Creating an outstanding product or service is the first step on a long journey. In fact, few would argue that the most brilliant business endeavors are a waste of time without the right marketing strategies. Identifying your target market and marketing to them effectively can be a major challenge, and failing can have major consequences.
How Do Companies Market to Their Target Market?
Here are five tips to help you to bring focus to your marketing strategy.
- Poll Your Current Customers One of the easiest ways to find out who is buying your product or using your service is to simply ask. Of course, not everyone is willing to spend a few minutes of their time filling out a survey, so you may need to offer some sort of incentive. At this point in the game, you should have an email list going, so send out an email with a survey and a reward for completing it. Once you have this data, you can determine important information about your target demographic, such as age, gender, marital status, location, average income, and more.
- Focus on Your Niche Market One huge mistake that many businesses make is trying to appeal to everyone. While this strategy may work for companies with universal appeal – a grocery store for example – it is usually not the best strategy for most businesses. Think about what type of person uses your product or service, and market to them directly. For instance, if you are trying to open an upscale, gourmet catering business, you are better off advertising near a Whole Foods than a McDonald’s. Know your current audience, and try to gain similar leads in your primary market.
- Ask for Advice You should always be on the hunt for new ways to improve your offerings. The problem is that knowing what to do can be difficult from a business owner’s perspective. Sometimes the best way to develop new marketing strategies is to ask your customers or clients what you could do to improve. Not only does this provide you with incredibly valuable insight as to what your customers want from your company, but it also shows that you care. While you will certainly get plenty of recommendations and requests that are not feasible, you can use that data to mold your business model into something more appealing.
- Create Your Own Audience Every paved road started as dirt. If you are not having any luck finding your audience, you may want to try carving your own niche. These days, subcultures come and go in a flash, but plenty of them withstand the test of time too. Instead of showing potential clients and customers why your organization fits into the status quo, try marketing to them in a way that shows that you are creating something brand new that they won’t find elsewhere. Coming back to that gourmet catering example, the owner could research other catering businesses in the area, and make a point to offer an all-vegan menu or use only locally sourced cuisine. Find out where there is a void, and fill it with something uniquely yours.
- Be Realistic Reaching your target market is not always easy. If your current marketing strategy is not working, change it. Try not to get too stuck in your ways, and know when to shift focus into new territories. According to Joel Gross, CEO of Coalition Technologies, “While a business should know their vision, it’s also important to have concrete steps to take in order to make that vision into a reality.”
So do your homework, figure out what works, and then implement your marketing strategies when you are confident that the ROI will be worth the effort.
Carolyn Clarke is a marketing consultant and freelance writer from Brighton, MA. She loves helping small businesses to grow using her unique marketing style, and she is always looking for new ways to push the boundaries.