One of the very first steps, if not the first step, to creating your marketing strategy is determining your target market. This is the group of people that your company will aim to serve and market to. Ideally, the people in this group have similar needs or personality traits and are the most likely people to purchase (and love!) your product or service.
There are 4 main reasons to identify your target market:
1. Determines your chances of marketing success
Before launching your business, determine whether or not there is already an existing market for your product or service. If there is an existing market, then you’ll have some level of certainty that there will be interest in your product or service.
2. Helps you tailor your product or service
If you have an idea for your business in mind already, then knowing your target market will help you to adjust your vision to make it more desirable.
Let’s say you plan to create a mobile muffin and coffee service for people in the city. When you zoom in and see that your target audience consists of corporate workers who wake up at 5 am, then you’ll know how to focus your product. Now, you are a coffee and muffin service that provides on-the-go breakfast starting at 5 am, ready in just 3 minutes!
3. Provides a concentrated marketing plan
You’re actually not excluding people by narrowing down your audience. In fact, you’re creating a more concentrated marketing plan. Business success is not simply about reaching as many people as possible – it’s about attracting the RIGHT clients and creating repeat business. This is why you want to focus on people who will benefit from your product or service the most.
4. Defines best marketing platforms
Knowing your audience helps you decide where your marketing efforts will provide the most return on investment and clientele growth. This allows you to determine how to market to them. For example, if you’re targeting highly-educated corporate workers, you’ll probably find the majority of them on LinkedIn or on certain Facebook groups.
On the other hand, if you’re targeting an older, more affluent audience, you’ll want to focus on print ads, since they’re less likely to be using technology. Also, knowing your audience allows you to create targeted ads that will help you reach a specific group of potential customers!
How to Identify Your Target Market (In Order!)
1. Research Your Competition
Knowing your competition is a huge part of business success. Do your research and find out who your competitors are. What type of business are they? Can you list some specific examples? Then, dive deeper and find out who their audience is and who they’re targeting.
This gives you a blueprint for who not to target. Since your competition is already involved in a specific market, choose a different one. You’ll want to look for a group of people whose needs aren’t yet being met by your type of product and who your competition has completely missed!
2. List What You Provide
Take some time to list what products or services you currently offer. Once this is complete, under each one, list ALL of the people who could potentially benefit from this. List as many groups as you can think of and don’t skip any!
After you’re done with this activity, you may find that your audience is much different than what you had originally thought. In the next step, we’ll narrow down this list.
3. Create the Specifics
Now that you’ve listed all of your potential clients, you’ll need to narrow down specific information about them. Demographics are general characteristics of a population. This includes factors such as age, location, job and income, ethnicity, gender, and education level. Psychographics, on the other hand, are more specific qualities of this population including personality type, hobbies, lifestyle, entertainment preferences, and values.
You’ll use demographics and psychographics to determine your ideal avatar. This is an imaginary, but ideal example of your perfect client. List out their qualities and even give them a name! This avatar will be the blueprint for who your target audience is.
4. Discover Audience Motivations
After discovering your target market avatar, list out what motivates them to purchase your product or service. Ultimately, your goal is to address what your audience is lacking, and how you can provide that need for them.
Let’s say your avatar is a woman named Janett. She’s a woman in her late 30’s and works a banking job in the heart of downtown Asheville. She goes for a run every morning at 4 am, so she needs her morning coffee and breakfast fix right after her run on her way to work. She’s extremely high-energy and loves service that treats her the same way.
What does this mean for your coffee and muffin food truck? It means that you’ll start serving at 5 am to attract the early-rising, working crowd. Your staff is all high-energy despite the time of day, and your truck plays upbeat music to get customers excited.
See? Now that you’ve decided what motivates your customers, you can tailor your business to reflect this and emphasize these aspects. This will draw in your ideal audience.
5. Get Feedback
Whether you’ve tested your product or service on your target market or not, ask for feedback! You likely know at least one or two people that might fit into your audience. Talk to them about your business ideas or provide a prototype if you have one. Do they seem interested or excited about it? Have they purchased this from similar businesses? What was their experience like? Do they have any suggestions for you? If they wouldn’t purchase your product, what would they invest in instead? This is an excellent way of getting first-hand feedback.
6. Re-Evaluate if Necessary
Always stay up to date on changing demographics and psychographics. Businesses stay in business when they are up to date with the times and evolving interests. Every year or so, you may need to re-evaluate your product and make changes or updates depending on what your audience is looking for.