HOW TO FIND YOUR TARGET MARKET
Creating your product or getting your service ready to market is just the beginning. The next hurdle you have to get across is who will buy what you have created and where are they spending their time. This could be online, offline or both - because consumers do about their normal lives regardless of what new exciting business pops up on the market. So, now it is your task to grab their attention and I am going to break this down for you.
Get a pen and paper and do this exercise with me, so we can eliminate your search in the dark to find customers who will actually buy what you have to sell.
Find the smallest market that relates to your business
Although the idea of targeting a small market may not seem very rewarding to you, it is vital that you find a group of people who think what you have to sell is special and will actually resolve one of their needs. As you're just getting started, you won't have the same amount of resources a bigger company will have, so the reach you can make in your market won't be as wide. Which means, you need to think smarter and work with the people who actually value your business.
The key is to find a very small market, who will rave about your product or service, because you are resolving a problem or need that they have. You can always expand this market once you gain more traction or you can remain where you are and be the number one player in that area.
So write down the smallest market you can think of, who will absolutely go crazy about what you have to sell. For instance, if I made cake pops, the smallest market for me may be children's parties. I will make sure that this area will remain my number one focus until I am at every children's party in a particular location. Mothers will rave about my cake pops. Once I have secured that market, I will do one of two things, either keep going in that area, but expand my reach to a couple of towns or I could widen my market by targeting corporate events with my cake pops.
Always test and refine
So you've just narrowed down who your target market is, going by the smallest market you could find who will benefit from what you have to offer. Now you need to start working on your "why", this is important because it will challenge you to think the way your ideal customers will. Jot down all the points you can think of, of why someone should buy your product, then narrow these points down to 3 or 4 key choices.
Now that you have your "why", work on incorporating that into your business.
For instance with cake pop, my "why" would be:
My cake pops are unique because they are peanut and gluten free
I offer home delivery
I offer varied designs to suit any party theme
I can now incorporate these "whys" into my branding when I start marketing to my target market. My website will host these assets, so anyone who visits my website can see that I offer convenience, by delivery the cake pops, so they don't have to worry about rushing around on the day of the party. They will also see that I can alter the colour and designs to suit their chosen party theme and their guests can be safe that each cake pop is peanut free. You need to understand the reasons why someone will part with their money and invest into your business. Once you have this figured out, you can target your audience on a greater scale.
This process doesn't just stop there once you have narrowed down your most important "why's", you need to continue evaluating and refining as you go along. Each time you do this, you need to test it, to make sure you are on the right path.
Test, test, test...
Always test your results - the worse thing is to have an idea and then run into a full launch without first testing if the concept actually works. You will find that a lot of big companies carry out testing methods when they are getting ready to launch a new product. They may conduct public testing trials by allowing the customer to use the product or service for free in return for their feedback. It hasn't changed much over many years, because you need to know what your audience thinks of what you have to offer.
Since you don't have the analytics that most bigger companies have through customer interaction, you will need to formulate another testing method.. You get up close and personal with the person you have targeted as your target audience and offer them the opportunity to test out your product or service, then get them to give their feedback. This may mean you gift them a free product in return for a review or you can offer free trial of your service for a review.
Yes, it means you are giving something away for free, but in the grand scene of things, that one feedback can turn into hundreds and thousands of sales. This is because consumers nowadays value the feedback of another customer.
If you go on Amazon, 9 times out of 10 - you will purchase a product that has the best reviews rather than the one that lacks any. Yes, this is par on par psychology and understanding how consumers think before they make a purchase.
Who is your ideal customer? Draw him or her!
This is where we really go into more depth about this person who will find your product or service uber special!
You need to think about who this person is?
How would they dress?
How old are they?
Where do they go for leisure and how often?
Where do they shop?
Where do they spend most of their time, on or offline?
What social media sites do they use?
Do they have time to spend chit chatting and if yes, what would they talk about?
Do they drink coffee or tea?
What products do they use to wash their hair?
Do they have the time to go out for pampering sessions?
I know this sounds intrusive, but once you have finished drawing what this person would look like and how they spend their time, you will begin to narrow down how your product or service could fit into their lifestyle.
I know that my cake pops will be purchased by a busy Mum rushing around trying to plan a party that her almost 7 year old has been bugging for since her 6th birthday a year ago. She would have browsed online for party themes, but plans to purchase most of them from the party shops, which means she will be in the shopping centre. I know she may go on Facebook to share her travels with her family and friends as well as shout out about her daughters upcoming birthday. She may go by word of mouth from another friend, who will recommend my cake pops, as they will go well with her Princess Tiana theme. This mother will go on my website and order 20 cake pops for delivery the day before, because it's one less thing to think about.
I can go into even more depth about her character, how often she may get her hair done or whether she bakes the cake herself or orders one, but I think you get the idea. You are dissecting your target audience and it's a powerful ability to have, because you can then test and assess various ideas to find out what one will actually stick and turn you into the Mumpreneur you want to be.
Add your findings to other areas in your business model
The final thing you need to do after carrying out the steps above, is to apply your results to other areas in your business. This is simply because, once you have discovered and fine tuned who your ideal customer is, you can use this information to improve on all other areas. Every great business is customer focused at its core, so now you know who your ideal customer is you can alter your plan of action.
Think about how your results will affect your marketing strategy, your pricing, your brands tone of voice or the images that you use online.
You can start working on who you could potentially partner with and what resources you may need in order to have the reach you need to move in the right direction. Your ideal customer isn't going anywhere and probably does the same thing everyday like clock work, so your task is to fall into the path of one of their routines, so they can see you.
From experience, I know that this entire process will need to be evaluated as your business evolves. You may start off with one target market and after a year, you'll end up in another. It is a continuous process that you will grow to enjoy; every time you discover something new, it will be very exciting to think about how to implement that new information into your business model and increase your customer reach.
Most Mumpreneurs by default market to other mothers and it isn't because they feel as though that market is familiar, so they will stick there. It's because they end up creating something to make another mothers life much easier - which is, in every busy mothers life, a win, win.