The success of every small business-a franchise or independent start-up-is dependent on attracting customers. We all know a killer product or service is important, but where’s the point in selling the best handmade soaps in your area, if no one is buying them? How do you attract customers? The simple answer is marketing. Specifically marketing to your target market.
BusinessDictionary defines a target market as “a particular market segment at which a marketing campaign is focused.” Knowing your target market is the vital first step to streamlining your marketing efforts, saving money, and getting the highest return on your investment.
No one can target everyone, and no one should try to target everyone. By attempting this, you will stretch yourself and your marketing dollars thin; it is a recipe for disaster. The goal of finding your target market is to know exactly who is most likely to buy your product or service and developing an action plan to market to them specifically. This may sound like you will limit yourself too exclusively, but catering to your target market is the best, and quickest way of building a loyal customer base and getting your product or service into the hands of those who need it/want it most. From there word will begin to spread and other markets will try you out.
How do you find your target market? There are several steps to get you started, the point of which is to initially start broad and then funnel yourself down to very narrow criteria. From there, you may realize you’ve gone too small, and there aren’t enough people in the world who meet your criteria. This is fine. Going from broad to narrow means you already know how to back up a few steps.
Ideas for funneling your criteria include:
- Start with your current customers. If your product/service is already on the market, analyze your current customer base. Look for things like gender, income level, and age. Find the common characteristic, as well as common psychographics such as hobbies/interests, lifestyle, and general behavior. Knowing who your current customers are will help you find who your target market should be.
- Understand your product or service. Whether it’s already on the market, or you’re still in the first stages of developing your product/service, you need to thoroughly understand what you’re offering and how it effects your current or future customers. Analyze the benefits your product/service provides, and figure out how and why your product fulfills a need for customers that the competition isn’t doing. Once you know how your product/service works, look to see who needs it and is buying it.
- Analyze the competition. Look at your competitors for the market you’re in, and see who is buying their product, who they are marketing to specifically, and how they are marketing to them. You want your target market to be unique, but understanding your competition’s target market is a great step toward developing your own.
- Do the research. Go online and pull up data on the target market you’re looking at. Find articles and look at the blogs, forums and other social media your target market uses, if applicable. See how they think and feel, and find their opinions. There are also professional websites that are dedicated to customer data. Some of them include:
- Alexa- An Amazon company that turns the raw data into readable information on customer trends.
- Google Trends- Shows what is trending the most online, and helps you discover where your target market is interested in on the internet.
- Quantcast Measure- They advertise that they reveal unique audience insights to help your find your niche in the market.
Would you like more information? Read our blog on The Importance of Market Research