Entrepreneurs

Council Post: Eight Effective Strategies For Identifying Your Target Customers

Before a new business can set up a marketing strategy, the very first thing it must do is determine who its target customers are. While it may seem simple to pinpoint your ideal customer, sometimes you can end up making assumptions that aren’t actually true, and if you don’t get your target customer base right, your marketing efforts will be focused on the wrong people.

Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true ways for a business to determine who its target customers are. Here, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their best tips for how to go about doing just that.

1. Conduct Interviews

Call potential customers. Offer a $50 Amazon card for talking to you. Set up as many interviews as you can. Ask what the big pain points are and how they’re solving them. Ask what they’d do without that solution. You’ll see trends in who experiences this problem the most. Maybe it’s a demographic characteristic. Maybe it’s situational. While working on a new product, we found that the customer base is often young and urban, as expected. But if someone doesn’t live in a building with a doorman, they experience the problem more vividly. We can narrow our target customer base by focusing on them. Talk to as many customers as you can. Find shared characteristics. Find people with those characteristics and keep narrowing your focus until you have a clear idea of who it is that you can best serve. – Cody Candee, Bounce

2. Consider Product Popularity 

One of the best ways to determine your target audience is to look at the popularity of your products. If you have an online pet store, and over 60% of your sales are cat-related products, then you just learned a valuable piece of data about your target audience. Examine your sales and feedback reports to see what kind of products people like and how you can exceed their expectations. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC

3. Use SEO Tools To Analyze Site Visitors

Search engine optimization (SEO) tools can tell you a lot about the people visiting your website. You’ll learn about the keywords and phrases that people online use when they land on your site. You’ll also get related questions that tell you what people are thinking. An added advantage of using an SEO platform is that you can analyze your competition too. Do an analysis of their website and learn about the keywords they rank for and what pages get the most views. You’ll get valuable information about your customers, their needs and how to help them with better content. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

4. Leverage Customer Data 

If you already have existing customers, you can use their data to determine your target audience and learn more about who you’re marketing to. You can use a customer relationship management system (CRM) to store and analyze user data and keep it organized. Some of this data includes names, email addresses, phone numbers, previous purchases, previously viewed items, opened emails and much more. The more customer data you collect, the easier it is to identify your target market so you can improve your campaigns and content. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

5. Get Your Product In Users’ Hands

Get your product into the hands of your customers for small sales as profitable lead magnets. It may sound silly, but selling products on eBay, Etsy and Amazon is an incredible way to figure out who your target customers are while leveraging the platforms to get your brand in front of eyeballs and in customers’ hands. When we started selling on eBay over a decade ago, that wasn’t the end goal, but it was a means to an end. Most of our sales were small, but we were able to see what customers wanted and go all-in on those products. Getting our product in the hands of end users, keeping them happy and welcoming feedback helped us design and market products specific to the large organizations they worked for, and our products ended up supplying thousands of large businesses. – Michael Barnhill, Specialist ID

6. Check Out Your Competitors

Visit a competitor’s store or website to learn about their target audience. Who are your competitors targeting? Who are their current customers? While that will give you some idea of who your audience is, it will also give you an idea of who they are missing. You might be able to find a niche market that they are overlooking. You’ll also be able to see what areas aren’t working for them. Ask how you can improve it. Look at their social media platforms. Examine what type of people like their posts and what type of content attracts a lot of attention. Keep in mind that your audience is not static. Your target audience will evolve as the economy, technology and your company grow. While you don’t want to stalk your competition, be aware of how they are changing in light of these factors. – Shu Saito, Fact Retriever

7. Listen To Social Media

A good way to learn more about your audience is to look at the questions they pose on social media and forums. It can tell you a lot about their pain points, why they need help and their overarching goals. You can identify your target market based on their needs rather than a demographic factor. You learn best from listening closely and learning what people are saying online. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

8. Create Buyer Personas

When identifying your target audience, it’s important to create customer profiles, or buyer personas. These profiles include crucial information about your customers, such as buying habits, age, location, pain points, education, income level, lifestyle and more. When you’ve compiled a few customer profiles, you’re able to get a clearer picture of who they are and how your business can tend to their needs. You also learn more about their interests so you can continue to create relevant content, products and services. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

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