Let's Talk Business - Identifying Your Target Market with Noisette Academy - Week 6

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

{editor's note: So thrilled to have Isa from Noisette Academy with us today! She shares her valuable insights on how to identify your target market - a topic that comes up again & again in small business discussions. Isa has years of experience in PR and marketing, offering brilliant services and e-courses for creatives. Yay!}
{image courtesy natalie martin}

Identifying your target market- a step by step approach
Knowing your true target market is one of the most important things you need to know for your business, yet it is the one that most people struggle with. If you get your target market wrong you’ll find sales slow and your marketing efforts will be ineffective no matter how much work you put into it.
Your target market is made up of the people you are aiming your products to. They are the consumers most likely to buy what you are offering so it makes sense to raise awareness of your brand to these people in particular.
Finding the right target market can be tricky as most people immediately think of the largest group of people to aim to.
Example: If you are making baby shoes then you might aim at Mothers who buy the shoes.
This is a great starting point but you need to look further into what you are offering and what benefits it has for the customer.

Step One. Consider your product.
What is unique about it? How is it special or different from what is already out there?
Example: Your beautiful handmade baby shoes are made from your pattern with your own handprinted organic fabric. Your competitors use standard shop bought fabric and use a pattern from a popular sewing book. When babies wear your shoes they stand out from their little friends.
By considering what your product has to offer and the benefits your potential customers can get from using it you will have an idea of who will want it. You will need to look at your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and analyse where your product fits into the marketplace. You can do this by looking at your competition to see what strengths and weaknesses their products have in relation to yours.

Step Two. Who will this appeal to?
Once you know what makes your products special you need to delve deeper into who this will appeal to.
Example: You are targeting mothers as your research indicates that they are most likely to buy the majority of their child’s shoes. You specifically want to appeal to Mothers who want wonderfully soft baby shoes, that are kind to the skin, natural and feature fun, unique prints. 

Step Three. Narrow it down even further
The next step is to narrow it down further in a way that is more specific. Keeping your target market too broad is like aimlessly throwing food for the ducks. Some will get it if it lands close enough, others will swim through lots of water to get to it and others will just ignore it thinking it’s not for them! You may still sell some products even if your target market isn’t clear enough but it is unlikely to be enough to make a decent living.
Here I’d recommend you look at other factors that might impact on whether someone buys from you including pricing, type of materials, location and life experiences. Each one of these impacts on the reasons why people may or may not want to buy your products.
Example: You are charging a premium price for your baby shoes compared to your competitors because they are all using a similar baby shoe pattern and shop bought fabric. Your shoes are different because your fabric is organic, handprinted and you drafted the pattern yourself. Your customers understand the value in your product and don’t mind paying extra when your shoes are so different to the others out there.

Step Four. Your ideal customer
An effective way to discover more about your target market is to create a customer profile. Imagining one ideal person primed and ready to buy your product makes it easier to find more people like them. You will be able to look at commonalities they have with others in the same mindset. Are they a certain age? How many children does she have? Is she working? What does she like to do in her spare time, exercise, gardening, photography?
Example:  The customer profile for the Mother you are aiming your baby shoes to is 35, has one child, she is working full-time and loves running. She took six months off for maternity leave but is now back at work and missing spending time with her baby during in the day. She often buys baby clothes and shoes on the internet during her lunch break.
Customer surveys and social media can help you find out more about the people interested in your products. Twitter is great for this as you will already have a potential customer base to draw information from. Look at the different activities your followers are engaging in. What they are linking to? This will give you an idea of their likes or dislikes and even which blogs they read. Try to do this naturally though without being a stalker! The point of social media is to interact, listen to what others are saying and respond to them. You can do this whilst also being aware of who you’re talking to and who is responding to what you are tweeting. 

Step Five. Create a marketing message that speaks to them.
By now you should have lots of information about the people you are targeting. Next you need to discover their reasons for buying your product. We already know what the benefits are but we also need to know what emotional needs your product fulfils. Do they want to look stylish, create a certain image, attract a partner or express their personality?
Example: Your ideal customer wishes she was with her child instead of having to go to work. She sometimes feels guilty that her child is at daycare and she feels like she is losing some control over what her child wears during the day. To counteract this she will spend hours surfing the internet browsing baby and parenting blogs and buying baby clothes and shoes.
Your baby shoes are perfect for this Mother because they look unique and they are still kind to the child’s baby soft skin. They cost more than average which reinforces in your potential customer’s mind that they are special. You can go on to market them as “a truly special purchase that your child will love as much as you do.”
Now you understand who you are marketing towards, it’s time to roll out your message consistently in all you do. Make sure your branding, packaging, twitter updates, advertising all concentrate on your ideal client, what they want to know about your product and what would convince them to buy.

What are your thoughts on finding a target market? Share your questions and concerns in the comments and we can discuss this more! You can also connect more with IsaFacebook, Twitter