By Shea Eckert

When starting a business, SMB owners often struggle to find their business’s correct target market in the early stages. What is a target market, you ask? A target market is a narrowed-down audience by which each company is most likely to impact or attract. Members of each market are typically classified by specific factors that distinguish them from other groups. The target market of a small business should be the primary reach of each marketing campaign; however, each campaign should not entirely exclude other existing markets.

Discovering your target audience is one of the most important things a small business owner can do in the early stages of a business. This allows the business to market its products and gain more customer awareness successfully. Small business owners can research their target audience themselves or hire a company to analyze their audiences.

Small business owners who choose to research their target audience themselves should consider the following key pieces of information:

Analyze Your Market Geography

Every small business owner should analyze their market. The geography of your market – local, regional, national or global dramatically impacts how you will market and how much funding you will need to market. Is your service or product something that can be used anywhere, or is it seasonally driven? Snow skiing apparel and equipment would make sense year-round in certain climates and geography, while the market might reduce in warmer temperatures to just those known to be regular skiers. Since we are focusing on SMBs in this blog, let’s break it down more. A dog boarding kennel is probably only applicable to persons a certain distance from the location. Thus, you might draw your geographical boundary for that kind of enterprise as a 20-mile radius.

Analyze Your Competition

You’ve set your geographical boundaries; now it’s time to analyze the competition within those boundaries. It is crucial to study your competitors and look for missed opportunities, competitive advantages and points of difference within them, allowing for your business to excel.

Analyze Your Current Customers

Small business owners should consider their products and services and the customers who purchase them frequently. Frequent customers can be narrowed down into groups by examining demographics and psychographics.

Examining customer demographics is done by researching factors including gender, age, income, level of education and employment. Narrowing down to the most common demographics will allow for more effective marketing on a limited budget.

Examining customer psychographics is done by researching attitudes, interests, purchase behavior and social media usage.

Enact Your New Marketing Plan

After defining your target market, you can now consider how to market your business in a way that will most effectively and efficiently get your message to your audience. Whether traditional media such as television and radio advertising or digital media such as Google Ads or Facebook Advertising, you want to reach the maximum number of people in your core target audience for the least amount of money.

Analyze what Resonates with your Audience

After drafting your marketing message, be sure to evaluate how it will affect your audience. You do not want to waste money or time marketing with creative that is not successful – you want to strike an emotional chord with your target audience.