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As a small business owner, you probably have a general idea of who makes up your customer base, but vague ideas aren’t enough in today’s competitive marketplace. Without delving into the demographic details, you’re basically marketing to everyone and anyone, and this “strategy” could mean wasting your advertising spend and missing opportunities to increase sales.

Choose the Right Target Market for Your Small Business

The Difference Between a Target Audience and a Target Market

Think of it this way: your target market is the group of people who could benefit from your product or service. The target audience are the people you’re selling to.
Take this video’s example of selling children’s books. The target market is kids aged 4 to 10, but the target audience branches out to include parents and grandparents of young children, elementary schools, school teachers, and libraries.    
Target marketing aims to connect with a group of consumers most likely to purchase what you have to offer based on demographics, past buying history, and other data.

The Paradox of Narrowing Your Target Market

If you send your spouse out to the grocery store to simply buy food, he or she might come back with loads of bags filled with things you don’t need or won’t eat. This is obviously a waste of time and money. But if you send your spouse with a specific list of ingredients, he or she will come back with the right groceries. No time or money will have been wasted, and you, the cook, will be able to do your job efficiently.
Being specific is also relevant in marketing. Many new business owners or entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that their product or service is great for everybody, but that’s just not so. Not to mention that marketing to senior citizens versus Millennials, for example, can change what language you use (how many grandparents know the term “on fleek”?), where you advertise, and how you position your product.
Defining your target market will allow you to concentrate your resources on the group or groups of people that are most likely to buy from you.

Gather Your Target Market Information

The first step is to gather data. You won’t be able to accurately choose the right market for your product without some basic research. Here’s how to get started:

Look at Your Site’s Analytics

Using Google Analytics, you’ll easily be able to discover your site visitors’ age group and gender, what other websites they came from, which keywords they typed into search engines to find you, and how much time they spent on your web pages.

Interview Customers

The easiest way to find out more about your target market, is to simply ask your customers about themselves. Do this in person, on the phone, through email, or via surveys and polls on your social media sites. If you have forms on your website, make sure to use specific mandatory fields such as age or company size or job title.

Ask Your Sales Reps

You can also discover a lot of this information from your sales team. Which leads are they closing deals with? What kinds of questions do they hear most often from potential customers?

Look at Your Competition

Take a look at your competitors’ websites, social media posts, and ads. Who are they targeting? And, just as importantly, who are they not targeting (that you could)?

Develop Buyer Personas

Now that you’ve gathered the data, you can get even more clarity on your target market by creating 3 to 5 “buyer personas” for your small business. A buyer persona is simply a description of your ideal customer in as much relevant detail as possible, such as:

  • age
  • gender
  • marital status
  • children
  • income
  • occupation
  • geographic location
  • hobbies
  • goals
  • challenges
  • how your product or service can help

Use these criteria to create at least three profiles of your target customers. For example, if you own a baby clothing store, then your demographic profile might be married women between 25 and 40 years of age who are pregnant. If you are a luxury store, your target customer’s income level will be higher. If you’re a brick-and-mortar store, the geographic location might be within ten miles of your store.
Once your know this, you’ll know where to extend your marketing. Rather putting ads everywhere, you can focus on targeted social ads, Google AdWords, or advertising with other similar businesses.
Buffer, a company that creates software to help companies manage their social media platforms, developed this buyer persona for themselves:
HubSpot has some fantastic free templates for creating buyer personas for your business available to download.
Remember, the more you’ve defined your target market, the more successful you will be with your marketing efforts. Choosing your target market revolves around investing the time to really get to know who you want to do business with before you launch an ad campaign or start trying to woo people to your website.
If you need more help creating your first few personas, feel free to reach out to our dedicated WordPress web hosting team for more information. Remember, the hosting partner you choose is as important as connecting with the right target market.

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