The success of your business depends on making sales. Marketing is a way of communicating with your target market so they (your customers) will buy your products and/or services. It is a necessary element of business because a constant marketing effort is required to establish, stabilize and grow a successful business. If your customers see value in your product or service, then you will not only increase your existing customer base, but they will tell their friends about the quality of your products or services and thus, you will gain new customers.
Now, are enough people buying from you? Furthermore, are you reaching the right customer? A key element in making this all work for your small business is understanding YOUR target market.
So, what’s so important about target market?
A target market is defined as market segment in which a product or service is marketed to. It is often defined by age, gender and/or socio-economic group. With the current state of the economy, it is imperative to use your marketing dollars wisely. It is unpractical to try to satisfy the entire market, not to mention a waste of time and money.
By defining your target market, you are ensuring the success of your small business! If you decide not to, then it can prevent you from reaching objectives, such as:
- increased sales
- brand awareness
- market share
Often, I consult with clients who after talking to them, I find that they have not considered who their customers are. Most of them want to sell their products or services to any and everybody who will buy from them. I explain to them that they cannot be everything to everybody, it just won’t work! Imagine having to create a marketing campaign to attract a dozen or so industries. You would have to because one shoe does not fit all!
4 Ways to Identify Your Target Market:
- Demographics: The age, gender, income, family composition and size, occupation, and education of your customers.
- Geographic: The location, size of the area, density, and climate zone of your customers.
- Behaviors: The needs they seek to fulfill the level of knowledge, information sources, attitude, use or response to a product of your customers.
- Psychographics: The general personality, behavior, life-style, rate of use, repetition of need, benefits sought, and loyalty characteristics of your customers
Research, Research, Research
Yes, this takes time and effort but it is an important part in determining the who, what, where and why of your sales target. Oh, don’t think this is a one-time thing, you will need to revisit and research regularly. If you don’t stay in the forefront on what’s happening to the size and structure of your market, you’ll lose touch with your existing customers and miss chances to attract new ones.
To identify your ideal client, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you know who your customers will be?
- Do you understand their needs and desires?
- Do you know where they live?
- Will you be offering the kind of products or services that they will buy?
- Will your prices be competitive in quality and value?
- Will your promotional program be effective?
- Do you understand how your business compares with your competitors?
- Will your business be conveniently located for the people you plan to serve?
Develop a Client Profile
Most small business owners skip this very important first step in the selling process. Often, this is due to believing that ‘everyone’ is their customer. Once they realize that they need to define their target market, the questions above play a critical part in setting up their client profile. Because circumstances change without warning, you might have to tweak or change from time to time, but it’s common!
The bottom line is that business owners MUST identify their target markets because without a clearly formed definition of your target market, you risk spending precious resources such as time and money on advertising and marketing that will not provide a good number of leads and help you get a good return on your investment (ROI).
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Sylvia Browder is CEO of Browder Consulting Group, a virtual small business consulting and coaching firm. She is currently employed as a Project Director, business coach and consultant for the Women’s Business Center, Inc., a non-profit economic development organization with a mission of empowering women to start and grow successful businesses. She also serves as a volunteer SCORE counselor, an organization dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide. She is also a Technical Assistant Provider for SBA’s Community Express Loan Program. For FREE weekly articles go to Sylvia Browder’s Blog for Women Entrepreneur’s, www.sylviabrowder.com. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org..
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