The First Step to Increasing Business? Get Specific on Your Target Market.

by Michelle Salater on October 21, 2011


If you had to hunt for your dinner and you only had a few bullets, you’d aim as carefully as you could at a tasty-looking animal. What you certainly wouldn’t do is aim your bullets in the wider area around that animal in hopes of catching it and maybe some other creatures for dessert.

The same holds true with target markets: in order to increase revenues, small businesses need to funnel their resources toward the market whose needs they know they meet. Here are some pointers on how to identify and target the right market.

Understand Your Market

It’s important to keep in mind that your target market is looking for you—whether or not they know it. To get an idea of whom you’re trying to target, take advantage of resources such as social media, industry publications, online forums, and people you know with experience in your field.

These materials will provide you with information about your target market’s vital stats (age, gender, income level, location, etc.), as well as your market’s attitudes toward your product or service.

Think Small & Specific

Remember when “18- to 49-year-olds” were considered a demographic group? Today, most of us realize how much narrower target markets have become, but we don’t always translate that knowledge into savvy marketing practices.

Narrow target markets may seem limiting because they include far fewer people than the mega-markets of yore. But it’s a two-way street: you’re offering a very specific product or service. While your target market may not be huge, it’s one that’s a near-perfect match for what you’re selling.

The important thing to remember is to resist the temptation of diluting your message in an effort to reach a wider swathe of people. Such an effort may backfire by making you appear less relevant to your target audience.

Help Them Find You!

Once you understand who your target market is, your job is to lay the roadwork so that your clients can easily find their way to your business. This means advertising in places your audience frequents, optimizing web copy with the keywords your audience searches, and providing marketing materials that clearly communicate to your audience what you do.

Developing those materials will take more time and effort than advertising to the masses, but think of those efforts as target practice that will help you hit your goals.

Are you having trouble getting specific on your target market? Why do you think that is?

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