I’d like to invite you to do an exercise that I have my clients do to really get clear about who your target market is. This should help you figure out where they are, once you really know who they are.
Close your eyes and imagine who your ideal client is. Really take the time to sit with it and get a real image. I find it really helpful to have someone with you who can write it all down for you so you can just talk and describe the person.
1. Give Some to Get Some
How to find your target market: My target market is 4-8 year old kids and their parents, so I reach out to my various neighborhood Moms groups for feedback and suggestions. I also tap into the many Mom websites, and the experts at LinkedIn are also very helpful. Rather than paying for market research through a firm, I offer card samples at fairs and as SWAG bag items. Everyone loves free stuff, and most share their opinions because they love to talk and be heard. It costs me a little in cards, but the return is well worth it.
2. Spin Your SN Connections
How to find your target market: So much target market research is wasted. Save big-time by using my free, two-minute market test. Toss your "rough draft" idea onto your social networking pages in the form of a 140 word mini-blog. Just mention the new idea and watch the reaction: If nobody comments, either the idea (or the way you presented it) is a dud. If it gets instant and energetic reactions, it's a keeper worth investigating. Anything that's fast, efficient and effective... that's what I want to be doing!
3. Fish Where the Fish Are
How to find your target market: The least expensive, yet one of the more effective and efficient manners in which we garner information on our customers, and the market,is via our warranty registration cards. We ask the consumer about themselves (age, income range, type of home, profession), why they bought our product (providing them five criteria) AND why they did NOT buy competitors’ product. Most of our consumers complete and submit the cards. I have used this information to refine our products, marketing, and pricing.
4. Competitors Best Customer
How to find your target market: Use your competition to understand your target market. Identify 3 Competitors and review the strengths, weaknessses and opportunities of all aspects that relate to your business, (product,price,locattion etc.)
What did you discover about your product or service?
How are you different?
Can you identify your competitors?
How will you get in front of your customers?
This exercise will help you develop a marketing plan.
This exercise can be done for online competitors as well.
Bill Horton of BizFix
5. Survey Says!!!!!!!!!!
How to find your target market: Crowd sourcing for online research is the sweet spot of the Internet! Here's just one tactic you can use to get the scoop you need about your target market: Set-up a SHORT survey on WuFoo.com or Zoomerang.com, embed it in it's own webpage on your website somewhere (or set-up a new blogger.com blog and post it there) - and invite people to fill it out through Facebook ads (very effective & CHEAP!), ask megaTwitter people to retweet your survey, add it to your email signature, etc.
6. Sponsor Giveaways!
How to find your target market: If you know the demographics of your target market, find influential blogs that already communicate with the market. If they offer popular giveaway programs, sponsor one by offering a sizeable prize with an entry requiring a visit to your site and a comment about what the entrant liked (or not) about what you offer. I design jewelry and target hip moms. By sponsoring a contest on a "mom" site with 50,000 followers, I secured 500+ comments from my "customers", a gold mine of research data.
7. Talk to Customer..
How to find your target market: Best & trusted method is to discuss your idea/product/research with everyone around you. They are customers by all means. Another way is to send a small write up on your product with structured questionnaire of not more than 1 page to your friends.
I have not used but getting a chain reaction on Facebook or another social site where you are active could be a good platform.
Talk to as many people as possible. May be 1-2 question each to different set of persons thus compiling an insight.
8. Researching Tips 101
How to find your target market: Some of the best tips I've found to research my audience is Google, Alexa, Twitter, and just plain following the dotted line to see where it takes you. With Google, set up Google Alerts under your topic and pay attention to where it leads. With Twitter, set up Searches under your topic and throughout the day check to see who's posting. Follow the good ones. With Alexa, find the appropriate sites where your audience is and see who's connected to them. These lead right to where you need to be.
9. Impromptu Focus Groups
How to find your target market: One of my favorite methods of market research is the Impromptu Focus Group. I peddle cosmetics so I love going into an area where there are women who would purchase my product. I offer a sample in exchange for feedback or I just ask for opinions on what they would want in the product and whether or not they would buy and why. I've learned to be prepared with samples and full size products if possible.
10. Easier Than You Think
How to find your target market: This can be easier than you think. Our advice: Go Back; Magazine It; "Tried & True".
Go Back. Do a survey with your existing customer base or a customer base similar to yours. You can use SurveyMonkey for free.
Magazine It. Identify a magazine that fits your target market. Ask them, or find a colleague, who'll let you know the statistics and demographics on their subscribers.
Tried & True. Use Google or Bing. Once you have some demographics, a tried and true search should turn up more.
11. Write about it.
How to find your target market: I have found the quickest way to connect with my target market is to write about them. Contact people you know you would like to connect with. Tell them (truthfully) that you are writing an article on their industry and you are seeking their expertise. Often this gives you permission to talk to them about what their industry is doing, the challenges it faces and what needs they might possess. Continue using them as resources for future articles and build relationships.
12. No Target No Sale
How to find your target market: Finding your market first takes a very clear descriptive idea who and what that is. Every market group also has sub groups, define them.
Now do key word searches on LinkedIn. This will take several runs to sort out which words work best and bring up the best prospects.
Contact, link to them, sell your stuff??NO!!
Find the groups they are in and join the conversation, post regularly and often, follow them and they may follow you back. Most will ask you to link. Converse first to sell.
13. Hang out with your customers!
How to find your target market: Twitter: Go to Search.Twitter.com and type in keywords related to your product or service. Then "follow" potential customers and collect information relative to their "manner of thinking" and "manner of behaving." If appropriate, engage them in a Twitter dialogue and ask relevant questions related to what you are selling.
Also - don't forget to survey existing customers to learn: 1) Why they chose you over your competitors, and 2) What main benefits they got from buying from you.
14. Let Google Recruit
How to find your target market: You can often use Google Adwords to recruit survey or focus group respondents for much less than a traditional recruiting service. You can even use custom landing pages to allow A/B testing of ideas, show sample advertising, or measure responses to planned promotions, packaging, etc. Works with B2B or B2C. Best if you have a market research professional help you design your first foray into this arena, but even that won't cost a lot. Worth trying because it gets directly to your target audience.
15. Library Resources Priceless!
How to find your target market: Your local library should have the online reference guide called: Reference USA
You can search your target demographic (both consumers and companies) by location, income, size of business, etc. and the best part is, it’s FREE! You can then download the information onto an excel spreadsheet which makes it convenient to merge the information to create mailing labels.
It has been a priceless resource for my company, and again it’s FREE!!!!
16. 3 Niche ID Databases
How to find your target market: Unless you're Zuckerberg, Case or Jobs, never create the market for your product--improve on an existing/active niche market. My top 3 favorite tips/sources: 1) How big is the target market? Search lists.nextmark.com. Enter keywords to see if mailing lists already exist. The bigger the lists, the more potentially lucrative your idea. 2) How many Twitterers cover your market? Check Twellow; 20+ with 1,000+ followers is good. 3) Find future competitors at referenceusa.com via library databases.
17. Start with your own sales data
How to find your target market: Identify customers that paid top dollar, made quicker decisions, were repeat buyers, generate desirable referrals. Identify the events that drove demand for your solutions. Determine what distinguishes these customers from the rest. Profile common characteristics. Identify other market segments that may benefit from your solutions. Conduct interviews to validate that none are more promising. If you find a segment that looks better, verify that your offer is better than the competition's.
18. Consumer insight in an instant
How to find your target market: Real-life focus groups are happening on forums, blogs, wikis, branded communities and social networks. Listen in on and participate in niche communities like CafeMom to learn more about a specific target. Find a platform that aggregates responses across social, video sharing and micro blogging sites such as socialmention.com. And if you’re working for a well-known brand, or are just curious about what words come to mind when a person sees the McDonald’s or MTV logos, check out brandtags.net.
Thanks to: Olga Kazakova.
19. Narrow Your Target First
How to find your target market: Most small businesses don't narrow their target enough. In researching things like keywords, you have to "nano-target" the customer.
If your target is "health-conscious buyers" you're not done. What are their demographics? Age, sex, income level, education, etc.? What are their likes and dislikes, etc?
Many small businesses are afraid to narrow their target. They think, "If I do that, I'll miss many customers.
So develop several targets - research & build marketing campaigns for each!
20. Best things in life are free
How to find your target market: In most markets your media (TV, radio, newspaper) all pay big bucks to have qualitative research. Not only will they provide this for free, but they put it together for you. Ask to define your target market and what they like to do, events they attend, and media habits. This will help you determine where to spend your marketing budget and your promotional efforts, ie if baseball is big, put together baseball gifts or do ticket give-aways w/register to win to collect names for future marketing.
21. People Love Freebies
How to find your target market: Set up a short survey somewhere like Kwik Surveys, and offer an incentive - try a coupon, access to a report or a low-cost sample. Spread the link everywhere: Twitter, Facebook, Craigslist, and forums, and add it to your email signature! Tweet some questions to get conversations started, and don't forget to include a hashtag so you can search and keep track of answers. No one can resist clicking popup image in Twitter, so a question that asks people to compare or judge is priceless.
22. Be Careful What You Ask For
How to find your target market: Researching your market is very important, but be careful about methods that are too quick and too cheap. A large company with national or international reach should conduct a well-designed quantitative research study to determine its targets, but a good search of published data may provide better value for smaller enterprises. Using social media or quickie online research can lead you in the wrong direction and, in the end, waste more time and money than you would spend doing it right.
23. #Hashtag Toward A New Market
How to find your target market: In PR, we're constantly looking for new ways to find and reach our clients' target markets, and social media has become an integral part of our strategy. With tools like Twitter, we can see what publications other industry influencers are reading and what topics they're keeping up with, especially through hashtags. Hashtags are also great for events to see what's being talked about and who's attending, with the ability to join the conversation, thereby instantly reaching a whole new community.
24. Free Info-Industry Assoc.
How to find your target market: The quickest and cheapest market research is to find industry associations for the markets youre interested in. They typically create market reports every year and offer them up for free.
Also possible to search on google by document type. Helpful if you know the title of a expensive report. Search by document type and title may uncover a report someone paid for and accidently made available online.
25. Leveraging Magazine Research
How to find your target market: Major publications put a great deal of research into identifying their target audience. They make this research available in the advertiser's section of their website. Advertiser packets are usually available for download and are extremely detailed including such information as the gender, occupation, income, location, and interests of their readers. Many trade and professional organizations provide the same information, making it easy to quickly gather and collect data on your target market.
26. Where the Hell is my Market?
How to find your target market: The first step for researching your target market is to pinpoint how your company is different from your competitors. Online tools like Analytics and AdWords are useful to all companies but it is crucial to know how to apply those tools to incorporate the individual goals of your company. There is no one size fits all approach to researching your target market. It begins with establishing your company’s own imperatives and then finding out how to apply the tools that are available to you.
27. Use Student Consultants!
How to find your target market: More and more businesses are tapping into university / student consulting groups to address ongoing needs such as conducting focus groups, target market research, new market entry analysis, and social media best practices.
Through a capstone, senior, or even regular course, students work in teams and carry out a project for a real company. Rather than solving a hypothetical or historical case, students solve real problems and businesses tap into fresh talent.
28. Reaching Your Ideal Client
How to find your target market: The first step you must take to reach your Ideal Client is knowing who they are, its often not who you think it is or maybe selling too.
Knowing them you will: 1) choose the right strategies to reach them 2) know exactly what to say to get them to buy 3) reduce your sales/marketing costs 4) increase their lifetime value and your chance for success
Not knowing them will: 1) cost more money/take more time 2) make you less successful 3) add to your stress