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Find Your Target Customer in 3 Steps

Your target customer is someone who is likely to make a purchase. While you may think you know who these prospective customers are, the difficulties of tracking customer demographics might surprise you. Small and local business marketing campaigns can become infinitely more effective by following these three easy steps, and tracking effectiveness along the way:

Narrow Your Niche

Small businesses should focus on tailoring ads to small consumer groups. While this can feel like you are excluding other customers, it actually does a more effective job of appealing to your target consumer group. Other people who have a need for your services will find you, but your ideal customer needs extra attention to choose your business over the competition.

The question now is how do you decide which clients to cater to? The key is targeting people who need your product or service who are also likely to make a purchase. For instance, preschool teachers may need an automated toy cleaner but their limited budgets would keep them out of your target market.

To avoid including the wrong groups in your ad plan, note the benefits of the things you provide, but also consider practical features like location and price.

Also look at who the competition is missing. Serving smaller, under-acknowledged populations give you plenty of room to grow your business. Car dealerships often contact parents during the fall. Consider addressing young college students instead, especially if you have an attractive financing options for first-time car owners.

Your best source of insight however may be your current customer group. Be sure to ask your clients where they’ve heard about your business, what brought them to your shop and what they’d like to see in the future. Knowing all that will allow you to invest your marketing dollars in more effective channels and refine who your ads speak to the most.

Break Down Customer Demographics

Catering to a narrow niche market means ferreting out the details other business owners miss. A broad idea of who your best customer is won’t be enough to create effective advertising campaigns.

Along with sex, race, occupation and yearly earnings, you need to know your clients’ psychographics. These include personality traits and shopping behaviors and will help you understand the way your customers think.

Surveys are a good way to collect extra data on the people you do business with. You can make surveys attractive by offering a giveaway or discount to those who take part. Speaking regularly with your clients in-person or over social media can also give you insight into the way they make their decisions. This lets you tailor your advertising, pricing and other marketing decisions directly to the customers you know will spend the most.

Evaluate Your Target Populations

Focusing your ad campaign takes balance and a healthy dose of research. Not to fear. Most of this information can be found easily online or by watching your competition. Several questions will help you determine if your target audience is right.

For instance, how many people fit your parameters? If you’re in Sacramento, California, 35-50 year old married women is fine. In Bancroft, Iowa? Even if 100 percent of your potential customers were wooed by your advertising, you wouldn’t make enough to cover your costs.

Do you know how to reach your target market? Do you know their motivations? Do you know their budgets? This is an example of information you can glean from magazine articles and websites aimed at the same population. If you’re advertising to the same consumers as Redbook magazine, for instance, flip through the pages and see the price range of products they advertise.

How will they benefit from your business? Tent rental companies are very popular with 40 year old married women with children … during graduation season. The other 10 months of the year, business could be tight. It’s times like these that you may recognize the need, or the opportunity, to focus on multiple groups. This is perfectly fine if you are offering them all the same or similar products or services.

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