When you are in business it can be very easy to want to market to many types of people and have a broad target market. However, it is important to focus on a narrow niche. You may have heard “The riches are in the niches” and it is so true.
In marketing, there is no in between–you either hit or miss. If you don’t target your market perfectly, you’ll waste your advertising dollars broadcasting your message to the wrong people. If you sold skin care, you wouldn’t talk to a 16 year old about getting rid of wrinkles. Maybe they should be thinking about taking care of their skin at a young age, but most do not. You would be spending your time trying to convince them that it is important to start doing now so they won’t have wrinkles as they age. In doing so, you would probably start sounding like a pushy sales person, and then get frustrated and wonder why you aren’t making any sales.
You weren’t speaking their language and identifying their pain point. Now if you had that same situation with a person 50 years old, the outcome would be very different.
By narrowing down your market, you can understand them better, talk to them easier and have a significantly larger chance of making a sale.
Another reason your target market needs to be specific, is that you can’t make everyone happy. If you cast your net too wide, you’ll be speaking to people who have no interest in your products or services. They’ll just tune you out like white noise in the background while you are just spinning your wheels.
The key to successful marketing is to identify your market’s pain or problem and offer a solution. If you know exactly who they are, you can communicate your product’s benefits and the results they can expect in a language they understand. You can pinpoint their biggest problem so they identify with your marketing and must have your solution.
When defining your ideal client, be careful about making assumptions. Marketing is a science and you need to look for objective data. Research your target market and they’ll tell you what they like, what they think, and what they want from you.
Market research is a process of discovery. You need to be objective and let the data you discover inform you. The deadliest mistake is to make assumptions. Go into your research process openly, assuming that you know nothing about your ideal client. Rely on the data you discover and not guesswork.
Here are 5 ways to do market research online:
The survey has always been a viable method of conducting measurable market research and discovering general trends. Now that we can do surveys online, it’s much cheaper and more convenient than standing in the shopping mall harassing passers-by, thank goodness! You can use software programs that automate everything for you, tallying the results so you don’t have to. Online surveys are particularly effective because respondents can be completely anonymous. One of the most popular of survey programs is Survey Monkey.
If you blog, you can gain valuable information from your readers by simply asking questions. Write a blog post and at the end say something like, “What do you think about this?” People love to share their opinions and they’ll eagerly do so. The great thing about blog questions is that they’re versatile; you can introduce a new line and ask them directly what they think, or share a story that’s unrelated to your business and ask for their opinion to find out how they feel about life in general.
If you have an email list, this is a wonderful audience for your questions. Mixed in with your valuable content and targeted offers, you can ask them questions and use this data for future offers. The great advantage with your list is that they’re already interested in your products or services.
Online forums and question-and-answer sites are a natural source for gathering information. You often don’t even need to ask; someone else may have started a discussion on the topic. If you want to know, for example, how people feel about Facebook’s new privacy settings, chances are good that people are already talking about it.
Social networks are great because there are far more happening than just personal discussions. On sites like Facebook, people tell you exactly what they like. You can look at the kind of content they share to get an idea of what they’re into. Groups are especially insightful, as people will be comfortable asking questions since the group is centered around a main topic, whether it’s business or interest.
The key is to really know your target audience so you can position yourself and your product/service as a solution to their problems or desires. The more you know, the better you can market to them and, in turn, sell more. Remember this is an ongoing process, not a one-and-done part of marketing.
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