How can a business not know who their target audience is? It’s a concept that doesn’t make sense for many. But believe it or not, many entrepreneurs aren’t armed with an ideal customer profile to make their marketing efforts more successful. Instead, they are drowning in the day-to-day operations of their business.
It’s a concerning issue for any business owner to have. After all, the more you understand the type of person who is most likely to benefit from your product or service, the more capable you are of addressing their specific needs. Thus, investing in thorough target market research is paramount to the prosperity of your company.
But, if you don’t know how to define your target market, or if you aren’t sure that your research is thorough enough, it can be difficult to know where to begin. You know that having a firmer grasp on who your ideal customer is will enable you to more clearly craft your messaging and hyper-focus your marketing efforts, but how do you conduct your own target research? And how do you craft a user persona that will help you increase sales?
First, know that it is possible! You are capable of defining your target audience. When you are ready to dive in, use our list of top tips below to help.
1. Review Your Current Sales
One of the best places to gather valuable information about your business is your sales records. Whether you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a small business owner who just started your venture a month ago, understanding who has already committed to purchasing from you is always constructive.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What geographical locations have the majority of my sales come from?
- What age groups do my current clients fall into?
- Are my sales coming from men, women, or both?
- Are the majority of my purchases coming from online buyers or from other sources?
- What do the customers who have had the highest checkout amounts have in common? Do they share interests, income levels, or any other identifiable characteristics?
- What are their pain points?
- What other types of categories can I break my current client list into? Parents? Athletes? Stay-at-home moms? Business professionals? Etc.
Write down the information you gather, and determine how many of your customers fall under each category. It will likely be beneficial to create a working spreadsheet to document the data you gather. That way, you can always refer to it when compiling the rest of your target market research.
2. Monitor Your Online Reviews
Online reviews can be a source of anxiety or a source of valuable information, depending on who you ask. Sometimes, they can seem to be a bit of both. For business owners, nothing is more unsettling than thinking about a dissatisfied customer leaving unfavourable online reviews for all of the world to see. However, online reviews can actually catapult your business to even greater success if you use them strategically and act upon the information they provide you.
To gather pertinent info for your target market research, browse through your reviews on platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, the Better Business Bureau, and any other sites you know your customers frequent.
As you peruse your reviews, ask yourself the following questions and document the answers you find:
- What aspects of my business do my customers seem to appreciate the most? What parts of their buying experience are they responding to positively?
- Are there any common complaints or issues that seem to have been vocalized more than once? If so, what are they and how can you improve your business to better address these concerns?
- Have clients mentioned any positives or negatives about interacting with you or your staff members? If so, document them and determine how you can either do more of the things that are working, or less of those that aren’t.
3. Gather Industry Information
Almost every entrepreneur feels their business is unique in some way. But it’s an undeniable truth that proven industry trends and patterns impact all businesses in any given industry, to a degree. For example, if you own a hotel in Canada and occupancy rates are highest during the month of August, this single fact should be considered by all hotel businesses looking to market themselves in Canada.
So, what industry information is out there regarding your specific niche? It’s up to you to find out! Searching websites like Stats Canada, Statistica, The Canada Business Network, and other sites relevant to your industry will allow you to compile fundamental information that will shape the future of your marketing strategy.
As you discover more data, ask yourself the following questions:
- How is this piece of information relevant to my business?
- How can I use this piece of information to improve how I target potential customers?
- What does this information tell me about buying trends or sales cycles within my industry?
- Am I currently targeting customers or marketing to the public in a way that goes against the substantiated information I have found?
4. Create User Personas
Congratulations! You’ve made it through the research portion of your target market strategy! Now it’s time to bundle all of the information you have gathered into one cohesive user persona.
To do this, you must first use the statistics and details you have gathered to imagine your ideal customer.
For example: if you found during your market research that 60 per cent of your current clients are female, it is safe to assume that at least one of your user personas should be female. If you own a salon and spa, it is also safe to assume that your ideal customer is interested in the health and beauty industry.
Continue to review all of the data you have and identify common themes amongst your clients. Whenever you notice a common theme, add it to your user persona.
In the end, your ideal customer profile should look something like this:
Income: $55,000 – $85,000 annually
Location: Edmonton, Alberta (and surrounding area)
Interests: Fashion, Beauty, Pop Culture, Cosmetics
Amanda is a young millennial who works as an Account Manager for an office supply company. She works full time, and looks forward to treating herself to a manicure and pedicure every two weeks. Since Amanda is internet savvy, she enjoys being able to book her spa appointments in advance by using an online booking system.
5. Connect With Your Target Audience
Now that you have your ideal user persona, you can start to think about how you can appeal to the person you’ve created. This is where your marketing strategy really advances due to the hard work you’ve done!
- What types of content would my ideal customer be interested in reading or watching?
- What benefits or features of my business appeal most to my ideal customer?
- How can I show appreciation to my current ideal customers to keep them in my sales funnel longer?
- Are there any new incentives or offers I can promote to appeal to my ideal customer?
- How are successful businesses in my industry reaching customers who are similar to my ideal customer? Can I replicate some of their successes for my own business?
- How can I make my product or service more convenient for my ideal customer?
The answers to the above questions will provide you with an exceptional foundation on which to build your online marketing strategy, allowing you to fine-tune your plan and more effectively capture the attention of target audience.
Soon, your business will be collecting stronger, higher-quality leads and retaining clients for longer periods of time. After all, 43% of companies spend more than half of their budgets reaching specific targets, and 84% of those companies expect that investment to increase.
If your competitors are identifying their target audiences and investing time, energy, and funds into better reaching those audiences, it goes without saying that you should be doing the same. Because as we all know, no matter what industry your business is in, it’s always a rat race to the top.
It’s time to start targeting effectively!
If you’re interested in learning more about user personas and how to reach your target audience through an effective digital marketing strategy, the experienced team at Bluetrain is happy to help! Get in touch today to get the conversation started.