When you start your business you might think you know exactly who your target market is. In reality, detailed analysis must be conducted to determine exactly who will purchase your product or service. Not everyone will be a customer and you should not target everyone- you should specialize and target a specific audience.
When identifying your target market, you must first understand your niche in the market (link): What makes your business unique compared to your competitors? What sets you apart and makes you more likely to attract and retain customers? Research your competitors and analyze their customers; this will give you an inside look at the industry.
Looking beyond your competitors is also essential. Conducting market research will help you to not only identify your target market, but will provide you with information on the number of potential customers or clients in your area. Keep in mind:
Successful businesses have extensive knowledge of their customers and their competitors. Market research is the process of gathering information which will increase your awareness of what your potential customers look for. (“Guide to Market Research and Analysis” from www.CanadaBusiness.ca)
Market research includes circulating surveys, gathering statistics, information on local income levels, etc.
Your business plan is another resource to assist in identifying your target market. It will help you to define all aspect of your business, including identifying your ideal customer. A good business plan will include:
- Income level
- The characteristics of your ideal customer
- Population in your target area
Schedule a consultation with your local small business enterprise centre consultant to help you deconstruct your data. This will assist you in creating an outline of your target market to assist in creating a successful branding and marketing campaign.