7 Ways to Get to Know Your Target Market

March 03, 2020

What is a Target Market, exactly?

Hint: It’s not a list of people who shop at Target.

Your business’s target market is simply the people you’d like to sell to. While it’s tempting to say, “That list includes everyone everywhere,” the reality is you can invest your marketing time and budget more wisely by narrowing down your target market from #EveryoneEver to one or more groups of people who share similar interests and shopping habits.

Read on for 7 tips on how to research your target market, in order to make smarter decisions that will attract more customers to your business.

  1. Scope Out the Competition.  Pinpoint a business that shares at least one of your target market segments. Visit their Facebook page, website, and other social media channels. Pay attention to their advertising in print, on the radio, television, and online. Take a tour of their store. View everything you see through the lens of the specific target market you are researching. What words, colors, images, moods, and concepts does your competitor use to engage this target market? How do they solve problems for the customer? Do they offer customer testimonials or reviews? How does their pricing strategy differ from yours? Are their displays engaging for the target customer?
  2. Interview Your Target Market.  If you’ve never done this before, getting started can feel intimidating; don’t let that stop you! If you can hold a casual conversation, you can interview members of your target market. Once you’ve defined who your target market is (remember — you probably have more than one Target Market group), talk to family, friends, neighbors, and actual customers in your store. Say something like, “We’re trying to get to know our customers better. May I ask you a few questions?” Ask when and why they shop, who or what they most often shop for, where they encounter advertising and what they do or don’t like about the ads they see online, in print, or elsewhere. Ask, “Who is the toughest person on your list to shop for, and why?” Make a list of questions that can help you get to know your target market. Don’t ask 20 questions — just pick one or two and take mental notes about their response. Keep track of what you learn in a notebook or a file on your laptop.
  3. Join Online Groups and Forums.  Try the platform Quora for asking questions related to your target market. Visit websites or Facebook groups your target market would frequently, and pay attention to the comments and chat. Feel free to participate by asking or answering questions of your own, or follow existing threads of conversation. People want to be heard, and with a little effort, you can uncover where your target customers are spending time, and get to know what they are talking about, what concerns they have about your products, how to meet their needs, and even what type of marketing will be most effective for them.
  4. Conduct Research.  If you really want to size up your target market, look at the numbers. Government statistics, like those from the US Census Bureau, are a great place to start. Visit your local chamber of commerce for information and statistics pertaining to your area. Another option is to simply google “statistics about ______,” filling in pertinent info about your target market. If you know a particular age range or gender of shoppers is a frequent customer of your store, this could be your starting point.
  5. Dig Into Your Social Media Stats.  You don’t have to be a tech guru to mine valuable information from your company’s website or social media pages. Consider Google Analytics for your web page, spend time looking at Audience Insights for your Facebook page, and explore the dashboards of every social platform your company is part of. Start with one platform, learn everything you can about how your audience behaves online, and apply that to your marketing plans.
  6. Send an Email Survey.  You can build a free survey through Survey Monkey and other online tools, but you can also just send an email with one or more questions that will provide insight into your customers’ needs and habits. Consider offering a coupon or random drawing for participants, keep it brief, and treat the information you gather like gold! Repeat the survey a week or two later if you need to gather more responses, then study and apply what you learn.
  7. Learn About Keywords.  An SEO keyword research tool can give you valuable insight into your target market. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the act of maximizing the traffic to your website (and hopefully your store!) by finding out which keywords people are searching for online, then using those words on your website and in your marketing. Read the Moz Beginner’s Guide to SEO here. If a member of your team is web savvy and wants to take SEO optimization on for your business, take advantage of that talent and give them time each week to focus on this aspect of your business. There is money to be made in the SEO game, and it’s worth learning more, and spending time on this topic.

When it comes to marketing your business, you can always throw something at the wall and see what sticks. Chances are, you will even see a certain amount of success with this method.

Option B is to take your efforts a step further, conducting casual research that helps you get to know your customers, and leads to the kind of informed decision making that nets more sales for your marketing dollar.

If you’re willing to invest a little time in getting to know segments of your target market, the reward will be more effective marketing, new lead generation, and customers who shop more often and leave your store more satisfied than ever before.

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