Most of us have heard the term “target market”, but how many of us have taken the time to actually sit down, with pen in hand, and define our target market? Lets change that today.
A target market is a specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services. They are the target market because they are most likely to respond to your product, service, or information. By “respond”, we mean that they are most likely to buy, consume, sign up, read, or otherwise be engaged with what you disseminate. Your target market is most likely to be a sneezer for you. And because what you have to offer resonates with them, your marketing efforts will be most effective with this group. You will get the highest ROI (return on investment) with this group, in terms of your time and money, than with other groups.
So this target market sounds pretty great! How do I define who they are?
In the marketing world, there are different segments that are used to define a target market (adapted from smallbusinessnotes.com):
- Demographic Segment – Age, income, occupation
- Geographic Segment – Location
- Psychographic Segment – Lifestyle preferences
- Use-Based Segment – Frequency of usage, ex. travel
- Benefit Segment – Desire for same product benefits, ex. luxury
Not all of these factors will be applicable to your target market. For instance, here at Brilliant Business Moms, a main element of our target market is that they are female (and most likely, moms!), however geography is not really a factor.
In his book The $100 Start Up (affiliate link) Chris Guillebeau helps us to understand our target market by asking, “Who are your people?” Chris found that his target market didn't fit into a traditional demographic segment. Instead, they were people of all types, with the common thread of wanting to live their life unconventionally. They were big dreamers who wanted to make a difference.
So what about you? How can you define your target market? Lets brainstorm and come up with a nice long list of possibilities. Start out by just thinking about what makes sense to you. What type of person would want what you have to offer? It might even help to write out a persona about who this person is, and what they might be like. Dig in deeper and actually think of a person you know that you think would be part of your target market, and ask them questions about themselves. Write down anything that you learn or anything that comes to mind.
If you are already in business, you may not realize that you already have some data on your target market. If you are an Etsy shop owner, take a look at your past customers, your convos, and your reviews. Is there a demographic or geographic trend among your customers? In your reviews, do people mention how they used your product, what event it was for, or if they gave it as a gift to someone? Comb through past communications with customers, and jot down things they mention. You may begin to see a pattern you hadn't realized was there.
If you are a blogger, you can do something similar. Take a look at comments that people have left on your website or on social media. Begin to jot down things you glean from their comments and communications, and look for patterns there. Use all of this information to define your target market.
If you already have an audience, conducting a short survey to learn more about them can be extremely helpful. Take that opportunity to learn who they are as people, what their values are, what their struggles are.
Are you a member of your own target market? Chances are you might be! Write down your own values, demographics, lifestyle choices, and more.
Now that you have quite a long list of thoughts and data, begin to look for patterns and trends. Circle the items on your list that keep popping up. These items define your target market.
There's one other point to consider. Your product may be for a certain target market, but it may be purchased by another set of people entirely. For instance, if you sell something for children, it's almost as though you have two target markets to consider: the children who will use your product and the parents and grandparents who will buy it. The same holds true for an item that is most often purchased as a gift. In these instances, keep both target markets in mind during the product creation phase and the marketing phase.
Defining your target market is not a static process, it may take refining as you learn more along the way. For instance, in Episode 48, Melissa Kaiserman initially thought that her target market would be other very thrifty people like herself. She advertised on frugal-living blogs, but that didn't pan out very well. When she advertised on organizing blogs and began to see results, she knew she was onto something. Her target market was a little different than she initially thought, and so she tweaked her vision.
If you have multiple products, your target market may be slightly different for each product.
Fizzle (affiliate link) put out a great resource for defining your target market but also for determining new product ideas based off of your target market. This is a free resource you'll receive by signing up for their blog newsletter.
Use those little gray cells of yours, pay attention, and define your target market. Describe this person in writing and use it to help guide your marketing and product development decisions. When you do, we want to hear about it! Let's chat in the comments!