Knowing and understanding your clients is one of the most important parts of starting your business. With a deep understanding of who they are, what they want, and what they need, you’ll easily create products or services that are laser-focused on solving your clients’ problems.
It Starts with Your Target Market
No matter what type of business you start, you’re going to need a target market. A target market is a group of clients most likely to buy your products or services. This group of people has similar characteristics and pain points (things that keep them up at night).
Your Target Market will be defined by –
- Demographics: (gender, age, income level, education level, marital status, and other aspects of their life)
- Geographic: what city, state, the town they live in
- Psychographic: having similar internal attitudes and values
- Generation: baby boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, etc.
- Cohort: sharing similar experiences like being raised in a big city, going to a big music festival, or kicking depression in the ass and other.
- Life Stage: post-college, midlife, newly married, etc.
- Behavioral: they get their nails done, read, take road trips, etc.
Why do I need to be so laser focused?
In marketing, there is no in between. You either hit or miss. If you don’t target your market, you waste your advertising dollars broadcasting your message to the wrong people.
In a world of infinite choices, when you see something that is not directly for you, you close the door and move on.~ Ramit Sethi
Trying to market to everyone is basically like trying to make everyone happy when you’re planning a wedding and we both know that never happens. There’s always that one crazy Aunt Sara that, no matter who you sit her with at the reception, feed her, or what color the bridesmaid dresses are, she’s will always have something negative to say that will make you want to throat punch her… I digress. Anyway, if you try to reach everyone, you’ll be speaking to a lot of people who have absolutely no interest in your product or service. They’ll just tune you out and you’ll waste a bunch of time and money.
How do I find my target market?
Market research gives you a clear picture of your target market so that you can create and grow a business that helps them. There are a few ways to conduct your market research. As your business grows you will need to dig into it in a deeper way in order to get the best results. For now, I’m going to share a few things that helped me when I first started out.
This can be a great method of collecting information on your target audience’s pain points (what keeps them up at night). In market research for a solopreneur, free public questions from your audience are hard to beat.
Because Redditors are typically anonymous, they are usually willing to share things they wouldn’t normally talk about in person. Reading discussion threads or even asking questions yourself can help you get insights from specific niches.
When you need to do market research on a tight budget, you need to get creative. Book reviews offer tons of great information, sometimes incredibly detailed and specific, that few people are taking advantage of.
When you’re using Facebook groups for market research, you have a few options. Just reading through existing conversations is a great way to get started. Even though names on Facebook aren’t private, people are often more willing to share their goals or frustrations within a relatively private group. If you are comfortable in the group, you can ask the group members (with the permission of the admin) if they would be willing to answer some questions interview style or in a survey. Whatever floats your boat.
Other’s in Your Space
How are others in your space (let’s call them competitors cause there ain’t nothing wrong with a little healthy competition) trying to appeal to your target market? What are they doing well that you can do too, what are they not doing that you can, or not doing well that you can improve on?
When I first started, and even still today, my target market was based on an ideal client avatar that looked very much like me. I like doing business with other women who share similar interest, values, desires and pain points as me. I’m pretty freaking cool.
What’s the Point of all this Research?
The point of market research is to help you get a comprehensive picture of your target market. With this information you collect, you can create a profile (or avatar) of an imaginary person who is your perfect client. This is the client that will buy all the things, be your biggest brand ambassador, and love on you when the hater come out to play.
Here are some things to think about as you create your Ideal Client Avatar:
Am I supposed to making things up? Nope. You should be researching your market to learn about your ideal client.
Don’t have a market yet? Take a look at the clients of others who are successfully doing what you want to do.
Can’t find what you are looking for in your research. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and imagine life from their perspective.
Make notes from your research – this is valuable information that you will definitely use later.
Is there a market for my product or service? What I want to do is unique. I don’t doubt that it is. However, there is someone out there doing something (even a tiny bit) similar to what you want to do. That’s a great place to start.
How do I target just one person? My product or service can help everyone.
Yep, I get that. However, you won’t appeal to everyone (remember Aunt Sara).