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How to Find Your Target Market

Michael has a degree in international marketing and currently works for a global e-commerce company.

Identifying the Right Target Market for Your Business

Here's a quote that you may have come across: if you are marketing to everyone, you are marketing to no one. Irrespective of which line of business one is engaged in presently or planning to launch in the future, failing to identify the most profitable target market means wasting precious time, energy, and resources on those who have little to no consideration for the offer.

In the dynamic times we live in, there is an oversaturation of promotion and advertising. It is suffocating and an immediate turn-off for most people. Hence, trying to compete by simply raising your voice above the clamor, or by broadcasting your message in multiple places at once is not likely to be effective. Narrowing your focus and investing your efforts instead on the most profitable part of your niche will make those efforts all the more rewarding.

When you engage with this audience, approach with the intent, not to sell a product or service, but to provide a solution to a problem. If this is your style, they will tend to be more responsive to your message because they can immediately relate to key issues you have identified in their lives.

In this article, we will examine how to identify customers who are market-ready for your business.

1. Posts and Comments

One effective way of narrowing down your market demographic is to find out as much about them as possible. Thanks to advancements in technology, it is possible to gather data concerning their family, occupational, and recreational lives, including where they spend their time both online and offline.

One way to do this is by joining forums and social media gatherings like Facebook Groups where they frequent. As you go through the feed, you will be able to see the problems they are posting about and the questions they are asking.

But how can you reach out to them in such forums or groups without being banned by the admin for advertising or promotion? Use the proven stats to your advantage. Studies have shown that the average person recalls 95% of a video message and only 10% of a text message.

Once you find a post or comment that touches on your niche area, create a YouTube video addressing that issue, and then share this as a link in response. Within the video, provide a direct response to the question and then seize the opportunity to introduce your product or service.

Sharing in this way will preclude you from coming across as a spammer but a participant going out of their way to lend a hand to someone in need of a solution.

2. Media Kit

What if you are a single mom with kids, or a student swamped with academic responsibilities and don’t have the time to engage in a comprehensive market assessment? Is there a way to circumvent the process of conducting surveys and interviews and still get results?

Fortunately, there is!

You could use what is known as a media kit to find the information you need. The first step is to identify a magazine that specifically covers the product or service you are offering. Then, you need to trace the media or press kit on their website. Here’s an example. The kit will contain details of your target market and the demographic you will be building your business around.

The more specific your demographic selection is, the better. People's tastes and preferences vary depending on the stage of life they are in. For example, the features and functions that you build into a time management app for students will differ from the same software program built for working professionals. Haircare products for children and youth will contain ingredients that differ from those used by the elderly.

Consider the characteristics and changes associated with the age range in order to determine the suitability of your offer. The same applies to other demographic variables such as gender, education, marital status and location.

3. Value and Profitability

How valuable is the product or service you are providing? Is there sufficient value and demand to justify the effort, or is there too much competition already?

The market for a product or service is determined by consumers who have real and perceived needs. These influence their response to promotional messages and how they make their purchasing decisions.

Once you are clear on the demand and the ROI of launching your offer, you will want to gravitate toward the section of the market that shows the most positive response. These are the consumers who will profit your business the most.

For example, let's assume that your offer is a perfect fit in two demographics —  college students and middle-aged professionals. In this case, you would much rather start by targeting the professionals first.

This is because a college student will not have much disposable income to spend and therefore their purchasing power will be comparatively less. So aim first at the demographic which is most profitable for your offer and then work from that level to eventually include other sectors of the market.

4. Specialize First

Print a photo or image of the ideal consumer that you are targeting and keep it on your workspace. For example, if the person is a stay-at-home mom with kids, have that on your desk as you operate your business. Keeping a visual representation of the consumer will enable you to be specific and relevant in your message and style of communication.

But you may ask, how do I come to that level of specificity?

Well, here's an illustration. The hardest natural substance known to man is a diamond. Yet all it takes is a tiny beam of concentrated light known as a laser beam to etch a serial number on it. Right now the market may seem impervious to you and your offer negligible. However, the same principle of concentrated energy can work to your advantage.

After you have identified your niche market, avoid going for all of it at once, especially if you are just starting out. Your strategy should be to concentrate on one fraction of that niche market, such that your time, efforts, and resources are not wasted and you are not overwhelmed.

This will strengthen your brand authority and solidify your position as the main go-to person for the product or service you are offering. It is how you become dominant in that area.

Even though you plan to engage with a bigger share of the market eventually in order to increase revenue, be patient and start modestly. This will keep you from spreading yourself too thinly before consolidating your position or generating income that frees you to test new grounds.

So specialize first, diversify later.

5. Lifestyle and Habits

Where is your consumer likely to be spending their time? Do they hang out in the gyms, parks, sports centers, libraries, or shopping malls? How do they use their resources and opportunities?

Answers to the above will help you customize your offer and tailor your message to suit their situation. You need to be aware of their struggles, their dreams, and their aspirations.

Only then will you have a standard to gauge your product or service against and see whether it ticks all the boxes on the list. This will also help you recognize what needs to be improved and what should be discarded.

As you immerse yourself in their daily experiences, placing yourself in their shoes, you will be able to better identify with their core needs and reach them more effectively.

6. Evaluate Yourself

Another way you could narrow the options for a more effective delivery is to study yourself and ask the following questions:

  • What level of satisfaction do I get from serving this particular consumer?
  • How fulfilled am I and how does my serving them resonate with my personal values and vision for my life?

Examine your own gifts and talents and see what inspires you the most when used to serve others. This needs to be something that you enjoy, something that comes as second nature to you.

It doesn't matter whether you are into acts of philanthropy, charity, wildlife protection, pet care, fashion, coding, or even baking. Whichever field you select, you need to identify the audience with whom you resonate the most on a personal level. This is the place to begin.

If you enjoy imparting knowledge to others, would you enjoy teaching elementary school students, high school students, college students, or adults? If you are into graphic design, would your sweet spot be the creation of 3D models or traditional animations? If you are a wordsmith, would you prefer blog posting or self-publishing your own books for technical or non-technical audiences?

7. Study the Competition

Evaluate commercials and ads in your market and see how they are created and designed. How effective are they in communicating or bringing their message across?

People value their time. So if they visit your site, scroll through your content or watch your videos it is because they have something they want resolved. There is a specific need they want an answer for.

Therefore, you need to be pragmatic in your approach and focus on solutions rather than providing content, which though interesting, does little to help the consumer.

Study their sites and channels and evaluate the comments people are leaving there, especially the reactions of those within the demographic you have identified for your offer.

Observe the Facebook ads for products or services in your niche, especially those that are receiving plenty of traffic, reviews, comments and likes. It is possible to click through and view details concerning which age group the advertiser is targeting, the location and other information on the type of audience they want to reach.

Remember to fill in specific interests instead of trying to combine multiple interests in the same campaign. This will help you get the most out of your study of the competition.

This information once gathered will help you when you create your own ads or other promotional campaigns. It will also give you an idea as to how your own ad will be viewed by the same audience.