The Basics Of Marketing: How To Choose Your Target Market
Whether you’re selling wiper blades or washing lines, it is crucial that you have a good understanding of your customer base in order to maximize sales.
Factors such as who you sell to, the reasons why they should buy your products, and how they stand to benefit — these are fundamental issues that should be at the core of your marketing campaign.
When you’re running a small business, it doesn’t matter if you have a great web design; if you didn’t take the time to think about who your ideal customers are, your business would have a hard time taking off.
In this article, we will explain how you can identify your target market based on what you sell and the needs of your average customer.
Understand the problems that you solve
This should be the starting point: knowing and understanding what you can offer.
You should know which problems you can solve for your audience. Once you establish how you can help them, your next act should be to identify who is most likely to suffer from those problems.
Build a picture of your customer
You can start by listing all the different types of customers that may suffer from the problems you aim to solve.
Afterward, build up a picture of the typical customer. Classify them under different demographics — e.g., high-income individuals that tend to live in specific postcodes — and also under market sectors, e.g., are they recruitment agents, manufacturers, etc.?
Learn more about these groups of people. Are many of them male or female? Are they married, do they have a job? Find different ways to define them and only classify them using relevant methods.
How do they stand to gain from you?
Consider the following: of the individuals who are most likely to suffer from these problems, who will have the most to lose by ignoring your solution?
Find ways to demonstrate that the cost of not dealing with the problem is far greater than the cost of solving it. When you individualize some of their problems, it will allow you to delve deeper into their way of reasoning and also to understand their stress and emotional upheavals.
There are many factors that affect customers’ behaviors and it would pay for you to know them.
Consider how your market has evolved
Whatever industry you’re involved in, today’s markets are all about niche. People are no longer bound to TV schedules or print journalism; everyone demands to watch what they want at any time of day and from virtually any location in the world.
The web allows you to deliver customized products and services, eliminating many of the distribution challenges that prevented client satisfaction and growth in the past.
It is because of these reasons that an effective strategy as a small business owner would be to operate as a big fish in a small pond instead of the other way round.
You will have a better platform to create a good reputation and also gain referrals.
Having understood this, proceed to segment your market. Who do you want to work with?
- Certain types of people — middle-class or high-net individuals, men, women, athletes, etc.
- In specific geographical areas — the East Coast, West Coast, abroad, etc.
- Market sectors — perhaps manufacturing, service provision, accounts, health, etc.
Assess your company
Another way to study your market is by first establishing some internal factors. You might be skilled in certain areas of expertise, you may have acquired years of experience working in particular markets, or you may have lived in certain geographical areas where you identified business opportunities.
These are great tools to have as they will allow you to present your market a far more attractive offering.
Take the case of a lawyer working solo in the East Coast. For one, working all over the country is not practical and is a bad idea.
So let’s say the lawyer decides to focus on clients in New York or Boston: perhaps he or she acquired good contacts when working for a couple of different firms before deciding to start their own.
Suddenly, the lawyer becomes the person to know in their city — especially for business-people who are new there — and this comes from providing actual value to clients: by connecting people, solving problems, and having a keen understanding for the problems facing clients in this area.
By concentrating on one marketplace, you can acquire useful knowledge that later translates into solutions. When you focus on a specific market, it will be easy to for you to create a name for yourself.
Without limiting the market, you might not even know where to start. Once you begin to solve problems within your market, and of course, with a good web design to serve your potential customers, you can say you’re on the right track.
Be aware, however, of the changing times. Stay on top of evolving trends and be adaptable to the needs of the future.