It’s one of those questions that every person starting up their own business has asked themselves. What is my target audience?
Thinking about who you want to target sounds easy in principle. But in practice, it can be quite hard especially if you think that your product will have mass appeal. Defining your target audience, therefore, is a difficult part of launching any business operation.
But it’s also critical. It defines how you use your limited marketing resources. And it’s what allows you to engage with your target customers more deeply. With that said, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Reflect On Your Business Plan
It’s highly likely that in your business plan you defined your product in great detail. You know exactly how it works and why it’s beneficial.
But it’s sometimes harder to work out who exactly would want your product. Often we tend to oversell our products, imagining that they could potentially benefit anybody. But the reality is far more sobering. Your real market is likely to be a lot smaller than you imagine because only a few people will benefit enough from your product to want to splash out on it.
That’s why referring to the business plan is so important. It allows to think about who wants your product, rather than to whom you would like to sell.
Start Your Research Early
Once you start researching, you’ll be amazed at how much information is already out there. Other people in your industry are also interested in finding out who their audience is. And they will have produced a wealth of literature that will point you in the right direction.
Once you’ve identified the features of your target audience, it’s time to drill down into the detail. If you’re selling financial products to homeowners, you might want to build up mortgage mailing lists. If you’re selling services to schools, then create a list of school contacts. If you’re looking to sell holidays, find specific mailing lists for those too.
Finally, if you have the budget to do so, you may also want to do your own first-hand research. Perhaps your product is very different to what is already on the market. If so, you may have to find out for yourself who exactly forms your target audience.
Build Up A Profile Of Your Customer
To really know whether you’re targeting the right audience, you need to know some of their characteristics. Knowing the demographic profile of your clients allows you to know to an exceptional degree who is most likely interested in your product. You may want to collect information on gender, ethnic background, age, marital status and income.
You may also want to know why customers want to buy from you by collecting psychographic data. These data contain information about a client’s values, their hobbies and interests. Even their behaviour. Knowing why a customer wants to buy from you enables you to customise your marketing and branding. It’s not just about describing your customers; it’s about knowing what they want from your business too.