Do you know who your target market is? We mean, really know? And, we’re not talking about, “I sell dresses, so my target market is women.” We mean, “I own a dress shop on Sacramento Street, my customers are female, ages 35-45, live in a 10 block radius and make more than $45,000 per year.”

When you first started your business, you may not have spelled out your target market in much detail, but spending some time to hone in on it now could reap some major benefits for your business. Knowing your target market allows you to spend your marketing time and resources more effectively. You might also discover potential new customers you hadn’t considered before.

So, how do you figure out who your target market is? Here are a few things to think about:

Getting to Know You

You not only need a solid understanding of your customers and their needs and desires, but you also need to know yourself pretty well too. What products or services do you offer? How do they benefit your customers? Do they benefit different customers in different ways?

Let’s say you’re a tax accountant who offers tax preparation services. The benefit seems pretty obvious – Customers don’t have to do taxes themselves (phew!). But think a little deeper. Are your services more suited to high-income people with complex tax situations who want to avoid an audit, busy people who could do their own taxes but are willing to pay to have you take care of it, or someone who needs tax planning help? Once you know who your target is, you laser focus your marketing efforts to the folks who are most likely to buy your product or service.

Here are some helpful tools and resources that’ll help you determine who your target market is:

  • U.S. Census Bureau has a plethora of information by state, city, age, business, geographic and much more. They’ve also got data from the 2012 Economic Census, which is the U.S. Government’s official five-year measure of American business and the economy.
  • Google Analytics provides a depth of knowledge about who’s visiting your website, how they got there (by keyword, referring site, etc), how much time they spend and so much more.
  • Facebook Insights – If you’ve got a Facebook Page for your business and it has over 30 Likes, you can access Facebook Insights. Insights provides data about who’s interacting with your Facebook Page including total page Likes, or number of fans, daily active users, new Likes/Unlikes, Like sources, demographics, page views and unique page views, tab views, external referrers, media consumption. Mashable offers a great Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Insights here.
  • Surveys – Asking your customers a few simple questions via a survey can uncover some really valuable information that’ll help you hone in on who your customers are and their overall satisfaction. You can also learn about other services or products customers want.

Think Outside the Box

Defining your target market isn’t all about whittling it down to very specific groups; you may actually find your market is larger than you thought (That’s opportunity knocking!)

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does my product have other uses?
    Maybe you sell organic shampoo. Can it also be used as body wash or laundry detergent? Is it particularly good for babies or those with sensitive skin?
  • Can I create new products or services my current customers would buy?
    If I run a yoga studio, would my customers also be interested in other types of exercise classes?
  • Are there services I can offer along with my product?
    Customers of a plant nursery may need landscape design help. What other services are they getting elsewhere that you can provide?

Find a Common Thread

Is there something many of your current customers have in common? By determining a few characteristics many of them share, you can target similar people.

This is an especially useful strategy for non-profits seeking donations. Who are your current donors? Do they have similar jobs, hobbies or interests? An organization raising money for the environment may find it has a number of donors who are teachers that participate in outdoor sports or lawyers who drive hybrid vehicles. If you can identify some common traits, you can target similar people.

Remember the Obvious

This may go without saying, but we’re going say it anyway… How did you get your current customers? Did they find you? How? Yellow page ad? Word of mouth? Website? Did you find them through an event or trade show? Do you convert more people with a special offer or free sample? Figure out what works for you, and keep refining your tactics.

So there you have it, a few things to think about to expand your target market. How do you identify your target market?

© 2013 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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