Finding Your Target Market

You’re not going to have much success with your marketing strategy without having a clear idea of who actually wants your products or services.

Before you worry about things like content, ad placement, link building, and SEO implementation, take a step backwards and determine if you really understand your target market.

Once you have this foundation in place, you’ll have much better luck building a strategy that’s likely to be effective — and ultimately good for your ROI (return on investment).

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1. Think Like a Consumer

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who may be looking to purchase your products or use your services. Do some free association and jot down the image you have of who your typical customer would likely be or who would likely be searching for what you have to offer. Further fine-tune your target market by asking yourself the following questions:

• Who is likely to be searching online for my products/services?
• What problems are my products/services solving?
• Who would likely be willing pay for my products or services to solve these problems?

2. See If Your Research Backs You Up

Once you have a fairly good of idea of who you think your target audience is, do some research to confirm it. It’s not unusual for a business owner to assume they know who’s likely to be using their products or services and be either a little off the mark or way off base. Accessing some reliable stats also means you won’t be totally guessing. A good marketing strategy is one based on solid, verifiable data.

3. Tap Into Your Available Stats

Google Analytics is a great place to start if you want to get an idea of what’s attracting consumers to your products or services online. Take a look at the info you already have on existing customers. Are you generally attracting more males or females or is it about even? What’s the general age range within your market? One way to find this out is to check out your social media stats to see who’s following your brand.

4. Know Your Primary Locations

Some businesses do better when they focus on a very specific geographic area, such as a city and nearby towns. Other businesses are more national or global. How you define your target market by location will depend on:

• Whether or not you primary sell your products or services online
• How much of your business comes from in-person sells and how much comes from online traffic
• Whether or not there are other markets for your products or services you haven’t yet considered or explored

5. Size Up the Competition

Get an idea of what your target market is or what it should be by seeing who you competitors seem to be directing their efforts towards. One way to do this is to use tools available from sites like SEMrush or Searchmetrics Essentials to see what keywords and phrases your competitors are using. Another tactic is to do a Google search and see what results come up for your competitors. Are they targeting the same consumers or are they going after an audience you haven’t considered?

6. Determine Your Growth Potential

If you primarily do most of your business within a local area, take a look at who else is offering the same services or products in your vicinity. Are you one of the few or one of many? If you’re in a crowded market, think about whether or not you can expand your market beyond your immediate area or whether or not it’s worth making more of an effort to generate sales online. Conversely, if your business is unique within your existing market, consider ways to use that to your advantage.

7. Identify Your Unique Selling Points

What is it about what you’re offering that makes it a better choice than the same thing that’s available from someone else? One way to get a clear answer to this question is to take a look at feedback you’re already receiving from customers, both in person and online. This will help you determine whether or not your target market is bargain hunters looking for a great deal or more discerning consumers who prefer quality and don’t mind paying a little extra for it.

Common unique selling points include:

• Quality and durability
• Comfort and luxury
• Affordability
• Appealing extras, such as free delivery or easy access to customer service

8. Use Your Marketing Goals as a Guide

Your target market also includes specific areas, either physically in certain geographic areas or online, where you wish to have a strong presence. For instance, if your goal is to tap into a very unique niche, you’ll likely be seeking a market that’s fairly small and defined.

If your goal is to set yourself apart from an already crowded market, you may be need to focus on qualities that set your brand apart and narrow your target market from something that’s way too broad to something more manageable. If you’ve zeroed in on certain geographic areas, check out other markets beyond those areas to see if there’s any potential.

9. Conduct Some Research of Your Own

If you’re not getting many clear answers from data you already have available, conduct some new research. This will allow you to seek specific answers to help you get a better understanding of your market.

Gather useful info by:

• Actively engaging with your customers via social media
• Sending out follow-up emails with feedback questions included or attached
• Making adjustments to your ad content to see what produces better results

While there’s a temptation to respond with, “everybody,” when asked who you want to buy your products or use your services, that’s not realistically going to be the case. Even products people need or use on a regular basis have strong brand identities with different consumers.

Continue to define your target market by staying on top of your stats and tracking results to make sure you’re reaching your intended audience.

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