Imagine trying to market your product or service to everyone in the world. Sounds crazy, right? The money, the manpower, the creative process that would go behind a marketing plan of that size would be overwhelming. Not my cup of tea and I definitely don’t have the time for that! I’m sure you don’t either.
In the United States alone, there are 329.7 million people, and I’m possibly number 186,837,539. 🤷♀️ In that number, there is a mix of demographics that vary based on age, religion, gender, ethnicity. This may be news to you, but believe it or not, not every customer should be your customer. Marketing doesn't work that way.
When it comes to marketing, having a target market allows you to focus on converting a specific group to become a customer without blowing through your marketing budget. It concentrates on breaking down and focusing on pain points that your audience may experience. By the persuasion of marketing, you make your customers think, on their own, that they need your product/service.
“Alright, Justine back up! You keep talking about marketing to your target market and haven’t actually explained what a target market is yet.”
What is a Target Market?
A target market is a group of potential customers to whom a company directs its marketing efforts to promote its products or service. Within your target market are people who have the same type of demographics and behaviors, the ones most likely to buy your product/service. A target market is one part of the total market for a good service. You may have many different types of markets that will buy from you, but your target market is the group that is most likely to buy, and who you want to spend marketing dollars on to acquire.
Entrepreneur said it best, “Resist the temptation to be too general in the hopes of getting a larger slice of the market. That’s like firing 10 bullets in random directions instead of aiming just one dead center of the mark – expensive and dangerous.”
“How do I even start identifying my target market?”
Where to start identifying your target market?
Whether you are a small business that has been around for a while, or a brand-new business, identifying your target market is crucial to your success.
If you have already started the process of identifying your target market, we’ve got your back! If you are a new small business, we will carry you. To help both the oldies and newbies, I have provided you with 6 tips to identify your target market and focus your marketing money on the group most likely to convert.
1. Evaluate your current customers
For a company just starting to think about your marketing plan, you most likely have made sales. So, who have you had success selling to in the past? Are they primarily men or women? Are they in their late 20s or late 60s? Do they live in the suburbs or the city?
“Well, I don’t know that.”
These are just a few questions to think about when it comes to marketing your service/product.
The first step is getting to know your current customers. Hopefully, you have collected their contact information in your sales process. With those details, you can send emails out and ask about satisfaction from their purchase with a questionnaire or other form. Try to gather some personal information (but not too personal). With this data, you can record the age, location, language, net income, and interests of your customers.
Want to get in touch with your target market?
Start by building your email list today.
To identify a more targeted market for your marketing tactics, you must find out who needs and wants your product/service. Who better to tell you that than your customers?
“Okay, so I have a little information from my previous customers, what’s next? I need more information to find my target customer!”
2. Analyze social media and website analytics
Did you know you can gain insightful analytics about your market from your social media accounts? It is information that we use at DirectLync every day.
“Oh, that’s interesting! What can I find out through those analytics?”
All the social media platforms – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, etc. – provide you with audience insights. The analytics get extremely detailed. For instance, Instagram insights provide you with your profile growth, top locations of views, age range, gender, and the hours/days followers are on the platform. Just with that little bit of information, you can add those demographics to your list.
Hint* Since Instagram tells you when your followers are on the platform, use that to your advantage of when to schedule your posts.
Gather all these insights from your social platforms to identify user trends across all platforms. This will put you one step closer to your actual target market.
3. “Sell” your product/service
Which one of these statements do you think is more powerful?
1. Our platform has an RSS Feed, social post button, and Email Marketing.
2. Our platform helps save you over 3 hours per week by having all the tools you need in one place.
The second option is more powerful when it comes to marketing. The statement addresses the benefits and what you will get out of the features, not just listing the features like the first statement.
Determine the features of your product/service and identify the benefits of each feature. You can list the features of your product/service all day long, but no one will be convinced to buy from you unless you can explain the benefits. Features are what your product is or does. The benefits are the results and how your offering will help your customers. So, write these benefits down and use them to connect with your audience in your marketing materials.
To determine what your benefits are, make a three-column list. The first column is your features, products, or services. The second column is the benefits of each feature, product, or service. Lastly, the third column is to identify the target person for each benefit. For example, if one of your features was Social Media Management, your benefits could be generating more leads, spreading brand awareness, and delivering consistent branding across channels. Small businesses are most likely struggling with this; so, which small businesses are around you and could use the help of a Social Media Manager? This step doesn't only help you determine the benefits of your features but draws out your more basic target demographic.
Don’t forget! Your benefits are helpful when it comes to sales. Provide your sales team with the benefits and specific language you used to describe the features to add to their sales pitch.
4. Check out your competition
It is always a good idea to check out what your competitors are doing every step of their customers’ journey.
A few questions to ask when checking out your competitors are:
- What channels are they using?
- Which content on their social pages is getting the most engagement?
- What is their pitch?
- Who are they targeting?
Answering all of these questions, and even more, can help you understand what the market finds valuable. Remember, marketing is about speaking to your audience and hitting their pain points for them to realize they need your product/service. Your pitch should differentiate how you are talking to your customers compared to your competitors.
“How do I perform research on my competitors?”
Competitive research is a detailed process and very important to understand your target market. You can learn more about performing competitive research here.
5. Create a buyer persona
Creating a buyer persona allows you to understand the specific wants, needs, and interests of your target market. This is important when you start tailoring your marketing efforts to this market. You should create at least 2 buyer personas that carry all the traits that your target market has. When it comes to a buyer persona, you want to build your semi-fictional representation of your ideal buyer. With the information you gathered from your social accounts and website insights, you can start basing the demographics and psychographics off of those.
Demographics to think about:
- Income level
- Educational level
- Marital or family status
- Ethnic background
Psychographics to think about:
Allow your buyer personas to help you reach and target the market that will buy your product or service. Don't waste your time on people who won't convert; focus on those who will.
6. Evaluate your decision
Once you have decided on a target market, here are some questions to consider.
- Will my target benefit from my product/service?
- Can I reach them with my message?
- Are there enough people in my reach? Am I overestimating?
- Can they afford my product/service?
Remember, once you determine your target market, you always need to keep analyzing that market to see if you are gaining engagement and converting leads. Test ads, communication, and sales techniques to the target market you decided on to see if you have chosen the right path with the market. It is always easy to take a step back and tweak the market, so see what is right for your business.
Steer your marketing strategy in the right direction.
Our Ultimate Guide for Small Business Marketing will lead the way.
Time to connect with your target market!
Congrats! You now have a base of what your target market should look like. Use this to your advantage and create ads that attract that market. Connect with your market with the information you know about them and share the benefits of how you can help them get past their pain points.
To learn more about how to start a marketing campaign, read our blog on How to Plan Your 2019 Holiday Campaign.