We’ve all heard the saying, “You have to spend money to make money.” The problem is that spending money doesn’t always equate to making money. Sometimes despite valiant efforts, promotions fall short and fail to garner the response you expected.
So how can you avoid wasting money on ineffective marketing? Know your target audience! If you don’t know who you’re trying to reach, your chances of finding, interesting, and motivating specific responses from anyone are slim.
So how do you find your target audience?
Look at Your Current Customer Base
The easiest and most straightforward method of learning about your target market is to learn about your current customers. Invest some time in recording and analyzing information about them.
- Do they all live in the same or similar geographic areas?
- How old are they?
- Are the majority of your customers male or female?
- Which customers buy the most?
Do your best to approach this research objectively. Avoid guessing whenever possible, even if you think you already know the answer to a question. You might be surprised by what you find.
Use Government Data
You probably remember the national census that took place last year, but did you know that all the results are publicly available? As with anything that comes out of the government, the website isn’t the easiest to navigate – but the data available is so good it’s more than worth it.
Fortunately, there are tools available to help you sort through the incredible amount of data available. Click here to see a list of tools, tutorials, and information on how to get the data you need.
“The blogosphere” is a wonderful thing. Since you’re reading this, you’ve probably already discovered that blogs are excellent for learning new skills, gathering information, and problem solving. If it exists, someone has written a blog about it.
Follow blogs about your industry, and pay close attention to the comments– sometimes comments are more insightful than the blog posts they are responding to.
Read Trade Publications
If you don’t subscribe to any trade publications, you’re missing out. These articles may hold useful information designed to benefit businesses just like yours. The comments may offer a chance for you to connect with other people in your industry and form mutually beneficial relationships.
If you’re not sure what publications are relevant to you, or simply want to get some secondary research, Google Scholar is a great place to start looking. It’s like a regular Google search, but only returns scholarly, peer-reviewed articles.
Use Social Media
One of the biggest benefits of social media is the ability to quickly and cheaply conduct informal market research. Simply ask your followers whatever questions you want to know the answers to. As long as you’ve spent the time developing rapport with them, chances are they’ll be happy to help you out.
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