Do you know who your target market is? If you don’t, it’s worthwhile taking the time to research exactly who your small business is trying to reach. Doing so could help you improve the way you market your products and services, and better understand the messages and channels you should use to reach your ideal customer. So, how can you find your target market? Start by asking yourself these questions.
Who are my current customers?
Your current customers are a great starting point in determining your target market. What do they have in common? Break this down into demographics (age, gender, location, and occupation) and psychographics (lifestyle factors, values, and interests). Your subscriber list, customer database, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and social media tools, such as Facebook Audience Insights, can help you build out your current customer profile.
What needs do my products and services meet?
Step back and consider from a customer’s perspective what key needs your product and services meet. What is it about your business that most appeals to your customers? Why do they buy from you? For example, a food delivery service that specialises in sourcing organic meat and produce meets the needs of time-poor customers looking for healthy grocery solutions.
Having a clear view of the need your product or service fulfils will help you profile existing and prospective customers – and segment them by product or service – allowing you to easily tailor your messaging. You should be able to sum it all up in a one word sentence.
What are my business’s core values?
Your business’s values will often dictate how you run your business and what you offer your customers, which, in turn, influences the type of customer you attract. Compiling a list of your business’s core values will help you better understand the target market you most align with. Using the example of the food delivery business – whose core values include working with certified organic local farmers and artisans, reducing food waste, and recycling – you could add ‘environmentally conscious’ and ‘committed to the local economy’ to your customer profile.
What’s my business niche?
What’s the state of the market your business is working in? Who are your key competitors? What do you sell or provide that they don’t? What is your business’s point of difference? Identifying what it is that makes your business unique will help you to refine your target market even further.
For example, a hairdresser may be the only one providing a mobile service in a local area. While the hairdresser’s customer profile is anyone wanting to get their hair cut and styled, their target market is those who want the convenience of at-home styling, or those looking for hair and beauty services for a special occasion, such as a wedding or formal.
Now that you’ve considered who your target market is, the next step is to think about the channels and messages you can use to reach them. But don’t stop there – keep revisiting this process each time you launch a new product or service, or as your business grows.