Defining and understanding your target market are two different things.
When I say defining, you have to know who they are.
On the other hand, understanding digs deeper into the question, “Who is your target market?” and identifies, “What makes these people part of your audience?”
This is where you become a spy.
Imagine you’re James Bond or Salt on a mission to uncover where your target market lives in the digital space. Where are they active? Who are the trusted figures in their communities? What are their goals, dreams, pain points?
To help you infiltrate your industry, I’m going to share my top five ways to get into the mindset of your target market.
Defining your target market
Suppose you want your marketing efforts to yield positive returns. You need to clearly define your target audience. Your niche target audience is a specific group of people who are likely to buy your products and services. So they’re potential customers.
Once you identify your target market, you then need to understand who your target audience is.
Market research is a great way to do it. Research reveals demographic information, common characteristics you target audience share, income level, marital status, age, sex, interesting data, and much more.
- It tells you what their needs are?
- What keeps them up at night?
- What are their interests?
- Which social media networks they follow?
- Why your products or services would improve their lives?
- Do you have more than one market segment?
This data informs any marketing campaign or advertising you create for your business. But how do you gather this data?
Well, you can survey your customer base to understand your target customers. You can organize a focus group. However, often current customers will tell you what they think you want to hear, which may impact the marketing campaigns you create.
I prefer to follow these five tried and trusted methods.
5 Ways to identify your target markets needs
- Identify trade journals.
Trade journals are reliable resources that can keep you updated with the industry trends, news, and other necessary information. They can tell you a world of information about your target audience.
For example, if you want to become a vendor in the dentistry industry, trade journals provide valuable insight into what’s happening in the industry, what changes are occurring, where the gaps are and how you can fill them.
You can google them. Just make sure to be very specific with your search term. So don’t just search for “Dentistry Trade Journals.” Search for “American Dentistry Trade Journals.”
List at least five trade journals that you can opt-in or subscribe to get the latest news, updates, and relevant information.
- Find out where industry chatter happens.
Do you know where your target audience hangs out online?
If not, you have to start monitoring the industry chatter.
Find out where they interact with one another. Where do they ask questions, spill secrets, and share their experiences?
Depending on the industry, it can be in a number of different sources. For example, it can be in Facebook groups, Reddit forums, and even old-school mailing lists.
That’s for you to find out.
Again, think of yourself as a spy who’s been hired to infiltrate the industry. Facebook Insights and SparkToro are excellent tools to help you track down your target market and identify their strong and weak points.
The better you get to know them, the easier it is to recognize how you can add value to their lives. How can you help them?
- Join industry associations.
The great thing about industry associations is you can join for free, or for a small cost.
Besides filling out your LinkedIn profile, having a list of memberships from different associations gives you access to invaluable data,—an industry insider primed to share all their secrets. You also look forward to the following perks:
- Get invited to industry events and trade shows.
- Meet vendors and find out what they’re selling and who’s buying the stock.
- Grow your network.
- Get more opportunities to grow and upscale in the industry.
- Broaden your industry knowledge.
A quick online search can give you a list of associations under your industry. I’d say choose wisely. Make sure they’re legitimate and they have a good reputation.
- Identify potential industry blogs.
Aside from journals, industry blogs are also great resources for understanding your target market because they provide a more human perspective. Again, an online search can provide you with several recommendations, as long as you’re specific with your search terms.
When looking for industry blogs, you have to consider the following:
- Does the site have a high domain authority score? This tells you how high it ranks on search engines like Google and how relevant it is to your search query. You can use free tools like Moz to get this information.
- Are they publishing content regularly?
- Do they engage with their target audience—featuring people’s lives and experiences—and respond to them?
- Do their blogs have social shares?
- Create a list of industry podcasts to listen to.
No one consumes content the same way. Think of your target audience as a mixture of both readers and listeners. While I love to read books and blogs, you might prefer to listen to podcasts.
It’s a wonderfully productive pastime. You can immerse yourself in knowledgeable, engaging conversations about the industry you want to be part of while driving, exercising, or doing chores around the house. You also get to hear from owners and their customers so it’s a great way to get a holistic view of the industry.
So in the end, a little espionage goes a long way.
It’s important to get your market research correct upfront. It has a domino effect on everything you do thereafter. If you don’t have a clear picture of whom makes up your target market, your messaging will be off, your media won’t be the right fit, and in the end, you won’t reach the right people.
So defining your target audience is supercritical. It’ll significantly impact your marketing efforts.
Market research takes time. Expect to invest a couple of hours on research, tracking down solid leads and getting to know your demographics. Learning which market segment you want to create target marketing for. How best to sell your product or service? Whether digital marketing or social media is necessary. Do you need to update your brand, whatever?
See what your competitors are doing. How can your business produce better advertising and marketing campaigns?
Once you’ve gathered your data start filling out your 1-Page Marketing Plan. This will make identifying your target audience, creating target marketing, nurturing and converting leads to customers much easier.
To help you get started, we’ve shared a few completed 1PMP examples here.
Download our FREE “Spy Work Your Target Market” worksheet to begin building out a clearer picture of your target audience.