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When it comes to your business one of the first things you should look at is who you are trying reach. This is otherwise known as your target audience. A target audience is defined as 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 demographics and behaviors. No one, neither small businesses nor large businesses, can afford to target everyone, and even if they could it would not help the company in any way.

 

In order to remain competitive in the market, you need to direct your business and its services to a niche audience. Many businesses say they target anyone interested in their services, including small-business owners, homeowners or stay-at-home moms. All of these targets though are far too general. By focusing your attention on finding your specific target audience, you can use your marketing dollars and brand message on a niche market that is more likely to buy from you than other more general markets. This is a much more affordable and effective way to reach potential clients and generate business. Below, are easy steps to help you to define your target audience.


Look at your current customers

The most efficient way to  gain insight as to who to target is by looking at who is already buying your products and services. Once you understand the defining characteristics of your existing customer base, you can extend your outreach to more people who fit the same mold. Depending on how much information you have regarding your clients, you can compile the trends and averages into a database to get an idea of who you should be targeting.

Some information that is important to look at when examining your current customers is age, location, language, spending patterns, interests and stage of life. These factors will help you to narrow your audience down and give you a more specific target market. The information you should collect if you are selling B2B products may be different, though. Instead you would want to collect information regarding the size of the business you buy from, as well as information about the titles of the people who usually make the buying decisions.

Look at the psychographics of your customers

 

Besides strictly focusing on the demographics of your customers and clients, you also can look at the psychographics of current customers to give you added information. These are more personal characteristics such as personality, attitudes, behavior and interests. By gathering data regarding these aspects of your target audience, you can determine how your product or service will fit into your target audience's lifestyle, when your target audience will use the product, what features are most appealing to your target audience and what media your target audience turns to for information.

Analyze your product or service

When looking at the product or service you are offering, you should make a list of all of all the benefits it provides. It is important to understand the difference between features and benefits when creating this list. A features list allows you to go on forever explaining what the product is and what it does, but no one will be convinced to buy it from you unless you explain the benefits of the product or service. Benefits are how the product or service will impact a person’s life by making it easier or better. The list of benefits you create will provide a some basic information about the demographic you are trying to attract.

For example, if your company has a service that provides families with qualified nannies, your target demographic would be families with young children. If you’re not sure exactly how your customers would benefit from using your products, you can always ask them. You might find that people are getting creative and using your products or services for purposes you may not have even thought of. This could possibly change how you evaluate your target audience for future products or services as well. You can go about finding this information through focus groups, online surveys or social media channels.

Evaluate your information and create a target market statement

Once you have gathered all of your information and research regarding past customers and your product/service, you can combine everything you have discovered into a simple, but purposeful, statement. This is your target market statement, and it can be created by trying to incorporate the most important demographic and behavior characteristics you’ve identified. This does not mean though that you have to use every bit of information you have gathered, because some of it may not pertain to your product or service. Gender may be irrelevant for your target customer, but you could have three specific behaviors to incorporate in your statement. The key to making your target statement is to combine all of your research into one simple statement that can guide your marketing efforts.

Finding your target audience is just one important component of a larger marketing strategy process. At Inner Spark, we offer a marketing plan process, in which we uncover where a client’s products or services are in their life-cycle and gain insight on their customers’ wants, needs, buying triggers, and the messages that resonate with each target, stakeholder, and influencer. Through this marketing strategy process we can help you to create a road map plan that not only outlines target audiences, but also focuses on referral sources, messages, and the marketing paths. If you are in need of guidance to define your target audience and create a marketing plan, contact us at (334) 826-7502.

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