April 5, 2010

Putting the Cart After the Horse: Finding Your Target Market

Filed under: Market Research — Tags: , — Meredith @ 6:33 am

I recently wrote a post about how it’s important to direct your marketing efforts towards your target customer demographic. Some readers said they weren’t sure who their target market was, so today’s post provides tips on how to figure that out.

1. Google it

Don’t have any clue who your target market is or what they’re interested in? It’s time to start Googling. Start by searching for what you sell. Let’s say it’s stained glass wind chimes for example. Pay attention to who else sells wind chimes and what kinds of other items they sell. Maybe you’ll notice new agey sites sell them or gardening sites. Also pay attention to what types of blogs are writing stories about wind chimes. Are they home decor blogs? Are sound engineer blogs discussing them? All of these pieces help you identify target markets. By the time you’re done you might break your target market up into:
– New Agers
– Gardeners
– Interior Decorators/Designers
– New Home Owners
– Musicians

Now you have a little more direction on where to advertise, what to blog about (gardening, interior decorating, etc.), and what types of media to send pitches to.

2. Read all about it
Start reading publications that talk about the types of items you sell. If you sell corsets, start reading blogs and magazines about steampunk, goth, bondage, etc. If you sell mosaic wall hangings start reading Dwell or Better Homes and Gardens. You want to consume the same materials your target market’s consuming so you understand them better and understand their interests. If you don’t know what your customers read, go back to step 1 or try out steps 3 and 4.

3. Ask your customers
If you want to know more about your customers, you should ask them. Sites like polldaddy.com make is easy and free to create surveys, so go make one. Ask past customers where they like to buy their clothing, what magazines they read, what web sites they visit, where they live, how much their household income is, what gender they are, how old are they. Ask questions that will get you a clearer understanding of who exactly is buying your products and what they’re interested in.

4. Spy on the competition
Your competitors’ websites provide a wealth of market research. Visit the sites of competitors that are successful and see what they’re blogging about. See where they’ve gotten press. Follow them on Twitter and see what they tweet about. All of these pieces should help you put together a clearer picture of who buys what you sell and how to get their attention.

Still stuck? Visit my consulting services page. I can help you come up with a personalized plan to research your market or do market research for you.

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  1. […] Putting the Cart After the Horse: Finding Your Target Market – Four steps to figure out just who it is you should be marketing to. […]

    Pingback by business buzz 4-10-10 « craftMBA.com – business thinking for designers & makers — April 10, 2010 @ 4:09 am

  2. Great ideas! I hadn’t thought of doing surveys

    Comment by cindylouwho2 — April 14, 2010 @ 11:45 am

  3. Reading number one may seem so obvious, but I’ve never thought of it! Sometimes you are too close to your work. Thanks for the tips!

    Comment by Heidi — April 14, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

  4. You can also do a google search and find out which sites are linking to your competition.

    site:(domain of competition)

    Comment by Zachary Buckholz — April 14, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

  5. This is very good info to have, thank you for giving me a direction on how I can know who my target market is, and where I can find them. ~crossing my fingers they find me~

    Comment by kim bauer — April 14, 2010 @ 2:05 pm

  6. I have a vague idea who mine are, but I need to dig deeper.

    Comment by Lindsay May — April 14, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

  7. My buyers are collectors and fashionistas. I have heard about following twitter before. I guess I should find my twittering kind and start following them. Good incentive to do so!

    Comment by Victoria Rickert — April 14, 2010 @ 4:26 pm

  8. It’s funny how you get a feel for your demographic, but making a presence where they are is really key. The idea about the survey was brilliant!

    Comment by Carla — April 14, 2010 @ 4:48 pm

  9. Love this, love this, love this.

    Thank you!

    Off to Polldaddy to create a survey…:)

    Comment by nicole — April 14, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

  10. Great advice!! Thanks.

    Jason Jobst
    The Fresh Focus

    Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/JasonJobst
    FB: http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Jobst/1151332016
    TW: http://twitter.com/jasonjobst

    Comment by Jason Jobst — April 14, 2010 @ 6:18 pm

  11. Thanks for the great tips! Tip number one is so helpful – I use Google lots for research but have never used it like you suggested.

    Comment by Mary Ellen — April 14, 2010 @ 8:11 pm

  12. Thank you very much !! Great info here — I like the survey idea (it sounds like fun to do, would gather good data, and would be fun for customers to participate), and also the idea of #4 above, Googling to see which sites are linking to my competition.

    (Not that I “have” any competition, she says hopefully…. with fingers crossed.)

    Terrific — thanks again!

    Comment by Sheryl — April 14, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

  13. Great Article!! Thanks for the information, we have a lot of techniques, but there’s always more to learn, I really appreciate you taking the time to share this information.

    Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Wallpusher
    FB: http://www.facebook.com/wallpusherguitars
    TW: http://twitter.com/wallpusher

    Comment by Matthew Rogers — April 14, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

  14. Thanks, I have recently started a whirlwind of activity – with as much purpose to getting seriously organized for my growing success to working on separating out those tasks, some of which you have outlined here…

    Thank you for sharing your invaluable information, so let me get crackin’ and by retweeting your post here!

    Comment by Leah aka Divaliscious on Etsy — April 15, 2010 @ 6:50 am

  15. Excellent tips! I hadn’t thought of surveys. Off to google rubber stamps….

    Comment by kim jones — April 15, 2010 @ 7:01 am

  16. Thanks so much for your tips. Being new to Etsy
    you keep me from getting overwhelmed and lead
    me in a direction. That is wonderful!

    Comment by Sally Brock — April 15, 2010 @ 10:06 am

  17. great tips. New ways for targeting market and never even thought about it this way

    Comment by Nnenna — April 15, 2010 @ 10:31 am

  18. Thanks for the advice. It helped me organized my thoughts. I will make this my priority.

    Comment by Blessed Republic — April 15, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

  19. Brilliant tips! Sometimes you lose focus on what you really want to do and where you want to go but this article puts you right back on track.

    I will file this article and refer to it from time to time!

    Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Bijouxlulu

    Comment by Bijouxlullu — April 16, 2010 @ 12:32 am

  20. Thank you. Every little piece of advice is greatly appreciated and helpful:)

    Comment by Adriana aka Desert Press — April 16, 2010 @ 6:23 am

  21. This is a very helpful article- thanks so much for taking the time to write for us! 🙂

    Comment by Rebecca Schneider — April 16, 2010 @ 7:00 am

  22. This is so helpfulI’m still trying to pin point my target market. Thank you

    Comment by Debra — April 16, 2010 @ 4:02 pm

  23. Very helpful. Need to work on my target market. Will visit polldaddy.com. Thank you

    Comment by Mary — April 16, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

  24. Thank you for the great advice!

    Comment by Heather — April 16, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

  25. Thank you I always read your articles and find them so very helpful.

    Comment by Les — April 17, 2010 @ 7:47 am

  26. Many thanks for a really stimulating article which will really help me to focus my efforts

    Comment by emedee silver — April 17, 2010 @ 9:13 am

  27. Aloha, This was a blessing and JUST what I needed. A warm mahalo for the straight forward ideas.

    Comment by Sam Hardin — April 17, 2010 @ 11:26 am

  28. Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Lynn Ann — April 19, 2010 @ 7:42 am

  29. Thank you, this is exactly the info I was looking for.

    Comment by nancy monsebroten — April 20, 2010 @ 5:10 am

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    Pingback by Smaller Box :: Blog :: People Watching as a Form of Market Research — June 30, 2010 @ 6:59 am

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  34. Establishing my business has been a real enlightening experience for me. I often laugh at how naive I was to think it was simply about coming up with a product you thought people would like, exposing it and the sales would just come. Now I realize just how important it is to do your “homework” and study your target market and competition. Thank you for the tips you have posted, they are invaluable.


    Comment by Lutachi — April 18, 2011 @ 6:52 am

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