One (kind of crucial) question to ask yourself if you’re a new business owner is, “Who’s going to be my target audience?” In other words, who is going to realistically buy your product/service? You know what you’re providing, and ultimately you’re in charge of who you wish to attract. So, how do you narrow it down to a specific group?
Let’s take a look at some questions that will help you zero in on your perfect customer.
1. What are my goals?
Do you think Apple earned their success without first implementing goals? Most likely not. Do you think you’ll start off on the right foot without setting up a specific plan? Most likely not. As an organization, it’s always a smart idea to first recognize how you would like your products/services to benefit the people you're marketing your message toward.
Here are a few questions that might be helpful to ask yourself:
- What is our main focus?
- What do we want our audience to look for in our products/services?
- How do we want to satisfy our audience?
- How are we going to make a positive and lasting impact?
By first identifying your goals, it will make it easier to identify whom you want to attract. Start with brainstorming how you hope to invest in people; it will eventually lead them to invest in you.
2. What problems am I trying to solve?
People seek out products and services primarily to solve their problems, no matter how big or small. Take some time to brainstorm the solutions that you provide your customers. Then, you can move on to figuring out who may be likely to have these problems. From there, the next step is to imagine the type of person you think would benefit from your product or service—how they act, how they talk, what media they consume. Once you do this, you’ll have a better vision of how to approach your potential market and ways you can fulfill their demands.
Let’s think about Nike for a second. In order to find their audience, they had to think, “What can we do to make it easier for individuals to exercise more comfortably?” or “What can we provide that will differentiate us from similar companies out there?” As a team, they had to think about problems they could solve with the products they create.
The same goes for you when defining your market. It's beneficial to start out looking at what you will be able to solve and then moving further into thinking about whom you’re trying to reel in by being their solution.
- How can we make their life easier by the products/services we offer?
- How do we take care of our customers in a way no one else does?
3. What does my customer look like?
Painting a picture of the customer you hope to attract will keep you rolling in the right direction. Start by listing off the types of people you think would suffer from the problems you previously came up with. This will push you to start grouping them up by location and looking at what they do individually in that area. For example, are you looking for teachers, manufacturers, marketing managers, restaurant owners, etc.?
- Are they male or female?
- How old are they?
- Are they married?
- What is their lifestyle?
- Do they travel?
- What are their hobbies?
Define them in as many ways as you can think possible. Doing your research can lead to information on your industry, the market, your competition, and the potential customers you are looking to identify.
So, if you don’t know where to begin, start with making a customer profile. The arrow will inch closer to the bullseye as you start unfolding these details.
4. Where is my market?
You have the freedom to choose whom and where you want to market your business. Look at the demographic that attracts you and why you think your business would do well with the crowd in that specific area. Start to segment your market and break down where you’re searching to find these individuals.
Depending upon the type of business you’re providing, question your interest in ideas such as:
- Where are they located?
- What is their profession?
- What is the reach of my sales team?
- What is their level of income?
- Where do they look for similar satisfaction?
- Where is my competition located?
- Will my product make a difference in that area?
Analyze the information you’ve gathered so that you can narrow down your audience even further.
5. What’s next?
Finding your exact crowd isn’t easy. It involves a lot of planning, research, questions, and then some more questions. After all is said and done, hopefully, you’ll find the exact audience your business will resonate with.
However, the rest is not history. Research doesn’t stop once you’ve defined your target audience. It’s essential to stay current on market and industry trends and your competition. Stay on top of what your customers are looking for and see if they’re evolving. Before you begin marketing to your customers, make sure you understand how you’re going to track sales, interactions, ways they communicate, etc. You won’t know if you’re successful if you don’t measure; it will help to identify patterns, trends, and areas of improvement, which will continually help your marketing efforts better reach your audience.
Now that you have what it takes to discover your target audience, what’s stopping you? Get out there and act like the mystery-solving, Sherlock Holmes you’ve always dreamed of being.