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The target market: what is it and how can you define it

Everyone is not your market. This is a phrase often stated when people talk about a market. A market is a group of people who have the buying potential to purchase your service or product. But if you try to market to everyone you will spend a lot of time and money on your marketing and get very little return on your investment.

Here is how to target a market that has the buying power and the desire to purchase a product or service from you.

The first step is to understand what elements of a market to consider. There are two segments in a market to look at:

Demographic segmentation

  • These elements are easy to measure. They have specific values attached to them. They are:
    • Gender
    • Age
    • Location
    • Income level
    • Marital status
    • Education
    • Race
    • Religion

Psychographic segmentation

  • These elements are more difficult to clearly define but are important as they will help you to connect on a more human level with your target market. The elements in this segmentation are:
    • Personality
    • Attitude
    • Values
    • Hobbies or interests
    • Lifestyle
    • Behaviour

When you have a clear indication of these elements you will be able to define your target market better.

If you sell to other businesses, you may want to look at elements like turnover, number of employees, and who does the buying in the companies you want to target.

You may be wondering how do I get this information about a target market?

Here are four steps to finding and creating your target market

1. Look at your current clients

It is important to go through your current client list and write down the answer to all the elements above. You should look at the clients who bring you in the most money. You could get this detail from the opt-in form on your website or from purchases made through your site. It is important to remember when collecting information, that some clients may not opt-in if you ask too many questions and you also need to ensure you keep the information securely because of the privacy laws which exist.

2. Look at your social media and website analytics

You can learn a lot about the people who view your site and your social media through the analytics they have on offer. Hootsuite offers some good guides on how to use the analytics on various social media platforms. Here are the ones for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. You can also use the Google Analytics audience report to see who visits your site.

3. Look at your competition

You will need to go to your competitor’s website and social media pages and see how they are attracting customers to their site. What types of ads are they using? Who is liking their pages? This may highlight groups you hadn’t thought of or confirm that there is a gap in the market.

4. Understand your unique selling proposition

What are you selling? Here we look at the features of your product or service and the benefits that they offer your customer. When you design your advertising and marketing plan for your product then you should look to highlight your benefits. You should write down the features of your product and then write down the benefit each of these features offers your client. When writing down your benefits you may also define your target market more clearly.

When you have this information you can writing a market targeting statement for your brand. Hootsuite offers the following statement:

Our target market is [gender] aged [age range], who live in [place or type of place], and like to [activity].

You could change this statement to include the elements which are more important to you for your product or service.

Once you have a clear idea of your target market, you should ensure it is big enough to support your business, that they have a clear need and want for your product, and that they have the potential to purchase the product you are offering.

In conclusion, by clearly understanding who buys from you, you can create a targeted marketing plan which will bring in more qualified leads which could turn into loyal customers.

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