As a small business owner, you need to know the type of customer you want to reach before developing your marketing strategy. The first step is defining and identifying who your ideal target customer is. This article shows you how to define your target market to have an effective marketing strategy.
Create a Buyer Persona
A buyer persona is a mock-up of the type of person interested in your products or services. Look at what you offer and determine what kind of buyer would your products or services benefit most. Think about the person's age, employment, family status, and income. Be very clear regarding why they want to be your customer and how your business can help them. Create three to five personas so you can understand the customer better. This enables you to market your product to a targeted individual.
Psychographics are not the same as demographics. Whereas demographics refer to a person's age or location, psychographics is your targeted market’s psychological attitudes. Psychographics refers to their interests, lifestyles, and values. You need to understand psychographics to make a complete buyer persona. Without knowing the psychology behind why buyers make certain purchases, it is tough to reach them positively and productively.
Segment Your Market
Market segmentation is simply the act of dividing potential customers into demographics where they can be easily reached. Segments are often divided into age groups, locations, and interests. When conducting market research, you will find messaging that reaches teens and tweens is much different than the marketing message that resonates with the 45 to 60 crowd. Segmenting allows you to focus on a group of people with like-minded interests rather than a broad approach that may not effectively display your product or service. Market segmenting works hand-in-hand with the buyer personas you have created.
Include Niche Markets
One of the worst mistakes a company can make is to forget an entire subset of potential customers. Niche markets are much more specialized versions of the targeted market. Whereas you might market your services to women between the ages of 25 and 45, you could find your marketing dollars are better spent by focusing on women who are mothers, those who regularly volunteer, or even those who identify with a specific religion or political party. Niche markets allow you to develop content marketing pinpointed directly on those most likely to benefit from your product.
Consider Your Competition
You cannot fully understand how to define your target market without spending some time focusing on your competition. Defining your target market involves understanding where they shop, what they find most important, and how you compare to competitors. A potential customer base might prefer businesses with a strong social media presence. They might be looking for a company that is known for excellence in customer service. They may only be looking for the highest quality or the lowest prices. You will need to know all of this when you define your target market.
Look at Influencers
Those who influence your clients are as important as your business competition. Influencers come in many shapes and sizes. They may be industry professionals, notable personalities, writers, or speakers. Understanding your target market means acknowledging what makes them want to use a particular product or service. You can also use this information to target those influencers with your marketing strategy.
Analyze Existing Customers
As a business owner, you probably already have some loyal customers to your product or service. Spend some time studying this customer base to learn how they found you, why they continue returning to you, and how you can replicate that in the future. Understand the customer you already have to earn the customer who has not yet found you. It is possible to learn this information through website analytics, mostly if your company conducts the bulk of its business online. Brick and mortar business owners may do something as simple as asking customers to complete online surveys or in-store forms.
Focus on Social Media
The best, easiest, and least expensive way to reach a target market is through social media. Various media platforms give you immediate access to existing and potential customers. You will find who is responding to your marketing techniques within a matter of minutes. Pay close attention to those who like, share, and respond to your social media posts. You can find essential details like spending power, personal interests, and even what language is spoken at home through social media. You can even use social media for B2B sales. Social media helps you to learn who has the most purchasing power at any given company.
Re-Evaluate Your Decisions
You have spent adequate time and money defining your target market. The next step is to re-evaluate all of those steps. Ask the critical questions that will help ensure your target market is the right one to drive your business success. Is the niche you have chosen wide enough to sustain profits? Is your target market easily accessible through online or traditional advertising methods? Is your product or service affordable to those people you are trying to reach? Ask yourself some outside-of-the-box questions to ensure your chosen market is the right fit.
Form a Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan must be laser-focused on your target demographic. This can be difficult, especially if you're just starting. Start by writing a one-page marketing plan. This will get you through some of the mental stumbling blocks that can quickly occur when embarking on the complicated world.
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