Whether you are a business owner, a freelancer or blogger, knowing who your audience is will greatly improve your chances of being successful. Not knowing your audience will result in diluted efforts that will bring little to no results. Defining your target market should be the first thing to do before initiating a new project. You’re not sure where to begin? By the end of this article you should have a clearer idea of what a target market is and how to find yours.
What is a Target Market
A target market is a group of customers a business chooses to focus its marketing efforts on. Determining the right market for a product or service you offer is a crucial step in your marketing strategy. Failing to consider your audience will result in countless lost hours trying to reach everyone, only to realize that every product and service by itself has a purpose, an aim. In other words; if you don’t know who to offer your services to, how will you ever find clients?
Let’s take a look at the big names in the industry, starting with Nike. Nike has a big reach but it’s not for everyone. Nike sells sports clothes for people with an active lifestyle. They also appeal to young adults and teenagers who are looking for comfort as well as a fashionable sporty look. The keywords for Nike would be: Active, comfortable, fashionable.
McDonald’s is another big company that seems to be targeting everyone. Even though it uses mass marketing (TV, Radio, Internet) and aims to catch as many consumers as possible in its net, not everyone will go to McDonald’s. This chain produces low-priced fast food and it doesn’t pretend to be something else than a fast-food restaurant. In the last few years, McDonald’s started adding more “healthy” options to its menu like salads and wraps. But even after decades, it still offers no vegetarian option (unlike Burger King, KFC or Harvey’s who all have a veggie burger) because that portion of the demographics simply does not interest them. Besides adults and teens looking for value fast food, one of McDonald’s major targets is kids. They put a lot of emphasis on Happy Meals, playgrounds and toys for children. Keywords for McDonald’s would be: Fast food, cheap, kids.
Now let’s take a look at us, Veodesign. We’re just like you, representing small and medium businesses as well as freelancers. And that’s who we serve. We offer graphic design and web design services for start-ups, freelancers and expanding companies. We currently focus on local businesses but work occasionally on small international contracts. We write in our blog primarily for SMEs, freelancers as well as design and technology enthusiasts like us. Everything we do is aimed at these people. We could have chosen to offer our services to everyone, write for everyone and design our website for everyone. But what would be the point? Not everyone wants graphic design and web design services. Not everyone will read our blog. We’d be wasting our efforts if we didn’t have a marketing strategy.
Defining your Target Market
The first step in defining your target market is to analyze your products and services. What do you sell? What are the properties of that item or service?
Let’s use as an example a designer making artistic and custom greetings; my good friend Sheena. She sells handmade cards and envelopes of different formats that can be used to accompany a gift or given alone as a thoughtful gesture.
The second step after clearly defining your product is to find your find your target audience. Who will buy your product or service? Who will it interest most? Don’t be afraid to make some research; numbers and stats will only strengthen your strategy.
In the case of Sheena’s greetings, her clientele will most likely be women – studies demonstrate that women account for 80 percent of the greeting card sales. Since greetings cards are so affordable ($2 to 4 on average in the US) Sheena can safely assume that greetings are generally accessible and potentially interesting to women from all economic backgrounds. So you have it: her market is women. If she wanted to be more precise, she could study the trends for Holiday cards and sales related to artistic everyday greetings like the ones she offers. Then she could decide if she should also produce a special line of cards for the Holiday period (hint: she totally should).
When you have your product and you know who your target audience is, the next step is to get to know them and produce a marketing strategy that will appeal to them. In the case of Sheena, that would be finding out when greetings are the most sold and taking into consideration women’s tastes when designing her new line of cards.
Having a strong marketing strategy is great. However you must remain alert and show flexibility; trends change and so do people. As new technologies arise, you will have to adapt and find new ways to attract people towards your products or services. You will also have to reconsider your target audience every now and then as it may change.
Finding new clients now is also a totally different experience than it was 15 years ago. Who really uses the Yellow Pages anymore? You will want to put money into getting a website with matching business cards and other promotional material instead. Consider sitting down with a designer and/or marketing agent to get some professional advice before rushing into the creation of promotional material. They have dealt with many businesses before and their specialty is to find ways to reach your target audience.
If I had to sum up this article, I would do it in 3 simple questions: What is your product or service? Who will buy it? How can you reach your potential consumers?