How to Define Your Target Market for Your Small Business

While it would be nice to have a small business that offers universal appeal, with the possible exception of basic life necessities, like water and food, there’s little on the planet that everyone needs or wants. With that in mind, today’s savvy business owners must identify their target markets in order to create products, advertising, and more that appeals to that specific market.

What is a Target Market?

Your target market are the people or group of people most likely to purchase the products you sell or the services you provide. As you define your target market, what you’re looking for are specific characteristics or parameters such as:

  • Family status
  • Age
  • Income
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Ethnicity
  • Hobbies
  • And more

 How do You Identify this Group?

For some small businesses, such as maternity shops, it’s easy to identify the target market. That market would be expectant mothers, of course. However, if you dive in and study a little more, though, you’ll discover that, according to the CDC, most pregnant women fall between the ages of 20 and 34. While there are some older and younger women who become pregnant, target markets are about identifying the most likely audience and targeting that group in advertising and marketing.

Start Your Search Locally

Begin with the customers you currently have. Find the answers to the following questions:

  • Who is buying from you?
  • What do they have in common?
  • Which group of customers offers the most referrals?
  • What do the people most active and engaged with your business in social media circles have in common?
  • Who spends the most money each year on the products you sell and services you provide?

Move Beyond Your Borders

Then, check out your competition. View their advertisements. Visit their stores. Look around. As you do, ask yourself who you believe their marketing, merchandising, and even display efforts are targeting.

You don’t want to imitate what your competitors are doing, necessarily. Instead, you want to use this information to help you refine your focus even further. This is creating a niche market. The tighter you zero in on a specific group, the more targeted advertising you can create to appeal to that specific niche or target market.

What Happens Next?

Once you’ve identified your target market, it’s time to move on to the next part of the process.Forbes magazine explains that identifying their biggest issues, problems, concerns, or desires is the very next step. This step immediately flows into the next step of solving the problem, allaying the concern, and fulfilling the desire.

It’s only after you create a product or service that addresses those most nagging problems that you can target your advertising to let your target consumer know just how your new product is going to change their lives for the better, solve their problems, or fulfill their deepest desires.

While defining your target market is an essential part of making your business profitable in today’s highly competitive business climate, it doesn’t cover all contingencies. Regardless of who your target market happens to be, you must protect your business interests with adequate small business insurance coverage.