like them could also benefit from your product or service.
As you prioritize, or narrow, your target market, think of it like filters. If your product or service is location specific, then the first filter would be to narrow your audience to only those who could geographically purchase your item. Other filters could be related to gender, age, or income level. Moving through these filters narrows your audience to a more focused target market. Experiment with the order and combination of the filters to see if you receive different final results.
Continue to ask yourself who is most likely to be interested in the product or service you offer. Write out a list of each feature of your product or service. Next to each feature list the benefits it provides. Once you have your benefits listed, make a list of people who have a need that your benefit fulfills. Choose specific demographics of those most likely to buy your product or service, considering factors like education level, family status, or occupation. Matching the benefits with demographic groups will make it easier for you to identify those who are most likely to be both highly interested and able to buy your product or service.
Identifying your target market also requires some objective data. This data can come from surveys, existing data, and even tapping into your own network. By better defining which aspects of your customers’ behavior or profiles are most significant to your business, you can start to measure and analyze better ways to engage them.
Start by gathering statistical data regarding your target markets’ demographics, market segment, needs, and buying decisions. One way you can gather demographic data is to conduct surveys via email or newsletters. You can also search for magazine articles and blogs that talk either about or to your target market. To accurately pinpoint your target market create personal profiles for your ideal customer, you will need to know how old they are, what their job is, and what they do for fun. These details will help you define future marketing efforts.
If your business offers a product or service similar to those already on the market do as much homework on your competition as possible. Begin with learning what demographic groups are buying these products, then work on discovering when they buy the products and what specific products within a lineup are the most popular. Whether you sell a service or a tangible item, it is important to know what is currently on the market.
Your own family and friends can provide you with demographic data as well. Ask them if they would purchase your product and service, or if they know someone who would. Enlarge your network to include business colleagues and mentors for their opinions. Try to draw on diverse perspectives as you gather data. You might be surprised to discover target markets that you would have never thought of on your own and innovate ways that those groups would use your product. Having multiple streams of data, and doing regular research, will make it easier for you to identify and continually hone your target audience.
One word of warning, while you are narrowing down your audience don’t make your audience too small. Remember that you can have more than one niche market. If you can reach one or more of your niches with the same message, then you have likely broken down your market too far. Each niche market should have a different marketing message.
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