Do you want to start a business but you are very nervous because you’re wondering what if I fail? What if my business is not a success? Well I have great news for you, you can conquer that fear by being prepared. The best way to prepare yourself for a new business venture is to first start with target market research. The great thing about doing target market research, it will give you that competitive edge and also set you up to win!
In this article, I’m going to share with you the first steps to starting a hugely successful business. According to the National Association of Small Businesses, “a decline in customer spending” is one of the biggest challenges of running a small business. The key to being able to sell anything effortlessly is to first listen and understand your customer’s need. That is why it is crucial to research your target market. Your target market is a certain group of consumers in which your product or service is aimed for. You need to know their pain, you need to know what they struggle with, you need to know what excites them; it’s even good to know where they hang out; and what their purchasing pattern is like. You need to know anything and everything about them. This is the first step before starting any business that most new entrepreneurs often skip. This is the step that will either make or break your business if not done right. This is the part that helps shape your marketing plan so that you can be wildly successful in your business; while saving yourself money and precious time.
Many new entrepreneurs often skip market research because they don’t understand what it is, the importance of it or how to even do the research. Even worse, many make the mistake of thinking that their product or service is marketable to everyone! I can almost guarantee that those who go into their business with this mindset will not last. Lets take a look at a personal example, I was conversing with a friend about her new business, which was a clothing boutique for women. She was very excited about her business idea and started doing everything from creating her website, getting the correct licenses to run her business, etc. However, she forgot the one most important thing, market research! I asked her who her target market was? She said the one thing that most new business owners tend to say, “it can be for anyone”, or in her words “for all women”. So I probed her more to find out what type of women? She proceeded in saying “all women because she has clothing that is for everyone”. As she had articles of the clothing in her arms, I thought to myself, well I wouldn’t be in her target market because I wouldn’t wear those type of clothes. I wouldn’t be comfortable in those type of clothes… So think about that for a moment, if she was selling her clothing to all women, which included me, she would barely make any sales! Here’s the thing, as a new entrepreneur it can feel scary narrowing down to a certain type of clientele, because you may feel that when you narrow down you are losing money or narrowing down your chances of making money, but the truth is, it is the complete opposite! When we are able to zero in on who are target market is, we will be able to provide them with everything they want and more! Have you ever read an ad or seen a commercial and it felt like that person was talking directly to you? Like, they seem to know your problems, pains, desires, hopes, everything you are thinking! 9 times out of 10, you buy that product or service because you felt it was meant for you. So here is the secret… the person or company behind that ad or commercial did their target market research and they zeroed in on YOU, and were able to sell to you effortlessly. Don’t be afraid to really narrow down on whom your product or service is truly meant for and learn everything you can learn about that group of consumers.
No matter how great your product is, there is always someone, a certain group of consumers that is going to need and benefit best from your product.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about two-thirds of businesses survive 2 years in business, half of all businesses will survive 5 years, and one-third will survive 10. Be the one-third that survives!
So let’s get right to it. How do you do your target market research? Below are the 3 steps to get you started so that you can know and understand your target market better than you know yourself!
First, figure out what exactly it is you need to know about your market? Here are a few questions below to get you started in the right direction:
1.Who are they? (Consider demographics, psychographics, occupations, their opinions, personalities, etc.)
What are their pains and fears?
What are their hopes and dreams?
What do they need or want?
What are the obstacles that they face in their path?
What factors influence their buying decisions? Ex. Is it the price, service, convenience, branding, etc.?
What are some ways to collect this information?
One of the greatest ways to collect this information is by speaking directly to your target audience. Just have a regular conversation with them; it does not have to be an interview. The whole idea is to listen to what they are saying,hear the words, and the language that they use.
Here are more ways to find direct words from your target market. Consider tapping into social media, for example, a facebook group or facebook page. This can work best if you are in a group where your target market hangs out or on a facebook page flooded with your market. You can ask direct questions or scan and read the questions or things other members in the group talk about. Read through all the responses. Get exact verbiage. The same can go for twitter, and or even instagram, etc. See a post that relates to your type of business or product and browse down to read the responses of your target market. There are loads of people who love venting and or sharing their accomplishments on social media. What a great platform to do research huh?! Also, social media can be used to figure out your demographic!
Lets talk about another great way, Amazon. Search a book, product, or even service that is similar to yours and scroll through the reviews. See what your potential target market is saying. What do they love about the product, what do they hate. You will find a lot of pain points, fears, dreams and hopes here!
Here is a quick example. Perhaps you are in the business of being a wardrobe stylist. So you can look up books that is related to fashion. See below an example of a book.
Also, see two reviews below. Notice how people (who can potentially be your target market) have left a review detailing what they loved and or hated about the book. This information can be a great marketing tool for you. This is good information to add to your market research!
In the example above you actually learn what your target market want, what their wishes are; what their pains are. This is great information that will serve you well in your marketing.
Next, research the competition! Don’t get intimidated. This part is to help you set yourself apart with an attractive offer! You’ll need to find out how they operate, what are their strengths and weaknesses? How about their packages, pricing, etc.?
Use Google as a resource, type in the google search engine businesses similar to yours. Check out their website, social media platforms, etc. Learn what you can about them, so that you can learn from them and stand out. Keep notes, create a SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis.
Learn how to use your SWOT to your advantage, read How To Create A Game Plan Using Your SWOT Analysis.
Now here is the thing, it is not enough to just know everything about your target market, you need to know how to use this information to your benefit. Once you have gathered all the data about your target market, you can then create your plan of action to market to them! The exact verbiage you found can be used when creating your marketing material and web copy. You want your target market to feel like you are talking directly to them! You will need to consider your new insights while pricing your service or product. You can use the information to adjust your services or products to really fit the needs of your potential customers, to stand out, and to gain more customers.
Lets take the example used in Step 1.
So you are a wardrobe stylist considering starting you styling business. Here is how you can use the information above to your benefit.
In the first review, this person wrote, “While this book will allow you to determine what type you are, it doesn’t really give you much help as far as styles of clothing or fabrics.” Right here, you see a need, this potential client likes learning her personality type in relation to how she dresses, however she wants more, she wants to know about what fabric will work best with her. “While each type may have a color palette, it doesn’t necessarily go with someone’s skin or hair color.” She also desires to know what colors will look best on her.
The second review, the potential client expresses a wish, she wishes that the author gave some examples. She also expresses what she found interesting in the book.
So how exactly can you use this to your benefit?! Work on providing this information into your program, service, product, whatever you are selling; this is what people really want to know. And capitalize on those pain points when creating your web copy, make your client feel safe like you are not just trying to “commercial” them, that you sincerely care about them and helping them find their wardrobe identity.