So you have embarked on your journey to define your business’ target audience. Congratulations! This is a crucial step that you will need to go through to ensure successful marketing campaigns later on. Let’s start with some basics that can help you with your business branding.
What does ‘Target Market’ or ‘Target Audience’ Mean?
Your target market is the group of individuals, consumers or organizations that will be purchasing from you. Basically, it’s your clients and customers. Every business will have their own target market, regardless of how wide or niche. Since your target is the group that will be purchasing from you, it will make sense for you to focus your company’s branding and marketing efforts on this group of people.
Why It’s Important to Define Your Target Audience or Marketing Persona
Your business’ success is defined by how your customers – your target market thinks of you. The more satisfied your customers are, the more the amount of business that will roll in, bringing even more success to you. If you needed more reasons to identify your target market, here are a few that you can keep in mind.
Specific Targeting Messages
Once you have identified your customers, you can tailor your marketing messages to appeal to them better. As an example, the car industry which is dominated by men can use specific marketing text describing the engine type & rim width of the second-hand car that they are selling – information that men – their target market – will typically search for.
Focusing on Your Profit
Would you advertise in a remote area where no one passes? Exactly! Spend your capital where it matters by putting your marketing efforts towards your target market. If you know that young women are the category that is going to purchase your lipsticks, you can spend your marketing budget on females for a better return on investment.
Fewer Worries on Competition
Your company is just starting up, and when you compare your budgets to a highly established company with a similar niche, you will find that the latter can target a very wide audience much more easily. You can’t compete on that large a scale yet, but if you can find your own customer segment, you can focus your services & products better on this specific group, giving you an upper edge in terms of services available.
Research and Defining Your Target Audience
So, we know that defining your target audience is important. To start, you can gather the necessary information needed for some research. Here’s what you need to look into.
Identify the Problems You Solve
You have a product or a service to provide. What needs do they fulfill? Try to think of people who are most likely to use your products and include factors such as their age range, marital status, geographical location, education levels and so on. As an example, 50% of millennial women fresh out of college will spend their discretionary income on clothes twice a month, while only 36% of the women from an older generation, usually married with children, will do so.
What are the features of your business, products, and services?
Think in the business aspects. The more you can describe your products and services, the clearer the image of your target market that will come to you. As an example, a car dealership could say, “I provide second-hand sedans up for sale at the lowest market rates.” You can deduce that your services are more family-friendly and suitable for lower economic status.
What is the biggest pain point for your customer?
By determining your customers’ biggest pain points, you are showing them that you understand what they are struggling with and that you are genuinely wanting to help solve their problems. One of the best ways is to ask yourself ‘why’ to find out. Why are you providing this business? Why do they need what you’re providing? Why do they want the outcomes that your products provide? So on and so forth.
Where do your customers tend to purchase your products or services?
This step is crucial to find out where is the best area for you to invest your marketing efforts in. Picture this: You’re selling alcoholic beverages. You’re definitely going to get more sales if you distribute your products to bars rather than setting up a stall outside a school You can refer to where your larger-scale competitors tend to set up their businesses and utilize this information.
Know your competitors
Aside from knowing where your competitors are targeting for sales, you need to find out who they are targeting. Do you see their ads around? Which customer segment is the ad most likely to appeal to? Children? Married women? Families with children? College students living in urban areas? The more established a company is, the wider the audience that they target, but there will always be one core target audience that they are targeting more than the rest.
Observe & study your audience
It’s no use if your target market is all based on what you are saying. You can hypothesize that because you’re selling cars, you should appeal to men more; but what if the car appearance appeals more to women instead? Study your audience’s shopping behavior, do surveys, go beyond the usual marketing norms. Remember – the more you know about your audience, the better you can target them! There are also tools to help you understand them better, which we will be discussing later.
Customer Profile & Market Segment
Now, you know how to find your target market. But, how are you going to categorize them? What key information can you derive? How do you segment them further? Here’s a few methods:
Know where your customers are based using their geographic location. Here’s how you can target your customers based on their geographic profile – if you are opening a restaurant, you can target residents staying within a 5-mile radius around it and mail your coupons to all houses within a certain zip code.
This segment includes personal characteristics such as your age, gender, income levels, marital status and more. By using demographic segmentation, you can identify a part of your target market as married, university-educated females between 25-35 with annual income between $30,000 to $40,000. Using this segmentation, you may target this category with a new line of business attires paired with advertising campaigns.
When you target your customers based on a psychographic profile, you are targeting a market segment based on their personalities and lifestyles. You might see plenty of ads for jewelry and branded handbags in magazines tailored towards an upper-class audience, as an example.
This profile analyzes traits such as your customers’ desired product benefits, sensitivity towards prices and brand loyalty. With this profile, you are studying purchasing patterns and any changes that may bring changes to these patterns. Take for instance flower shops that hand out coupons to first-time customers to encourage their second visit, and use loyalty points to maintain customer loyalty.
Tools to Better Understand Your Target Audience
Having read to this point, you are now able to identify your target audience based on the above traits & segmentation. To help you identify who you can target for the segments, you can use the tools below.
If you value statistics and hard facts, statista.com is your best friend. This portal integrates data from over 18,000 sources and 60,000 topics to bring you all the data that you could possibly want onto a single platform. You’ll find that the data provided here are categorized into 21 different market sectors, and some of the data are free for you to access. However, most of the more specific data will require you to have premium access.
Google Trends could be the best platform for you to find out whether or not your topic is trending and where they are more popular. This platform is 100% free, and you can study how much a topic is trending in a certain duration. If you want to find out whether a certain keyword is trending, this is one of the easiest tools you can use!
Facebook Audience Insight
Are you more focused on demographics and behavioural overview? Facebook audience insights will provide you with information about the customer profile of those who are connected to your pages. You’ll be able to know what other types of pages your audience is interested in, whether college graduates make up the highest portion of your page audience. There’s a lot more for you to explore!
Looking for social network monitoring? You can consider this free listening tool – Social Mention. This platform segregates your keyword data into 4 segments: strength, sentiment, passion and reach. You will even be able to find out how many seconds it has been since the last mention of the keyword you’re interested in! Try associating a certain hashtag with your brand, and track how it’s trending on this platform for easy monitoring!
We hope that this article has shed some light on how you can segment your customers and why it’s important to do so. Take some time to go through this stage – it is crucial! Afterward, when you are ready, you can visit the next part of branding – to develop a consistent marketing communication strategy.
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