Who are you trying to reach?
When you are in the planning stages of a business, one of the most important things you need to do is figure out who is most likely to buy what you are selling. If the industry is new to you, you need to do some research. Check out places that offer similar items or services. What does their advertising look like? What kinds of messages are they sending out? This can be a good place to start to understand what we refer to as your target market, meaning the core group of people who will make up your customer base.
When defining a target market, there are many factors to consider. One of them is age. Will teenagers be the best audience for your product? If you are selling their music or clothing then you should mold your brand according to their likes and dislikes. Most market research includes the following age groups:
- 21 and Under
- 22 to 34
- 35 to 44
- 45 to 54
- 55 to 64
- 65 and Over
Once you identify the range of ages that would be most likely to buy your product or service, you can taper your brand and marketing messages to appeal to them.
Another factor that is important to consider in the planning stages is the average income of your target market. For example, the customers of a convenience store in an office building in the heart of the downtown business district will have a different average income than the customers of a burger restaurant across from a community college.
It is very important that the people who will have easy access to your products or services have sufficient income to easily afford your offerings. One place to find income data related to location is www.city-data.com.
Now that we have mentioned location, the much repeated mantra comes to mind: “location, location, location.” This refers to perhaps the most important factor when starting a business. When considering different locations, it is recommended that you sit in your car and observe the average traffic that passes by at various times of the day, and on different days of the week. This will help you see if the volume of people who drive by that location will be sufficient to capture potential customers. If the area does not have a lot of regular traffic, you will have to spend more on advertising to draw people there.
Also, you have to consider the characteristics of the area. Are the people who live and work nearby part of your target market? One way to find out is to visit the other business nearby and see what they offer. Ask the managers how their businesses are going. Check their prices and observe what kinds of customers they have. This will give you a general idea of whether or not your business concept would work in a particular location.
Once you define your target market and choose a location for your business, you need to know which advertising media would be the best to get the word out. Once you have a website, you can use SEO to increase your chances of being found on the web. Google Maps can help people looking for a business in your area find you. And, of course, there is always newspaper, radio, and TV.
But in our modern world, it seems that everyone spends hours a day on the Internet. You can be sure to reach a large segment of your target market through online venues. Which venue is best depends a lot on who you are trying to reach. The best thing you can do is develop a marketing plan and follow through consistently.
Defining your target market is a very important step in ensuring success for a new business. Without this critical information, you are essentially shooting in the dark. There is a chance that you may succeed without it, but why leave it to chance when you can make a powerful impact with your brand with careful preparation and a strong marketing plan.