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Who is my target audience? This is one of the most important questions any business owner can ask themselves.

All businesses and individuals need to understand who their target audience/market is, and identifying that target audience is a critical step in developing any business plan. Whatever your industry, business model, or niche, target audiences can be difficult to identify without thorough research. 

Identifying the target market for your business can be a unique challenge. No two businesses will have the same target market. Transportation services will have a very different target market to bars, cafes, electricians, or architects, for example. So knowing how to find your target audience and why is more important than ever.

Why worry about the target market for your businesses?

You’ve built the foundation of your business by investing in the right team, finding the best business premises, setting up your office administration and finding your first customers. Those are the main priorities, but what’s next? 

Finding the right customers instead of fielding calls from people looking for services you don’t provide is crucial. When the target market for your business hasn’t been clearly identified, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time. You’ll be marketing to uninterested people, taking calls from dead-end leads, and feeling unsure of how to grow your business.

You want to get the right people calling you or visiting your website, and you want to maximise your profits through higher-quality leads. So here’s what you need to know about identifying target audiences for businesses and services of all kinds.

Who is my target audience?

Your target audience is those potential customers with a problem that only your company can solve. You have the knowledge, equipment and superior customer service that attracts them to you rather than your competitors. These are the potential customers you want to successfully market to become loyal and repeat customers.

Yet figuring out who your target audience is and where they are located is a bit more complicated. You need to analyse the benefits of your services, your price, the location of your target audience, the target audience’s demographics and who your competition is targeting. This will help you decide the market you should advertise to by highlighting who requires your services the most. 

Sometimes, this can be extremely straightforward. For example, say you run a cafe in Antrim. With that narrow focus, it’s clear that your marketing will need to target a local audience using the right tone of voice, but you also have to consider demographics. Are your customers more likely to be the elderly popping in for breakfast or the young people looking for a quick snack before heading to the pub? 

The target audience for art exhibition facilities and the target market for bars will be very different. They’ll require different tones of voice when communicating, different marketing messages, and a range of other special offers. The more you know about your target audience, the easier it will be to communicate with them.

However, for companies with a wider scope, identifying the target market will require a little more work.

Evaluate the benefits and limitations of your service

You might think that most of the work to identify the target market for your business will be about looking outward. While that is part of it, your first step is to look inwards at the bare bones of your business.

Sit down on your own or with your team, and create a list of all the features of the service you provide. That could be the best breakfast in Belfast, the largest collection of pop art in Ireland, or specialist plumbing training.

With this approach, you make it easier to answer these questions:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • Who are your customers?

Often, the two questions have different answers. That’s because you may have a  few customers that buy from you regularly but who aren’t your target audience. Figure out all the types of customers that would benefit from the service you provide and the limitations of your service.

Who are your current customers?

However, your current customers, when aligned with your target audience, are a great way to find the right market to target in your advertising and promotional strategies. They already show an interest in your business or service, and you have constantly fulfilled their greatest needs. See what each customer has in common based on their demographics, interests and other characteristics.

You’re aiming to create a customer profile that acts as a representation of your most consistent customers. Remember that your ideal customer profile will look very different if you run a B2C or B2B company. Take your time to develop as complete an understanding as possible of the benefits and methods of targeting the perfect audience for your business.

Who is the competition targeting?

Whatever your industry or business type, you will have competitors, but your competition can further define your target niche. You will want to focus on the people that the competition is not targeting, even as they strive to bring in new customers. Take a look around, and you’ll find groups of potential customers that are being overlooked.

You know your business and market better than anyone, so you are best placed to begin searching for those pockets of new profitable customers. See who’s being overlooked and you’ll have a ready-made target market for bars, cafes, painters and decorators, or estate agent services. 

What are the target audience’s demographic and psychographic traits?

Demographic and psychographic traits help you define customer specifics and their personality traits. That will help you identify why they want your services and what pain points will bring them to you. Demographics include age, income, location, gender, education, occupation and marital/family status. 

Psychographic traits dig deeper into a person’s characteristics, such as their lifestyle, interests, hobbies, values, personality and behaviours when seeking services.

Interestingly, most of the information is at your fingertips, so it’s not a stretch to say that you can do this yourself. So if you’re working hard to identify a target market for bars (for example) in your area or other types of service industry, it’s vital that you understand the difference between demographic and psychographic traits. Learn how best to compile the data you need to make smart marketing and growth decisions.

Final thoughts on finding the target market for your services

You’d be surprised how few companies take the time to undertake market research tasks. By taking a closer look into your company and the traits of your customers, you will be able to figure out your target audience. Then you have a better chance of placing your marketing strategies and marketing budget toward advertising to the people who will purchase your services and increase your profits.

Without understanding your target audience, you’re likely missing out on easy opportunities to attract more customers. Those customers may rely on subpar services or struggle to find you when they need what you provide. When you know the exact target market for your business model, your company has a much greater opportunity to attract new customers. And that’s step one towards growing your business.

Of course, as your business grows, your finances will become more complicated to manage. If you want to ensure that your money management is perfect, contact the team at Big Red Cloud today to find out more about our free accounting software trial and unparalleled support. With your target audience identified and your cash flow seamless, brand growth could be easier than you think.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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