Whether you’re working out how to market your brand, or you’re launching a new product you need to have a target market in mind. Creating one can be frustrating, or at least I think it can be. For me it means building a character. A whole person who exemplifies the market. From that point I’m not selling something to a demographic. It lets me go back to working in retail and talking to a customer. Everything feel less abstract for me that way.
Imagining a single person to sell to might not work for everyone. Some people work better dealing with the abstract of a demographic. No matter what your market looks like in your head, there’s some things that help you define it. Once you can clearly define your ideal market you can start to refine it to maximise your sales.
Ultimately your market is going to change over time. We’re humans and we misjudge things. As you begin to reach people you’ll see where you went wrong in defining your market. Remember that it’s not set in stone. Take what you learn from this new market and apply it. Your market will refine over time.
Are You Part Of The Market
This is the simplest tip on the list. I also find it a bit underappreciated. If you’re already part of the same demographic then chances are you already know what that demographic wants. Now that doesn’t mean you’re the character that exemplifies your market, but it’s a great place to start from.
If you’re a mountain biker and you’re launching a line of mountain bikes for example. You probably know the usual frustrations with bikes, factor it into your designs. You already know the language of the community, use it in your marketing. Knowing other mountain bikers means you can talk to them when you’re out on your bike. Find out what they want from a company and incorporate it.
Don’t Overlook Details
If you want to build a full picture of your market it’s important not to overlook details. It can be really easy to do but it can have a real detrimental effect. Your target market is going to affect a lot of what you do. From the language you use, to where you market, even where you sell. So when you overlook something you risk a costly mistake. Make sure you understand how certain demographics act in the market, not just what appeals to them. If you don’t know whether something is important, include it and refine the profile later.
Maybe your business is going to specialise in electric bikes aimed towards people with mobility issues. You correctly identify that your target market is going to be on average older. But you overlook that older people tend to be wary of large purchases online. You’ve opted to sell directly to customers online instead of focusing on selling to retailers. As a result your sales are much lower than they could be.
Check Your Socials
Your social media accounts are powerful research tools. Look through your feed, do you know anyone that fits into your target market? What do they talk about most? What other demographics do they fit into? Like a few pages that might be interested in your project. Ask some questions there.
Social media groups are particularly good for finding your market because they’ve already found that market. Not everyone there will fit but you can bet there’s a slice that are just who you’re interested in. By listening to the community you can really start to understand where they’re coming from. People don’t always know what they want, but a lot of people know what they don’t like. What are some of the common complaints. What do they like about certain companies but not others? If no one’s talking about it ask. Be active in the community.
Read Community Forums
Social media is great for fleshing out demographics. But people tend not to be as detailed there as they are on forums. If you really want to see how your target market responds to certain ideas check the forums. Chances are someone has already asked, but if they haven’t then ask yourself. Much like social media become active in the community. Listen to what people want or what they don’t like. Pay attention to their stories.
People have some really great stories in forums. Ways a product helped them, that you might never have thought of. Use that information to open up your target market a little more. You don’t need to change your focus but maybe you can open up a niche people aren’t trying to appeal to often. If you can find a niche like that and appeal to it then you’ve go much less competition. Just make sure the niche isn’t too narrow.
Let Your Competition Do Your Work
I think this is especially helpful for startups. Build on what’s already out there. Find your closest competitor, who are they’re target market? If you work that out you can do two things. First you can use that to lay the groundwork for yourself. Second, you can differentiate.
Your target market is made up of broad strokes and details. Established competitors have already got their target markets. So use that information. Check out their reviews, comments on their content, even the way they market themselves. This gives you their target market. Ask yourself what the broad strokes and details are.
Let’s say you both make road bikes aimed at commuters. Broad stroke demographics are things like urban dwelling, commuter. They market to middle income and mid-twenties. So instead of competing for the same details you can decide to gear your marketing to a higher income bracket and older demographic.
You’ll Get It Wrong
I know I said don’t overlook things, but you will. Something in your ideal market will be off. That’s ok. Allow yourself some flexibility. You might build a profile that’s 85% correct. So you change the remaining 15%. All you really need from the start is detailed groundwork. As your project progresses you’ll change the profile to fit what works best.
Remember that your target market isn’t whoever you want. It’s whoever you’re in the best position to sell to. If you have a strong response from somewhere you weren’t expecting then you’re free to follow it. Maybe it’s an offshoot of your original target and you just need to expand a little.
Use Analytics And Reviews
Always keep a close eye on your analytics. Where are your clicks coming from, what country, what platform, everything. Your analytics give you an objective look at how you’re performing. There’s been times I’ve felt like something was successful until I looked at the analytics and vice versa. It’s important to be able to put ego and doubt aside and accept the reality. Not everything will work so don’t get disheartened and adapt.
Try to get feedback too. If you’re getting a lot of positive feedback from a specific demographic you weren’t expecting then something about what you’re doing speaks to them. Equally if your initial target market isn’t responding at all then you went wrong somewhere. It’s up to you whether you want to adjust your market or your approach but you’ll know something needs to change.
You’re Nearly There
This isn’t an exhaustive list of everything to keep in mind when you’re defining your market. I don’t think that list is really out there. There’s so many variables and always somewhere you could dig into further. All this is, is a few things that have helped me.
If you have a product that you think will sell to a certain group. Or if you want your brand to appeal to certain demographics it’s important to get to know them. You aren’t them. Even when you’re part of the community. So look at who else is selling to them, who they are online, what else they’re interested in. But most importantly use the information you gain to improve their experience, not just buy your stuff.
If you can’t stay flexible you’ll miss out on sales, so don’t define your market and refuse to deviate. If you were wrong about who it appeals to most that’s fine, just learn from it and keep going.
Of course with our design and marketing services you’ll be able to make use of our industry experience.