Identifying the Perfect Target Market for Your Small Business

Who does your small business marketing plan target? What does your target do with their time?

Small business marketing centricity gives your local business access to customers who need your product. To become a targeted marketing machine, finely tuned to your customers, it’s important that you realize who they are as people.

As a small business, you have the benefit of being able to know your real customers, or target market, with little added research. Small business marketing plans should differ from big business, so if you’ve been copying the big names in your niche, you might be mistaken.

Scenario: A 50-year-old man named Bob walks into your store to pick up something quick for lunch.

Did he buy his lunch at your store because…

A) He’s 50 years old

B) He’s a man

C) A reason that I will describe in length throughout this article

Right, C!

Is your customer a white male who is 50 years old? Maybe, but his demographics didn’t dictate his decision to buy from you. His purchases are led by personality and purchasing behaviour. So why do some small businesses market to a 50-year-old white man, rather than marketing to Bob?

Bob’s rushed. You noticed he wears blue coveralls, so you assume he works in the factory nearest you, which means he has a very limited lunch break with no time flexibility.

Too often, small businesses are wrongfully focusing on topical demographics, when the psychographics are begging to be catered to. Psychographics drive purchases since demographics are a good way to find the people with these psychographics.

The topical demographics are a no-brainer when building a marketing plan, but the in-depth demographics and psychographics aren’t always so obvious.

Who your customers are, is demographics. Why they buy your product, is psychographics.

Topical demographics questions are:

  • What is their age
  • What is their gender
  • What is their ethnic background

You wouldn’t market flowers to a 10-year-old boy. Unless it’s mother’s day and you know the boy has a smart dad.

Questions about in-depth demographics are:

  • What is their marital status
  • What is their income
  • Where do they work

You wouldn’t market premium wedding rings to a married man without a job.

Psychographics include:

  • What does he or she do in their “free time”
  • Why do they buy a product (Cost, convenience, quality etc.)
  • What causes do they care about

You can’t market meat to a vegan.

You might wonder how you would get this information from a customer? Easy. Offer them something for free in exchange for their answers to a questionnaire with similar queries. Your best customers will be happy to help.

Collect this information and create a character that has more personality. Try creating at least three main groups of customers with this exercise.

For example: 

Your target market:

40-55 year old women with high income levels, who make purchases near their homes, and have a family with little free time.

Becomes:

Beth is middle-aged, drives an Audi, purchases local, works out daily and has 4 kids whose sporting events fill her free time.

Why should frame your target market like this? By giving her a name we can think of her as a real person even though we’re technically representing a bigger group. Personalization is what makes highly targeted marketing work. You sell your products or services to people!

Using what we know about customers can help find a problem your target market is facing in your industry. Your small business marketing plan should aim to solve these problems.

Let’s think back to Bob’s lunch dilemma to craft a highly targeted idea to generate more business.

  • He works in a nearby factory with short lunch hours
  • The problem for the employee is that they can’t wait for food on their limited lunch hour
  • The problem for the employer has been tardiness after lunch

As a small business, what do you do? You solve other people’s problems! Talk to Bob’s employer and ask to organize a sandwich day once a week. In the morning you drop off an order list and prepare their lunches shortly before their break to deliver to them to their factory.

Their problems are solved

  • Your existing customers are going to appreciate you saving them time on their lunch
  • Your new customers will find convenience in having their lunches delivered instead of searching out options
  • The employer will be happy their employees are on-time after their lunch breaks

By identifying your customer in-depth, you will be able to solve their problems and make your business work better for them.

You may think a small business marketing plan is useless because word of mouth is how your business grew originally. Forgetting a small business marketing plan is like sawing a wood by hand. It may work, but a power tool will cut the time it takes. Actions that show your customer that you care about them, make your customers want to talk about you.

They will understand that you care about them. Consumers love to share their favourite businesses with their friends and family. So get on a personal with your customers in your marketing today.

For help finding your target market, or creating a highly targeted marketing plan for your small business contact contact@connorgraham.ca. I can help your customers find you.

I’m happy to announce an extension of this blog I’ve been working on. At the Startup Line will interview business owners and company founders for a peek inside the brain of entrepreneurs of all levels.

If you, or anyone you know would like to join me for an interview please send and email to contact@connorgraham.ca with your business name and industry.

Thank you for reading this. If you liked this article please do me the favour of sharing it. I greatly appreciate your support.

Connor Graham,

Marketing consultant, blogger and personal performance strategist.

Connor Graham

Hi, I'm Connor Graham. I help others achieve financial freedom and self-improvement through my tips, ideas and insight. Combining my knowledge of real estate, finance and marketing, I describe creative ways to manage your finances and invest in yourself.

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