Understanding your target market

Creative local business owner Tim Button (Buttons Creative) dropped by BizHub to share an important message that he tells all his clients - understand your target market.

What is a target market and why do you do it?

A target market is a group of people you would like to do business with and the most likely to buy your products and services.

You need to target the people that want what you offer and want it now. These people are known as your target market. You need to identify and understand these people and ensure your business caters for their needs.

There is no point wasting time, money and other resources trying to sell a product or a service to those who simply are not interested in what you have to offer. Blanket marketing is very costly and ineffective.

You might start off with a large pool of people - but after drilling down you will find who you would like to do business with - eg easier to deal with, has the money to pay, wants what you are offering.

Defining your target market will help to:

  • strengthen your brand's effectiveness to connect with your existing customers
  • increase client retention rates
  • engage with and convert new prospects.

So, how do you work out who your target market is?

Small businesses generally have a good feel of who their customers are, but here are a few suggestions to make it less “gut feel” and more scientific.

  • Observation
  • Get to know them
  • Survey

You will notice a lot about your customers just by watching them. When do they come to your business, what do they wear, who do they come with and how old are they?

If you operate a gym you will notice that there may be people coming early in the morning and after their session changing into work clothes.

Get to know them
Use all your personal charm and customer service skills and get to know them on a personal level.

By having conversations with your customers, you can find out about them easily and also what they think of your business. It is instant feedback.

Surveys are a good way to reach more customers and you can tabulate your results.

Surveys may be as simple as getting your customers to fill out 10 questions and go in the draw to win a prize. It is about getting to know them better to provide them with better service.

Once you have the data you can start analysing it and looking for patterns.

Are there any trends or groups emerging?

If you ask appropriate questions you will be able to find out what services or products these groups want and how they want to be communicated with (eg. traditional methods versus digital). Do they even have a computer?

In the example of a fitness gym - three target groups may stand out:

  1. "Workers" coming before or after work
  2. "Retirees" using it during the day
  3. "Mums" during school time.

What do you do with it?

Once you have gathered the information, identified groups and their characteristics you will be able to plan appropriate services/products, marketing, advertising and content strategies.

Create personas or avatars. Build stories about your ideal clients and their behaviours based on the research that you have performed.

For example:

  1. Bob goes to the gym before having a shower and catching the train to this city job. He has a mobile phone and likes to keep fit. He likes tips to make the most of his gym workout.
  2. Martha has just recently retired and goes to the gym to maintain her health. She’d like to do more balance and stretch group classes. She doesn’t have a computer so she likes getting information at the reception area.
  3. Betty has just had a baby and wants to return to some form of exercise. She also sees going to the gym as a social outing. She’d like tips to lose weight, healthy recipes and to get trim again.

Start building a database of your customers and continue getting to know them.

You can also use your existing clients to lever their contacts to grow your potential customer base.

Remember to keep your current customers happy by giving them what they want so that they will keep coming back!

Meet the Business

Tim Button - Buttons CreativeButtons Creative assists small businesses communicate their message to their customers using marketing know-how via a mix of marketing, advertising, graphic design and content creation.

They offer a free 45 minute strategy meeting so you can see how Buttons Creative can assist your business.

Visit www.buttonscreative.com.au to find out more.