Marketing strategy

3 tips for learning more about your target audience

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As a business owner, there’s one very important thing you need to understand about your target market: You’re not it, and neither are your peers. In fact, your peers are more likely to be your competitors than your customers.

As you think about finding and learning from your target audience, you may want to redefine what “target” means to you. When marketing, you alone don’t choose who campaigns are for—market research and consumer demand help you determine which audience makes the most sense.

What is a target market?

A target market describes the consumers you want to reach, which usually intersects with those most likely to buy your products or services. They could be people in a certain age group, living in a specific geographic area, married or single, parents, or working in a certain profession. These are all distinguishing characteristics that can be used to identify your target market and build your marketing list.

Your target market could also be people who have already bought products or services from you or your direct competitors. Current and previous customers can be enticed into repeat business, while people who have bought elsewhere can be converted via lower prices or better service. So your most lucrative market may not be completely new buyers.

Learning from your customers

Your current customers can be a wealth of information about what type of people are interested in your business. You can use surveys, market research, focus groups, or direct conversations to get valuable insights. Those insights can include:

  • Demographics like age range, gender, education level, income, etc.
  • Geographic information
  • Interests, likes, and dislikes
  • Shopping and purchasing behaviors
  • Media consumption, like their most popular channels (TV, radio, web, social, etc.)

Look for repeating patterns. For instance, several of your customers may be in the same income bracket, live in the same area, and belong to the same social media group. (The social media group in particular could be a great way to start gleaming insights.) All of these taken together can form the basis of a marketing campaign.  

What do you do with customer insights?

The information you gather from your customers can help you launch new products and services that appeal to your target market. Pay close attention to what customers say, because their insights can be used to build your brand. As time passes, you may find a small group of loyal customers to be your internal “market research team.”

Asking customers for their input can help you build a loyal following. That doesn’t mean you grant their every wish. Surveys and focus groups are tools to find patterns. You might learn that your customer base has more than one target market. Continue doing research until you can break down patterns and develop campaigns for each market.      

Set aside budget for marketing campaigns using sub-accounts with Bluevine Business Checking.

Tips for gaining insights from your target market

Now, let’s dive into how to gain insights from your market with some tips for your mindset and communication techniques.

1.   Go straight to the source

One mistake many business owners make is taking what their families, friends, and other business owners say as fact. If those people aren’t in your target audience, you may not be acting on the most accurate information. Instead, you should find direct ways to engage with your target customers to get the insights you want.

Talk to people who’ve bought your products or used your services before. They’re your best and most accessible source of information. Survey them to find out who they are, where they live, and what they like. Those insights can help you expand your target market. Asking them how they first found you is also valuable—that portal could open for someone else.  

2.   Don’t assume you know better

If you fall into the demographics and psychographics of your target audience, great. If not, that’s okay. Either way, it’s easy to assume that your audience will like what you like, but it’s not a good idea to build a marketing campaign on that assumption. Your customers may not share the same interests and biases as you. They also don’t have the same inside knowledge that you have.  

If your marketing strategy is based on inaccurate assumptions, your marketing materials won’t reach the right people. Or if they do, they won’t convert them. That means you’ll be wasting time and money, while missing out on potential sales. You can avoid that by taking yourself out of the equation and speaking only to people who buy your products and services. 

3.   Create personas to speak your customer’s language

When it comes to marketing, you need to understand the knowledge level of your audience. They won’t all be experts like you are, so your brand needs to speak the way they do. Avoid industry jargon and keep everything benefit-focused. Use simple product descriptions and clearly define what your services are. Your customers will appreciate that.

One of the best ways to do this is creating “ideal customer profiles,” also known as “customer personas.” These are profiles based on real customers, which in turn informs who you’re marketing to. A detailed profile can help you develop the right marketing materials and speak the proper language to your prospects.

Get more helpful marketing tips from the Bluevine marketing team.

Disclaimer

This content is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice of any type, such as financial, legal, tax, or accounting advice. This content does not necessarily state or reflect the views of Bluevine or its partners. Please consult with an expert if you need specific advice for your business. For information about Bluevine products and services, please visit the Bluevine FAQ page.

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Disclaimer

This content is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice of any type, such as financial, legal, tax, or accounting advice. This content does not necessarily state or reflect the views of Bluevine or its partners. Please consult with an expert if you need specific advice for your business. For information about Bluevine products and services, please visit the Bluevine FAQ page.

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