How to Find and Research Your Target Market
Identifying your target market is one of the first steps in launching a new brand. However, for many bloggers and entrepreneurs, defining your audience is easy. Its finding them and creating content to suit their needs that can prove challenging. This comprehensive post will walk you through my favorite strategies and free tools to get to know your audience better.
Define Your Audience in the Beginning
When launching something new or rebranding to move in a different direction, the power is in your hands to define your audience. Begin by creating your ideal customer profile. You may even have multiple customer types depending on the nature of your brand. Use the target market worksheet within the Launch Your Brand Toolkit to brainstorm. At minimum, you’ll want to define your audiences age, gender, race, locale, income level, and interests. This is important because you’ll want to ensure that your marketing catches the attention of your audience. Better yet, you’ll want to ensure that the products, services and content you are creating is relevant and useful!
Here’s an example, let’s say I’m a resume writer and primary audience are those in mid level roles who feel stuck. If I were to post an advertisement on Instagram reading “Let me help you land your first job” as opposed to “Let me help you land your next job”, I’d attract two completely different subsets of the job seeker audience. Understanding to whom you’re marketing towards can make or break your brand.
Engage with Your Followers
Once you’ve officially launched, pay attention to those that are attracted to your brand. Engage with your followers on social media and get to know them. You will always have silent supporters, but for those that are vocal, listen to them. You are not required to follow everyone back on social media, but the more personable you are with your audience, the more loyalty you will build. I make it a point to reply to every comment on Instagram (that isn’t spam), every tweet and every email that’s sent. Of course there are times when this will be difficult, but my audience at least sees the effort and they appreciate it.
Additionally, you can learn a great deal from the timelines of your supporters. Engaging with my audience in Facebook groups and via Twitter has provided me with insight to their challenges, obstacles and goals that they have. This in turn allows me to create better offerings to suit their pain points. The key to winning in business is selling the outcome, not the product.
Survey Your Audience
I survey my audience at least once per year. I ask very targeted questions to get an understanding of not only what my audience wants, but of their wins as well. It is important for me to know how my content and products has helped others. Be extremely intentional about your survey questions. As your audience grows and implements the insight you’ve provided, their needs may change over time. Let’s say for example, you’re an expert in hair care. Your audience may come to you for advice on how to grow their hair longer. However, once they’ve actually reached their goal length, they may encounter other challenges. Now that length isn’t important to them anymore, they may ask for your advice on styling, moisturizing or frizz control. If you have expertise in those areas, you can begin to create new and compelling content to keep your audience engaged. I also recommend asking questions that will provide you with demographic data on your audience. Compare this to what your social media and website analytics provides to have a cohesive look at your audience.
If you haven’t implemented Google analytics within your website, please do so immediately. It is a free tool that will help you to measure your website traffic. Bloggers, this is non-negotiable if you are looking to pitch brands for partnership. Google analytics will tell you how your audience is finding your site, how long they are staying on the site and which pages are the most popular. It will also give you insight into the location of your audience and other demographic information. Don’t shy away from the data! There is also a free service offered by Quill Engage that will send you a weekly summary via email of your website traffic and other information. Quill recently told me that I’ve had a boost in readership from France! *waves to all of my readers there* I recommend reviewing your website analytics on a monthly basis.
Gain an Understanding of Economic Trends
If you are looking to make money online by blogging or building a business, you still need to know the basics of economics. Understanding how the economy and markets work will aid you in creating a sustainable business model. If you are a service based business, you are a luxury business. People want your services, but they don’t need them. Which means, if and when the economy falls, your customers will become more cautious with spending their money. This is why I recommend creating products and services at different price points. If someone can’t afford your hourly rate, have an e-book or course that they can purchase at an affordable rate. Online entrepreneurs are not immune to dips in the economy! A few tools that I recommend using to provide you with basic insight on the economy as relates to small businesses are Business Dynamics Statistics and County Business Patterns.
Understand Your Customer’s Behavior
I’m a fan of the marketer’s almanac by Google. It is a free tool that will essentially tell you what seasons your customers are more likely to spend money in. Many of us roll out sales for Black Friday and Christmas but your audience may be more prone to spending money around mother’s day!
Once you’ve been in business for a few months, I recommend tracking your audience’s behavior yourself. Over the last 12 months, when did your business earn the most profit? Which products sold the most and the least? You can drill down to which day per week is your audience most likely to purchase. Understanding consumer behavior trends will aid you in having better launches and better sales.
Tell me in the comments, what are your strategies for understanding your audience? If you need a deeper dive, I recommend taking my class, "How to Make Money Online". Let’s continue this discussion!