David Bater

[Checklist] How to Identify Your Target Market

[Checklist] How to Identify Your Target Market


Before undertaking any marketing campaign, you must first know how to identify your business target market. Furthermore, be able to describe your ideal customer or client in great detail. Here are five steps to identify your target market.

Also, understanding your market is the core basis of any successful small business implementing a strategic approach to their sales and marketing. Such as the Customer Lifecycle Marketing Strategy.

5 Steps to Identify Your Target Market 

There are 5 steps to follow to identify your market. But, take your time and get specific and ask yourself open questions. The 5 open questions that will help you learn how to survey your target market.

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. What do they want to buy?
  3. Why would they buy from you?
  4. Where can you reach them?
  5. How do they prefer to receive communication?

1) Who is your target audience?

Describe in great detail your ideal customer either, do this exercise from scratch. Or, better still, if you have them, survey your loyal long-term customers to find out this information.

Also, remember the 80/20 rule – look for the rule rather than the exceptions. Furthermore, you may have several distinct target market segments. These target market segments are sub-segments of your main market.

Obvious segments are:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Interests

Once you have your segments identified, create a customer profile for each part. These customer segment profiles are also known as buyer personas. So, in that case, you will need to do this exercise for each persona group. 

Create Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are fictional, generalised representations of your ideal customer segments. They help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better.  And, make it easier for you to tailor the content of your marketing to the specific needs, behaviours, and concerns of different groups (segments).

The most potent buyer personas are based on in-depth market research as well as on insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.).

Therefore, depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas. Or, as many as 10 or 20. (Note: If you’re new to personas, start small! You can always develop more personas later if needed.)

Negative Personas

Whereas a buyer persona is a representation of an ideal customer, a negative persona is a representation of who you don’t want as a customer. This negative persona could include, for example, users who are too advanced for your product or service. Also, students who are only engaging with your content for research/knowledge. Or, potential customers who are just too expensive to acquire (because of a low average sale price, their inclination to churn, or their unlikeliness to purchase again from your company.)

How to use Personas 

At the most basic level, personas allow you to personalise your marketing for different segments of your audience. For example, instead of sending the same lead nurturing emails to everyone in your database, you can segment by buyer persona and tailor your messaging according to what you know about those different personas.

If you take the time to create negative personas, you’ll have the added advantage of being able to segment out the “bad apples” from the rest of your contacts, which can help you achieve a lower cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer.

Open questions to help you understand “who is your target audience”.

  1. Who is the user of your product or service?
  2. Who is the decision-maker who says yes or no to the purchase of your product or service? 
  3. What is their GENDER, i.e. what % of buyers are male, what % are female?
  4. What is their INCOME?  
  5. What is their occupation?
  6. What are their other INTERESTS?
  7. What is their GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION, i.e. where do they live/work?
  8. What time OF THE YEAR do they think about buying your product or service?
  9. What  LENGTH OF TIME do they take from initial inquiry to confirm their purchase?

2) What is it that they want to buy?

Remember, people buy to solve problems, i.e., they do not want to buy a power tool. They decide to put up a shelf, which requires holes in the wall. So, they need holes in their wall. Therefore, their problem is, they have no holes  – the solution, purchase and learn to use a power drill.

Open questions to help you identify their needs.

  1. What  NEEDS do they want to fill? 
  2. What  PROBLEMS or FRUSTRATIONS  do they have?
  3. What are the 3 KEY AIMS  do they have when using your product or service?
  4. What do they worry about when using your product or service?
  5. What is the motivation to buy? Are you ADDING PLEASURE or REMOVING PAIN

3) Why would they buy from your business?

Understanding why your customers buy from you is important because knowing why will help you understand what is unique about your products or business. Therefore, you are able to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

For example, if you own a car dealership and you are the only car dealer within a 50-mile radius that is authorised to sell new Audis, that’s unique by location.

So, what makes you unique?

Open questions to help you determine why your customers buy from you.

  1. Why buy from your business rather than the competition?
  2. What are the unique aspects of your business that add value to their purchase? 

4) Where can you reach them?

Open questions to help you understand how to reach your target customers

  1. Where do they gather together in the highest numbers?
  2. What other businesses or organisations are already dealing with your target market?
  3. How can you collaborate to obtain/build a list with that market?

5) How does your audience segments prefer to receive communication?

Open questions to help with your segmented audiences preferred communication method

  1. How does your audience prefer to communicate? 
  2. What do they read?
  3. To what do they listen?
  4. To what forms of communication are they open?

So, there you have it—a checklist of the five steps to identify your target market. And the list of questions to ask yourself to learn how to identify your ideal customer. Also, create your perfect customer(s) persona(s).

Go for it.




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