Ready, set, aim for your target market

Marketing 101

Many factors go into being a truly successful business, but a vital component to any business making it in a competitive landscape is pinpointing a target audience and marketing directly to them.

Knowing your target is equal parts knowing yourself and knowing your customer.

Summarize your value proposition

If you’re just starting to market, you’ll need to start by boiling your value proposition down to the basics. You can’t begin to market your product until you can easily tick off its unique benefits for a specific audience(s). A steakhouse likely wouldn’t prosper in a neighborhood known for vegan restaurants. And a high-end steakhouse probably wouldn’t appeal to diners looking for budget eats.

Ask yourself some guiding questions, including:

  • What are my product’s/service’s key benefits?
  • How is my product/service different than what the competition offers?
  • Who would my product/service appeal to?

Identify your core audience

To speak to your target market(s), you first have to figure out who they are. What are the circumstances that drive them to seek you out? Why do they choose to buy from you rather than someone else? What’s most important to them — price, selection, quality?

You’ll have a leg up if you’ve done any marketing in the past. Look at what worked. Where have you placed your most successful ads? What types of customers have responded to your email marketing campaigns? What kinds of trade shows have been most successful for you? What type of people are “liking” your business’s Facebook® page? This recon can tell you a lot about your customers. For tips on reviewing past marketing efforts, check out “Create an abundant advertising plan.”

Find out what matters to them

If you’re just breaking into the marketing game but you’ve already been selling your product or service and, even better, have a website, you’ve got a few options for identifying your core audience. A great place to start is by asking your existing customers who they are and what they like most about your offerings.

You can engage with them via your social media profiles, but it might be a bit time-consuming to get enough feedback to inform a strong marketing plan. Consider a survey program such as SurveyMonkey® or QuestionPro™. A few survey tips:

  • Keep it short, since shorter surveys get more responses.
  • Include a few demographic questions such as gender, profession, employment status, etc.
  • Find out which of your products the reader currently owns and what they use them for.
  • Offer a discount (i.e. 20 percent off your entire order) to the first 50 (or whatever number you choose) customers who return the survey.

You also can use site analytics tools to find out which keywords people are using to find you on the Web. If “cheap [product name]” is a big search term for you, you know price is important to your customers.

Put it all together

Once you have your general information, create a profile based on each of your target customers. For instance, if your customer is a busy stay-at-home mom with three kids and one family income, then that means your target audience is budget-conscious with little time to waste. This customer values an affordable product and a quick, simple purchasing process. You’ve also discovered that this demographic spends a lot of time on social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest®, so that’s a great place to focus your marketing efforts.

Pro tip: GoDaddy GoCentral lets you link your website to your tribe directly on your Facebook page and other social media, with just a few clicks.

When you know who you’re selling to you can tailor every interaction and every promotion to that particular customer. The closer your offerings match your target customer, the better your results.

Image by: global.quiz via Compfight cc

Jessica Spart
Jessica Spart is a small business consultant for GoDaddy and a freelance writer based in Arizona. She's passionate about helping small businesses succeed. Jessica spends her free time reading, running and catching up on her favorite Korean and British TV shows.