Defining your target market is a key factor for a successful marketing plan. It’s the foundation of all elements of your marketing strategy, from how you develop and name your products or services right through to the marketing channels you use to promote them. The better you understand your target market, the better you’ll be able to target them (with relevant content, messaging, and ads).
But what does “Target Market” actually mean?
The Definition of Target Market
A target market is the specific group of people you want to reach with your marketing message. They are the people who are most likely to buy your products or services, and they are united by some common characteristics, like behaviors, location, genre, activity, etc.
But how do you define your target audience in the first place? Let’s take a little look.
What do You need To Create A Buyer Persona?
If you want to create an effective buyer persona, you need to go into detail and combine multiple characteristics to really get to know your target customer.
In most cases, one buyer persona won’t be enough, because the majority of companies work with multiple types of customer.
At the same time, developing too many different buyer personas can force you to take the eye off the ball and get lost on the way to your perfect audience.
So, here are 8 easy steps to create your perfect customer persona and conduct your audience research:
1.Compile data on your current customers
Gather whatever information you do have about your existing customers into a database you can use to track trends and averages. Some data points you might want to consider are:
- Age: You don’t need to get too specific here. It won’t likely make a difference whether your average customer is 24 or 27. But knowing which decade of life your customers are in, or their generation can be very useful.
- Location (and time zone): Where in the world do your existing customers live? In addition to understanding which geographic areas to target, this helps you figure out what hours are most important for your customer service and sales reps to be online, and when you should schedule your social ads and posts to ensure the best visibility.
- Language: Don’t assume your customers speak the same language you do. And don’t assume they speak the dominant language of their (or your) current physical location.
- Spending power and patterns: How much money do your current customers have to spend? How do they approach purchases in your price category? Do they have specific financial concerns or preferences you need to address?
- Interests: What do your customers like to do, besides using your products or services? What TV shows do they watch? What other businesses do they interact with?
- Stage of life: Are your customers likely to be college students? New parents? Parents of teens? Retirees?
2.Learn The Needs, Wants And Pain Points Of Your Target Audience
“So, get to know your customers. Humanize them. Humanize yourself. It’s worth it.”
This is probably the most important step when you want to identify your target audience.
Of course, it’s hard to get a solid idea of what those pain points might be until you’ve started to narrow down who you’re trying to reach. Picking up these pain points and being able to position your product as a solution will ensure that people are more than happy to spend their money with you.
3. Look to the website and social media analytics
So, how to get all of this audience research information?
Social media analytics can be a great way of getting more details significant for your customer analysis. They can also help you understand audience interaction with your social accounts, even if people are not yet customers.
Facebook Audience Insights can provide some really in-depth information about your existing Facebook audience, including what other Facebook pages they like and what kinds of devices they use. Also, check out other social profiles insights to get the bigger picture.
4. Check out the competition
Taking a look at what your competitors are up to can help you answer some key questions: Are your competitors going after the same market segments as you are? Are they reaching segments you hadn’t thought to consider? How are they positioning themselves?
You can then take these learnings and apply them to your own marketing efforts and essentially learn for free without having to make the cash investment to run marketing campaigns that aren’t going anywhere as your competitors did.
5. Analyze your product/service.
How does your product make someone’s life easier, or better, or just more interesting?
Write out a list of each feature of your product or service. Next to each feature, list the benefits it provides (and the benefits of those benefits).
Features are what your product is or does.
Benefits are the results.
For instance, a graphic designer offers high-quality design services. The benefit is a professional company image.
If you’re not sure exactly how customers benefit from using your products, why not ask them? You might find that people are getting creative and using your products or services for purposes you haven’t even thought of. That might, in turn, change the perception of your target audience for potential sales.
6.Create a target market statement
When creating your target market statement, try to incorporate the most important demographic and behavior characteristics you’ve identified. For example:
Our target market is [gender] aged [age range], who live in [place or type of place], and like to [activity].
Don’t feel like you need to stick to these particular identifiers. The key point here is to boil all of your research down into one simple statement that can guide your marketing efforts.
If you offer multiple products or services, you might need to create a target market statement for each product or each product category.
7. Create Social Media Ads for your Target Market
The first step is to create social ads specifically targeted to the exact market you have just defined.
Once you're happy with your ad, it’s time to start using the social tools to reach out to your defined target audience.
First, you’ll need to decide which social channels you should use. Take a look at demographics information for each social network to get a sense of which ones might best suit you to reach the target demographic you’ve identified.
Track the performance of your ads to see what kind of measurable results you achieve.
8.Review your audience research as needed
The results of your test may provide the further insight you didn’t have when you first created your target market statement. Be sure to incorporate any lessons you learn, and examine your target market statement regularly to make sure it still precisely describes your most valuable potential customers.
Make sure you stay updated with your target market definition as your products and services evolve, and as your audience changes over time.