As any entrepreneur knows, understanding your customers is vital.
This is key to every business, regardless of your products or services. Even with the most innovative concept guaranteed to revolutionize the market, your hard work will fail to reap the rewards you so deserve if you don’t know who to target.
Still, identifying your ideal customer is essential for more than just marketing strategies. Effective management decisions, future re-branding, and new investment opportunities all hinge on knowing how they will benefit your client-base in the long run.
Any small business must make researching the target market a priority, and to help you get the best start, I’ve put together a handful of expert tips.
What do your products or services do for customers? Will your new app allow clients access to all their social networks in one place with an unprecedented level of security?
Does your new cleaning service guarantee a treatment so thorough customers need it just once every two weeks?
Identify the problem you solve, and then consider who it is most likely to benefit. It’s an obvious place to start, but formulating an answer to this question narrows your demographic considerably.
First of all, is your product or service gender-specific? If so, this will narrow your focus even further.
Next, consider age. Are you aiming for teenagers interested in a specific activity or habit? Are you producing goods for middle-aged housewives or twenty-something, career-minded men?
It sounds simple, but as you eliminate those people most unlikely to invest in your offerings, the clearer your target customer will become.
From there, research their spending habits. How much does your target buyer spend on the type of goods or solutions you’re providing? Do they tend to work full-time with disposable income, or are they usually in college with limited funds?
Even if this process leads you to two or three ideal customer-types, you’ll be able to streamline your business’ focus.
How can you access this type of data? There’s already a wealth of invaluable consumer-information online for free, but you might want to collate your own bank of data. A fantastic option is to conduct email surveys, make a deal with survey sites, or question people in public areas. Give out free gifts (even just a drink, a snack, or a gift card) as an incentive.
Furthermore, if your solutions bear similarities to others on today’s market, research their customers too. Which demographic do they target? Who buys their goods and invests in their services?
Not only will this help you understand your niche, it also allows you to identify chances to improve the options out there already.
Social media is no longer an option: every business should be using Facebook and Twitter, without exception. You may also find Instagram, Pinterest, and others helpful, but these two should be your priority.
Conduct a little research on your competitors’ followers and interactions. The best brands develop such a strong understanding of their customers, they create posts that garner thousands of Likes and Retweets within a matter of hours.
Take a look at their accounts, and study the type of users with whom they’re engaging. Do they cross generations? Are they trending with teens, middle-aged women, or thirty-somethings with a shared interest?
Make a note of how they’re engaging. Pay attention to their use of images and videos. Focus on the language they employ. Do they speak to clients like they’re friends, or with a professional tone?
Social media also provides analytics data, so you can explore your own performance over time, identifying ways to boost your visibility and drive more traffic to your site.
I hope these tips have inspired you to dive into researching your target market! Remember: while this will consume time and resources, the results will prove invaluable to your business.
A little extra work here can translate to a lot of extra revenue there.