Five steps to defining your target market
Anyone in business knows that it’s just not practical nor realistic to be all things to all people.
In order to succeed, your product or service has to be aimed at the right audience to maximise a return on your marketing dollar.
That’s when it’s important to clearly define your target market.
Whether you sell web design services or manufacture widgets, you need to understand your customer and define your target market if you want to maximise your sales. Consider who you are selling to, why they should buy your product and what they stand to gain…
1. Be clear on the problems you solve
An ideal starting point in defining your target market is to know your products or services inside out.
Ask yourself: What is the purpose of what I sell? What makes my product or service unique? Does anyone else sell something similar and if so, what gives my product the advantage?
Analyse your existing customers to identify things they have in common. Once you have a clearer understanding of the problems you solve you can start to work out who is most likely to suffer from these problems and offer solutions.
2. Create a profile of your ideal customer
It’s important to understand exactly who the person is who is most likely to buy your product or service as this will help you decide where you should be spending your marketing budget.
As a starting point, list all the different types of customers that experience the problems your product or service solves.
After you’ve done this you will start to see a clearer profile of these customers. You can then divide them into groups based on demographics (ie age, marital status, income level) and psychographics (ie values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles).
Other factors to consider include determining the geographic location of potential customers to ensure you are able to reach and service their needs. Are you going to start local, go national or even international? Will your product or service appeal more to businesses rather than consumers if so there are additional factors you need to consider.
Once you’ve created a profile of your ideal customer, it will make it easier to create marketing messages that will appeal to them.
3. Evaluate your competition
It’s crucial to check out what your competition is up to.
How do you compare – better or worse? Where are the gaps in what they offer and in how they market themselves? Are groups of customers being ignored by your competitions and could you target these profitably?
If there are similarities in what you offer you’ll need to differentiate yourself in some way and make this clear to customers so that they have reason to seek out your product or service over the competition.
4. Have a closer look at your business…
This “self analysis” is really useful as it will help you decide on the right markets to pursue based on a number of internal factors:-
– Do you have any particular areas of expertise? Are there any specific markets that you have lots of experience in, such as working with accountants or web developers?
– Do you have unique knowledge of a specific geographical area?
– Do you get on better with certain types of people?
5. Achieve effective marketing with your audience in mind
Once you’re clear on what problems you are solving and the solutions you are offering, and you have clearly defined your target market, your marketing stands a greater chance of success. Your marketing budget will be well spent targeting an audience you have defined as being ready to buy your product or service and your messages will be reaching an interested audience, keen to learn how your solution will help solve their problem.