When you first come up with an idea or product that you’d like to turn into a business, you often picture a slew of happy customers excitedly buying from your company and spreading the word about you. But who exactly are you imagining? Discovering your target market allows you to properly build a website, deploy ad campaigns, and write content for this “person” while also ensuring your product or service is exactly what they’re in the market for. To properly launch any business, you need to discover who your ideal target market is comprised of in order to attract the people most likely to make a buying decision.
In marketing terminology, your persona is a generalization of your target market and audience. This generalization includes demographics and psychographics, such as their age, occupation, hobbies, interests, income, and more. You can have more than one persona, and developing the persona allows you to better connect with and understand your market and how your business aligns with them.
For example, a company that sells paint and supplies may target two types of people: Peter Painter, who runs a residential/commercial painting company and Tina Trends, who likes to DIY with home design. Their two personas may look a little something like this:
As you can see, the paint supply store’s target audience has a variety of customers, but this provides a generalization of who to target with their marketing efforts. You do not need to have an already established customer base in order to develop a persona. However, if you do, it allows you to pull the data of the persona directly from the customer base, as opposed to relying on market research. For those of you who are pre-launch and looking to discover who exactly fits your product or service offerings, see our suggestions below to start building your persona.
What are the Pain Points?
Pain points are issues that your potential customer base faces that your product or service solves. In the paint store example, they attack specific pain points. They provide low rates and bulk discounts for business owners who are looking to save money on supplies. They also provide unique wallpaper and colour options for the home renovator who wants to try something new. Promoting these specific portions of their business will help ensure a loyal and invested customer base for both personas.
Do You Have Product Market Fit?
Product Market Fit (PMF) is how well your product or service fits into the market. As a paint store who has just discovered they target those who run their own painting service company and those who own their own homes, you can now reach out to others who fit this description. Offer them a flyer at your store, a discount coupon, your website link, and see how they react to your business. Does your product fits their needs? Ask them how you can improve your product or service to better suit their needs. Take their feedback seriously and be sure to apply it.
How Do You Perform Market Research?
After you’ve perfected your product or service to the standards and needs of your network, it’s time to deploy surveys and tests into the real world. There are a few ways to perform market research on a shoestring budget.
- Create a low-cost social media advertisement based on everything you’ve garnered from your network and learning who your persona is thus far. What you’ve learned from your network should help you understand which platform is best for advertising. Put out a survey or content piece to drive traffic to your website to discover what your potential customers are really interested in, where you lose them, and how you keep them.
- Research your competitors to understand how and who they’re targeting, and benchmark your company against theirs. Targeting their audience on social media, with similar keywords on your website, or with search engine ads is a great way to ensure you stack up to your competition. Benchmarking allows you to measure the success of your campaigns versus theirs in order to better understand the gaps in your approach.
- Call or email your customer base and network to acquire in-depth information through surveys. Be sure to offer a small reward or incentive for participating, such as a $10 gift card to your store, a coffee chain, or a large online retailer, such as Amazon.
Build Your Brand and Save Money
Following these steps truly allows you to discover your personas, and therefore your target market, with ease. Once you understand who to aim your marketing toward, your marketing dollars will be better spent. The advertisements you create can be properly targeted to ensure your product or service is displayed to only the best potential customer. Further, your website will be created with the perfect target keywords and content as you optimize your content so search engines will be able to send the right people to your site.
Your persona helps build your brand. Listen to your customer base to discover who they really are and why your business matters to them. To further build confidence in your brand, consider incorporating now rather than later. It’s easier than you may think and it will save you time and money in the long run. Check out our collection of tips and advice on starting a new business or side hustle in our complete Startup Guide.
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