“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

Bill Cosby

Every product/service has its ideal target market. If you try and please everybody? You may end up pleasing nobody. Target markets are important because they shape the way we do our business, influence the way we create our product/service, what language we use to describe our product/service, how we market/advertise, where we reach out, our price point and possibly our hours of operation! Target markets really influence the way we do business which is why it’s important to know them as well as you possibly can. That being said; the group you are targeting may change from time to time, season to season, campaign to campaign-and that’s fine- the important thing is that you know who you are talking to at all times or your efforts may fall flat.

MARKET RESEARCH

This is a really fun activity for me- it’s a ‘target market brainstorm bubble’. You may or may not have done one before, maybe you call it by another name- I am going to show you how I break down my target market initially to get to know them superficially. This is just a quick example- the bubbles could go on & on depending how in depth you want to go.

For this example, pretend I have shoe insoles tailored to benefit senior citizens so I want to get a better grasp of their day-to-day.

Click the diagram below to enlarge it.

So that’s how I get the initial stereotypical information. Now to take it one step further, you reach out to get the facts. It helps if you have a budget (or employees to help) but it isn’t necessary, it just takes time.

  1. Online: Search Engines, census bureaus, analytics, social media insights- all of this information can help guide you in the right direction.
  2. Surveys: You can send out online surveys to your potential market (I will cover how to create a successful survey on another blog- it needs its own day) using free sites such as ‘survey monkey’ or if you already have an email marketing package you can add on surveys with your provider. If you want to research for the future- you can include a website link on your invoices/receipts and offer something in return for their participation in your survey.
  3. Cold Calling: If you don’t know what this is, it’s when you pick up the phone book or filter an area online and conduct a survey over the phone. You will probably get hung up on… a lot… but you never know!
  4. Face-to-Face: You can approach people on the street and ask them for their opinions. Old school guerilla style. (You will notice throughout my blog that I am a big fan of guerilla marketing for small businesses). Perhaps you can have a company coupon or giveaway in exchange for their time. You have to have a thick skin for this one.
  5. Mail Outs: This is where a budget really comes in- rather than cold calling, online or in person- you MAIL your survey with a paid return to your audience in hopes that they will complete it and return it. I am not a huge fan of this tactic- I think it’s a long shot.
  6. Publications: You may be able to find information which may track demographics, sales information, trends and other customer information.

What can you add? As always I urge you to participate in the comments section below!

-Crystal Lengua-

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