Over the lifespan of the Argon Journal, we’ve dropped the lines ‘target market’ and ‘target audience’ more times than we’re likely to remember. Whether they’re mentioned in relation to planning a website, repositioning your brand or reevaluating your unique selling proposition, knowing your ideal audience helps establish a direct marketing plan. Every company should ask themselves “who is my target market?”
A target market, or audience, is the pool of customers to who are most likely to purchase your products or services.
Some businesses avoid the question altogether and decide to ‘target everybody’. This strategy should be approached with extreme caution. While it may seem logical to ‘cast the biggest net to catch the most fish’, it is by no means the most efficient method. Not only will you capture a load of old boots, but the costs are inflated, not to mention it’s more likely that your ideal clients could slip through the net.
Many business owners grow anxious when focusing on specific markets; worried that missed demographics will become alienated. This is most certainly not the case. Instead, targeted campaigns redirect the marketing budget toward consumers that are more likely to respond to the exposure.
So the question remains, “how do you identify your target market?” Here are 3 simple steps to discovering your ideal clients.
Identify your strengths and services.
Firstly, record the problems that you solve for the consumer. Do you manage schedules? Build relationships? Maintain health and wellbeing for your patients? Basically, what positive outcomes will your clients have after using your business? Compile a list of each of your services or products, next to their corresponding benefits.
From this list, you can work out which people, in which demographics, need help in your specialty areas.
Identify your current client base.
Secondly, review your current client base. Are there shared characteristics, interests or industries amongst your clientele? Search for any similarities; obvious or otherwise. Do any patterns appear amongst their attributes? If your customers are diverse, it might help to break them down further into different categories; by age, area or issue.
It’s likely there are other similarly-positioned people in the community that could benefit from your product or services.
Identify your competition’s clients.
Thirdly, research your competitor’s current audience. Examine their online presence, whether it’s via their website or social media accounts. You could even cheekily sign up for their email newsletter. Get a feel for whom their messages are directed. Do they match your target market? If so, you may learn some lessons from their delivery. If not, find and establish a unique selling proposition away from their client base; you may find a niche or service they’ve overlooked.
Next steps: Immerse, evaluate and implement.
By now you should have quite the list going; time to break down the important demographic attributes. Factors such as age, gender, location, income, education, background and profession will help you identify key target markets for your business.
However, identifying your target market is not the same as understanding them. You need to immerse yourself in their ‘world’. Engage with them on social media. Attend conferences or networking meetings they frequent. Learn how they interact with other businesses. Understand what is important to them. Websites like Quantcast are perfect for tracking online demographic trends from Adelaide, Australia and around the world.
So now you have all the relevant information, it’s time to evaluate your findings. Questions like “are there enough potential clients who fit my criteria?”, “can they afford my product/services?” and “how accessible are they to my business?” should all be considered before pushing onto the next stage. If there are too many red flags, reassess your criteria.
Now that the heavy lifting is complete, it’s time to implement your hard-earned research. Tweaking your brand and running targeted campaigns can now be done with confidence knowing that your message will be directed toward your core demographic.