When you're a new business owner, there is so much to think about and consider. Where will you house your company? Will you have employees? What kind of products will you sell? Those decisions are important and will shape your company down the road, but one of the first decisions you need to make is deciding on who your target audience is and how to best reach them.
Data Collection and Analysis
It sounds so prestigious and scientific to read those words, but collecting data doesn't always have to be in a laboratory setting. In fact, you can do a little market research of your own from the comfort of your bed. Collecting data on your current customers and comparing your findings against your target demographic is a very valuable way to learn where you need to be improving or making changes to your current marketing campaign.
Apps and Software
If you prefer a more technical approach to things, working with computer software or applications is a quick way to gather data. Approaches like sentiment analysis and other technology compiles the data that it receives from the user and breaks it down to help you make sense of it. Although you can certainly take it upon yourself to learn this software, many marketing specialists are already well-trained and know how to use it.
You don't need fancy widgets or applications to conduct research: Simply check the social media pages of your customers. Look for patterns and commonalities:
- Do you see a certain hashtag that carries over between your customers? What about an article, a picture?
- What other businesses are your customers following? Pay close attention here: This is your competition.
- Where do you see the most social media activity? What platform seems to be the most popular for your target audience and current customers?
We've all been asked at one time or another to take a brief customer service survey. It might seem annoying at the time, but in truth, it's valuable data that can help you be a better business. You can conduct surveys in any number of ways:
- In-person, such as when customers are checking out to leave
- Through text and email (only if you have an opt-in system in place to use customer information; it's illegal otherwise)
- Via social media posts and stories
Build a Profile Using Your Findings
Now that you've gathered all this data, it's time to use it. Create a profile of your target audience to help you better understand who it is. Think about everything that you might ask on a first date to help you:
- How old are you and what is your gender?
- Did you go to college? Where and what was your major?
- Where do you work? How long have you been there?
- Have you ever been married? Do you have any children?
Sometimes it's easier to embody your whole audience as one person you've built your profile around. Even small details matter, so don't think that things like "the color green is the favorite color of 76% of those surveyed" are insignificant. When you're trying to market to a specific group, the most seemingly insignificant details matter.
Create a Marketing Campaign
Finally, all your research and data collection has reached the point that you've been waiting for: A marketing campaign. Now's your chance to put your data to use and get in touch with the people you want to be buying your product. This can be as simple or complex as you want, and oftentimes it's easier to hire a marketing consultant to help you here. If you want to save a few dollars and come up with one yourself, follow some of these tips:
Nobody wants to waste their time reading something boring or riddled with spelling mistakes. When you create your content, make it worthwhile! Include visuals like infographics that grab readers' attention, but also spell out interesting data and numbers broken down so that it's easy to understand.
Use Your Social Media Accounts
You created your accounts to reach people. Where better than a platform that has hundreds of thousands of people nearby to give you free publicity?
Partner With Other Businesses
You remember the song in Chicago that reminds everyone that when you're good to Mama, Mama's good to you. By developing good professional ties with other businesses, you are creating a mutually beneficial business relationship. The people buying your product are the ones who will keep your business afloat, so it pays in spades to know exactly who they are. Take some serious time to get to know your customers so that you know where to tweak marketing to reach the people you want as customers.