For some business owners, this may seem an obvious answer. “My target audience is anyone interested in buying my product or service.” Or you may even have narrowed your target somewhat, for example: homeowners, small business owners, or even working moms. But these vague generalizations will cost you time and money in the long run with your marketing endeavors. Why?
If you do not understand your target audience, who they are, if they can afford your product, what their interests are or how they find and collect information; then you have no idea how to reach or engage them. Without doing your homework first, any marketing efforts (and dollars) will be a shot in the dark.
A Case Study
For example, a custom home builder may way to market to homeowners between the ages of 35-65 with incomes of $150,000+ in the Lexington, KY market. To define the market even further, the builder may want to target only those interested in energy-efficient homes with high-end features that are built on small, easy-to-maintain lots. This market could be broken down into two niches: parents on the go and retiring baby boomers.
Now this home builder has determined his specific target audience, he can more efficiently advertise knowing where or how to reach them. There is value to analyzing your product or service, researching the details of your customer base, and it can be done inexpensively by just asking a variety of questions.
Questions that can Save you Money
“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”- Tony Robbins
1. Ask about your target’s demographics: What is their age range? If restricted to a specific area, how far can your product or service reach: city, county, state, country or beyond? What is their gender? What is their income or education level? Are they single or married, have children, caring for elderly parents? What is their occupation or do they own a business?
2. Ask about their psychographics: What are their interests, their hobbies and causes they feel strongly about? (Example: An organic food store may find their target is interested in Non-GMO food items, renewable products and recycling.) How will your product or service fit into their lifestyle and behavior? Knowing more about their lifestyle and behavior will lead to the next question …
3. How do they gather information? What media do they turn to for information? Do they read magazines, blogs, the newspaper, search online, or attend particular events? Do they participate in social media; and if so, which one: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest or Instagram? (For more info on recent demographics per social media, click on image below.)
4. Learn from
your mistakes … your success. Who are your current customers and prospects? You can learn a lot from your already existing customer base. How? Offer a discount or incentive if your customers fill out an anonymous survey, so you can explore how they found out about your company and the reasons behind choosing you. When a new prospect calls or visits, always ask “How did you hear about us?”. Keep track of where your customers and prospects come from so you know what’s working.
5. Ask for help from local resources. It’s usually too expensive for most businesses to set up a focus group or large range marketing surveys. But there are other creative ways to tap into free resources. Ask colleagues, vendors, fellow business owners who have successfully determined their targets. The Small Business Development Center in your area can give you a lot of guidance about your local demographics, the projections for future growth and ways to reach yours. And don’t underestimate surveying and polling your social media connections. Information can also be accessed through your social media and website statistics and analytics.
6. Monitor and grow. As you track your sales, prospects and requests for information, you will be able to identify trends & patterns, to see what’s working and what’s not. Continually discover areas of improvement and ways to unlock more information about your target audience. As you determine your target and their buying behaviors, don’t become complacent with your marketing efforts. Find ways to expand beyond your target and transform your product and service to reach and appeal to greater markets.
“Targeting a specific market does not mean that you have to exclude people that do not fit your criteria from buying from you.” – Inc. Magazine
Taking the time to research your target will allow you to focus your marketing dollars and branding message on a specific market, which saves time, money and frustration. What business owner wouldn’t benefit from that?
For more information on determining and reaching your target audience, call Startup Production today for a free consultation.