How to find your target market

Marketing your business requires having a target audience to find the optimal number of conversions. If you’re advertising to groups that aren’t interested in your company, you’ll wind up wasting resources on unlikely leads. However, defining your target market and ideal customer models isn’t an exact science. The task requires a great deal of research, consideration and some educated guesswork. These are all necessary steps for finding the perfect audience for your new advertisements. Additionally, consider the following tips to streamline the process.

A problem to solve
Sometimes the best way to find the right market is to determine who would benefit most from your merchandise or services. If there is an issue that your goods resolve, people suffering from that problem would be your targets. However, Greg Habstritt, founder of SimpleWealth, points out that there needs to be some awareness on the consumer’s part.

“Not only do [your potential customers] need to have the problem, but they need to be aware they have the problem,” Habstritt told Entrepreneur Magazine.

This means you can’t simply focus on the problem or your audience – you must find out if an issue actually matters to people. Otherwise, you’re offering assistance for a challenge that isn’t really a concern. Perform in-depth market research to define who your target groups should be. Consider focus groups and blind surveys to develop keen insights into who would benefit from doing business with you.

Start small and grow
Never allow your reach to exceed your grasp. Even if you believe that there is a massive audience for your advertisements, you might not be able to handle such a massive demand. If you own a small business, you must understand the limits of your resources so you don’t overwhelm your assets. This might seem problematic, but starting small and marketing to a core group of consumers can actually help you grow in the long run.

According to Duct Tape Marketing, selecting a small group and turning them into brand ambassadors will help you win new customers in the future. Find a core market and ensure that your products or services always exceed expectations. Going above and beyond will help you endear yourself to the community by showing clients that you put their satisfaction first. Eventually, these loyal patrons could spread positive reviews about your business so their friends and family members will become customers. Consumers trust peer reviews more than marketing messages, meaning starting small might be the best strategy for marketing your business.

Focus on demographics
Nolo notes that you can focus on demographic criteria to determine your target market. Usually, the best way to go about this is to study your current customers to see what similarities they share. Focus on important features like age, marital status, gender, location and income so you have a clear image of who is visiting your establishment. One of the benefits of social media is that most of this information is already at your disposal. Research your online followers to see what qualities they share so you know to whom you are marketing.

Watch the competition
Competing organizations will rarely divulge information about their successes, but you can find out who their customers are. Inc. Magazine recommends studying who does business with your competitors in order to define your target audience. In many cases, there will be sufficient overlap to justify marketing to consumers who are loyal to other companies within your industry.

Defining a target audience is critical for the success of a small business, especially from a marketing perspective. How did you choose your core audience?

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Martin Jones

Martin Jones is a Senior Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he assists in leading strategy, campaign ideation and marketing execution for Cox Business social media & content marketing. Today, over 1 million fans engage with Cox Communications content, campaigns and Customer Care on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube. LinkedIn and Google+.