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How to Identify Your Target Audience

Identifying a target audience is a must when starting a new business. Most likely, you will not be able to afford to target the entire market and even if you can, it’s not worth the time and money.

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Defining Your Target Audience

Your business can compete with larger companies by targeting a niche market. To effectively define your target audience, you must know the problem that your product or service will solve for your customers.

To identify the problem:
  • Develop relationships with your customers to get more information from them
  • Talk to them in person
  • Call them to request a short customer satisfaction survey
  • Email them

Once the problem is clearly defined, you will next figure out your target market.

Defining your target audience is can be easy if your product is tailored to someone specific, or it can be complicated and take lots of research. Identifying your target market is important to creating a loyal customer base. If your audience feels taken care of they will continue to come back to your brand for the product or service. In order to tailor your product to your audience, you must know exactly how to appeal to them. You can start by finding out information such as why they continue to come back to you.

There are a few steps you can take to simplify the process of defining your target audience:

Break your target market down into four sections: The who, where, why and how.

The who

Who are you going to target your product or service to? Keep a record of certain demographics such as age, gender, education and occupation of your recent customers.

The where

Include basic geographic facts about your customers as well. Where can your customers be found? Include their zip codes, what size population they come from and their climate.

The why

To learn more about your customers, keep track of personality and lifestyle information that helps you dissect why your audience makes their choices. These psychographics will help you to determine how often your customers need your product and how much of the product you should provide. If you’re appealing to customers at the right time, they will most likely become loyal to your brand.

The how

Research how your customers fulfill their needs and their behaviors around filling that need. Look into how they are finding out about your product and how they get their information so you can tailor your marketing efforts based on the most popular way customers come to know your product or service. For example, if you advertise heavily on social media, and you find out that most of your target audience is learning about your product through Google search, you may want to take your focus off of social media and switch it to Google advertising.

One way to finding all of this information is through social media. Analyze your customer’s social profiles to gain specific knowledge about their gender, where they live and their personality and interests. The more information you collect from your customers when they make a purchase, the easier it will be for you to nail down their demographics and identify your exact target audience. Another free way to gain customer information is from the US Census Bureau. From here, you can learn about the geography and population density of your customers. You can also survey your customer to learn more about them. There are free platforms to use such as SurveyMonkey and Google Forms that let you create surveys and send them to your customers at no cost. If you choose this method, keep your surveys short, asking only a few questions to each customer. If you’re worried about not getting enough survey responses, you can offer some type of incentive, such as a coupon or a free sample of your product.

The research you do to define your target market takes time. Start with the basics and as time goes on you will be able to better define your niche market. Identifying your target market will not only help you compete with other businesses but it will help you reach your goals and develop closer relationships with your customers.

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