Your small business finally has a registered ABN, the design work is complete, you’ve secured an airtight budget and your product is in the polishing stages. Now you’ve hit a crucial question as a startup: “Who’s going to buy what I’m selling?”
Before beginning the social media frenzy, and before even creating those social media channels at all, it’s best to ask yourself, “Who do I want to buy my product?” To answer this, you’ll need to establish a target audience and create a customer profile. It’ll be exceptionally helpful in planning your future market strategy so that it all works harmoniously and speaks directly to your audience. Below, we’ll ask and answer three necessary questions you should be asking to help identify who your customers are and what they need.
- Who is the audience?
Your first step is ascertaining who buys your product. If teenagers don’t buy whatever it is you sell, don’t waste precious time and energy at the beginning of your small business’s existence trying to fit into a new and unrelated audience.
Search your product. Be thorough in looking through everything that comes up. This includes social media pages, reviews, forums, blog posts, articles, videos, etc. Who is engaging with your product? That’s who you’re selling to. Take notes on how old they are, where they’re located, how much they usually spend, and so on.
An important factor to consider in this process is also your audience’s vernacular. They may all speak English, but do people who buy products like yours generally speak formally or informally? Are they artistic and imaginative or direct and straightforward? Do they prefer an image they can see and scroll past, or do they enjoy a video? Are they jargon-heavy or colloquial? Your audience will not engage with you if you aren’t relatable.
This information is what will be collected to create a customer profile. Now all you need to do is follow it!
- Where is the audience?
Now that you’ve got a customer profile in mind, you need to do some research on where they are. You’ve obviously located them quite easily when searching for your specific product. That’s the equivalent to finding them at home and home is easy. The key is following their footprints to see where else they go. Where do their digital footprints take them? This translates to other interests trending across the pack.
In addition, it also helps to note which pages or groups your competitors are advertising on or promoting from their own pages. If they’ve been in business for a long time, it’s useful to harness their consumer knowledge by identifying the channels they use. This will help you build your own customer base while also exploiting holes in their reach they may have overlooked.
Obviously, following every page and advertising on them is far too difficult, so narrow your search down to pages that have over 5,000 followers. These pages are indexed by Facebook as a target audience unto themselves which means they can be searched for as a niche on their own. Save these pages and use them to spread your product once it’s time to launch.
- What does the audience need?
You made the product you’re about to sell because it answers a question or fills a void in a consumer’s life. It is a solution. Some small business owners think this is enough when it isn’t. Having a solution to a problem in your product is a great start, but these days, there’s a solution to almost every problem. It isn’t enough to sell a skateboard when skateboards already exist. So, what to do?
Complaints! The complaints, negative and even neutral reviews on a competitor’s product is exactly where you should be looking when polishing off your finished product for sale. What do other people hate about your competitors? This is marketing gold. Not only are you now able to ensure your product doesn’t have these problems, you can also tailor your advertisements and make the statement that your product will not fail the way these unsatisfied customers are used to. This is called targeting pain points and it’s an essential part of consumer research.
There’s a beginner’s client base in the complaints sections alone just waiting for someone to come along and solve the problem your competitor created when they tried to solve a different problem in the first place. Take advantage of it!
So, there you have it! We hope these three simple questions have helped you consider alternative methods for identifying and locating your target audience. For an extra leg-up, we’ve included a list of questions you can ask yourself to check every detail off your hunt for the ideal customer profile. Good luck!
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