When I ask business owners who their product or service is targeted towards, a lot of people are quick to say "everyone really". Your target audience is something that is decided early on in the product or service development process but it's a decision that could come back to bite you throughout your whole business journey if it's a bit too vague.
Your target audience isn't everyone, here's why:
It all boils down to the fact that you just can't please everyone. It's that simple.
Even if your product does appeal to all sorts of different people, you will still need to target your marketing efforts to different audiences. Example: a teenager and a grandparent will have different priorities and make different buying decisions.
I can't tell you the key to success but the key to failure is trying to please everyone
- Ed Sheeran (@edsheeran)
When discovering your target audience it's important to be specific. You should think about age, job roles, likes, dislikes, income, where they live, gender, background - anything that tells you who a person is. Some people even go as far as to give their target audience a human name and imagine them as a singular person with their own story.
You might think that being specific could exclude people but here's the thing, you're not saying the only people allowed to buy from you are those that meet the exact specifics of your target audience. You're understanding your niche so you can dominate in your market and ultimately help those who can benefit from your product or service to understand how you can help them.
Looking at your current customers is the best place to start. These people are buying your products and services for a reason. Look closely, even if your current customer base seem like a mixed bunch of individuals, it's likely that they'll share one or two characteristics or interests.
If you already have a website and social media presence, take a look at your analytics. Most social media platforms have their own analytics and insights sections, if you have a web developer you can ask them for your stats or if you design your website yourself there are plenty of free options available for checking demographics, like Google Analytics. These stats will give you a good insight into what you're doing now, but if you want to redefine your target audience and change it up, then who is looking at your site now might change in future. If this is the case, try not to get too caught up in your current stats.
When it comes to small business, who we want to work with the most is important. Do you remember how back in school days you would always focus more with a teacher you liked, and mess around a bit more when you didn't get on so well with another? Now, I'm not saying we are going to mess around for those who don't fall into the "clients we love" category, we've grown up a bit since school, but I firmly believe that passion and connection breed the best possible standard of work, happier customers and happier business owners. After all, we got into this to do what we love, right?
Just like your target market isn't 'everyone', your competition isn't 'nobody' either. If you need help defining your competition, check out this post. Once you've identified your competition, analyse what they're up to and who they're targeting. Will you be targeting similar people?
This one is pretty explanatory and probably something you've already considered. If you make vegetarian food, you're unlikely to be targeting meat-eaters. Think about the problems your product or service solves, who has this problem, who wants to overcome this problem and the means they have to do so.
When you have the answers to these questions you will be well equipped to define your target market.
Now you're ready to define your people and start getting to know them. The best way to do this is by writing down everything you've discovered while thinking about the previous questions and then put some specifics in place. The above template is included in my free eBook and Workbook here.
So, who is your target audience?