When it comes to maintaining a small business, knowing who you sell your goods or services to can make or break your success. While it's easy to make general assumptions about the customers you might bring in, actually learning about your target audience and the best way to market to them will ensure a better outcome, and profit, for you in the long run!
It's important to understand that your target audience isn't “everyone,” and that's okay. There are inevitably going to be groups of people that your business is not well suited for. People without a yard have no use for lawn care services, and someone allergic to gluten probably won't be looking for a cake from a regular bakery. That's why a target audience is so important to identify and market toward. So how do you go about getting to know your audience? One of the first steps is to ask yourself a few questions. What are your best-selling products or services? Who is most likely to benefit from your business? How do your customers hear about your business? When you answer these questions, think about your audience demographics and how that plays into your business.
The easiest way to answer these questions is through customer feedback. Ask your customers to fill out a quick survey, give a review, or engage with them in person if possible. The more feedback and information you gather, the more you'll understand exactly who falls into your target audience. And the more you know about your audience, the more cost-effective and successful your marketing campaign could become.
Once you've identified your target audience, the next step is to learn what they need and want from your business. Customers are ultimately looking for a solution to something. A problem, a need, a want- whatever it may be, the thing you sell is the answer they're looking for. Having a clear understanding of how your product or service impacts your customers gives you the chance to expand on, or add to, what you already offer to create a more loyal customer base and bring in new customers.
The way you find out what your customers want is similar to how you find your target audience: you ask. Use surveys, encourage reviews and respond to feedback, and use social media to engage with your customers and learn what they're looking for when it comes to your business and how you can improve their overall experience. Once you have that information, you'll be able to determine the best way to market what you sell to your specific audience. This will likely generate more revenue from those advertisements than a more generic marketing strategy.
Now that you know who your customers are, and what they want, you can work on gearing your marketing toward them. You need to think about your business from a more objective point of view to help identify the demand for what you sell. Is your customer a one-time purchaser, or will they come back regularly? What does your business offer that sets it apart from competitors? Are there enough consumers for your product to make it a long-term business, or will you need to constantly generate new products or services to keep interest? When you answer these questions, you can find the best way to market your business, and know-how often and where to advertise it.
You also need to make sure the message you're trying to get across is clear. Work on explaining in as few words as possible what you're selling, and why people should care. This is where knowing your audience comes in handy. You already know what they're looking for, and can use that to your advantage when developing your marketing strategies.
Taking the time to understand your target audience can help your business in more than one way. You not only find more effective, cost-efficient ways to sell your product, but you can also find new ways to improve your business and create a loyal customer base!