Your target market is not everybody!


One of the first questions I ask business owners is “Who is your target market?”

If they respond with an unsure, “I don’t know… everybody?” I am always excited. I know we have an instant opportunity to improve their marketing and generate more leads for their business.

Defining your target market is key, no matter what type of business you are running. Here’s a quick introduction to the basics of defining your target market.

What is a target market?

Essentially, a target market is the people you want to sell your products to or at least a set of individuals who are most likely to buy from you.

For instance, if you are selling organic vegetables in Sydney’s Inner West, your target market is likely to be health-conscious young professionals who live in the area, go to the gym often and are interested in wellness and sustainability. If you are a freelance graphic designer, you might want to target advertising agencies or a specific type of business such as builders or even yoga studios as your ideal customers.

How do you define your target market?

Defining your target market is a crucial step when you build your marketing plan. You do not want to waste your time selling to the wrong market, because no matter how great your products or services are, they won’t just buy! Ask yourself these important questions before you get started defining your target market:

  • How old are my target customers?
  • Are they male or female?
  • Where do they live and what do they do for a living?
  • How much is their monthly income?
  • Are they single or married?

Follow up with more questions covering your target customers’ hobbies, the websites they visit, and their daily routines. Think about their challenges, their fears and what they are striving to achieve.

When defining your target market, you may come across the term ‘avatar’. This has nothing to do with blue aliens! Your customer avatar is a persona who you tailor your messages to.

Ideally, your customer avatar will stem from market research gained from customer insights through surveys, interviews and customer feedback forms.

Can you have more than one target market?

You can definitely have more than one target market.

In a University of Queensland study, a game company targeted males as its prime market and females as secondary before creating two different advertisements for its new game. The ‘male’ advertisement highlighted the combat and strategy element. The message for women focused on building community and relationships.

All very stereotypical! But what this does show is where there is more than one target market, it is vital to adopt a different marketing strategy for each based on their interests and their motivation.

An accounting firm, for example, may target young professionals and people approaching retirement age. Both will benefit from hearing a different message.

How to reach your target market

For small businesses getting started with marketing, choosing between traditional and digital media can be daunting, especially when the budget is limited.

Traditional media like newspaper and radio reach wide audiences but can be more costly than a digital strategy. Essentially, it is imperative to work within your budget, analyse how your target market consumes media (e.g. on social media, from the newspaper, even from billboards), and make sure to deliver the right message.

One example I often share of a target market success story tells of a client who was paying thousands of dollars to advertise in a major publication. The return on investment was negligible, and the ads were resulting in only one or two extra enquiries per month.

After having a chat, we were able to refine this business owner’s target audience to a very specific type of person. Advertising to this audience in a niche publication only cost around $600 per month. The result was a flood of clients who this business owner was excited to work with. By limiting the people he was reaching out to, he multiplied his customer base several times over.

Find out more strategies for business growth at the next 52 Ways workshop, which is coming up in a city near you very soon.

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