One of the most common questions business owners struggle with is understanding who their customer is. In marketing terms, it’s called defining your target market.

Target market is the audience, or customers, you want. Said another way, it’s the customer who is most likely to buy from you and continue to use your products or services. It’s knowing who they are in terms of their gender, age, income bracket, and more.

The question I typically ask business owners to get the real answer to who their target market is, is:

If you were to bet on the person who walked in the door as most likely to buy, who would they be? Male, female, age, income, with children, no children, education, live locally, own home, rent, employed, retired, etc. What else do you know about them? Are they do-it-yourself types? Do they want things done for them and they’re willing to pay for it?

Once you know who the target (or core) audience is, you can better target your messages to get them to buy. You will still get others, but going after the core audience will get you more “bang for your buck” in marketing dollars spent, and they will be the best people to share your message with their friends and families – hopefully who will also be similar enough to also be great customers for your business.

Many people will target messages using direct mail, or niche publications. They will also use targeted advertising on Google, Facebook or through other opportunities. If your business is more broad, but still mostly attracts people from a certain geographic area, you could use local publications in print or online, or radio or television opportunities to reach your target audience.

The more targeted the reach, the more you’ll likely pay per thousand readers / viewers. Keep this in mind when you look to purchase advertising / spend marketing dollars.

Keep in mind what your audience likes to see or hear when you communicate with them. Audiences without children may not be as enamored with photos of children as those with children. Focus groups to review advertisements are always a great idea – even if you just show them to a few honest people. (Don’t show them to the people who say everything is great just to be done with the work; get real honest feedback so you can make changes before rolling out the initiative and spending all those marketing dollars!)

Here are a few highly rates books to help in your search

  1. The New Rules of Marketing & PR
  2. Essentials of Business Communication (business school textbook style)
  3. SEO Expert Strategies
  4. The Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing

Hope this helps – enjoy!

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