Although it’s a truth that people are alike all over, it is also a truth that you can’t sell a product to everyone in exactly the same way. Would you market something to a high school student the same way that you would market to a group of retirees? Likely not. If you’re trying to figure out how on earth you’re going to sell something to an audience you know nothing about, it’s time to figure out how to go about doing that. There are strategies for marketing to specific audiences, and understanding those strategies can be a breakthrough in the way that you advertise your products.
Getting To Know All About You
If you don’t know someone, then you introduce yourself to them, right? The same principle applies when you are trying to get to know another demographic. You want to be recognized by consumers and what’s more, you want to recognize the people you’re trying to reach. Break down what you know about your current clients and then try to figure out who you want your next target audience to be. For example, as a very rough outline:
- Ages 45 and above, mostly a male audience who are shopping for their wives/girlfriends
- Males and females both between the ages of 18-25 who are looking for a cool new gadget to add to their collection.
It’s easier to see where you need to make changes and alterations when you can see what you are working with now and who you would like to be working with later on. And now that you have both sides of the coin, how do you begin to sell to your new group?
Market Research For The Win
The internet is a powerful tool and you use it more during your workday as a small business owner than ever; between handy programs like IPFIX to help you manage your internet flow to sneaky tools like SocialMention to see what your competition is doing, the internet is a huge platform for some amazing information. However, even though you can find almost anything online these days, remember that good-old-fashioned market research will give you better results than anything else.
But how do you go about collecting market research? Well, there are actually several methods to do it and all of them require someone who has a keen understanding of the concept. A marketing consultant is a professional who is trained in all things data, research and results. They will conduct research in covert and professional ways so that clients aren’t even always aware of what’s happening. The three top methods for performing market research include:
Naturalistic observation. This is as simple as watching your customers inside of your location and making notes on what they buy, what they ignore and details about the people themselves (age, gender, etc).
Controlled observations. Marketing researchers are able to control variables like the time of day, location, sample participants and others. In this setting, researchers and a sample group are brought to a specific location and are aware that they are being researched, although they might not know about what specifically to prevent data from becoming skewed.
Participant observation. Your marketing specialist acts as a “secret shopper,” so to speak, interacting with clients in your location in a specific way. This gives organic, real-life reactions to whatever the researcher is talking about with them.
Understand The People Behind the Demographic
Once you have data about your target audience, it’s time to shape that audience in your mind. Beyond knowing that 32-year-old women are into 90s nostalgia and are likely mothers of young children, what do you know about them? Create a persona for this group. Remember that you want to appeal to all aspects of your customers, not only one. Think of things like:
- Morals/values. What does this group find valuable? Why do they care about what they care about?
- Daily challenges. Everyone has things they struggle with everyday, what are some challenges that your target audience faces?
- Careers, jobs and professional roles. Is this group typically student-aged? Full-time workers with a family? Or possible senior citizens who are retired?
It sounds cheesy, but it really is true that in order to understand someone then you need to step into their shoes. To sell to a desired audience then you need to understand them inside and out. Think of yourself as building a cast of characters that represent the people to whom you are trying to market.
Which Method Works Best?
Now that you’ve gotten to know your clients a little bit more, remember that certain outlets work better for different audiences; e.g.: if you were trying to reach out to middle schoolers, would you print an ad in the Sunday newspaper? Didn’t think so! Use your newfound knowledge about your demographic to work out how to advertise in places they’re most likely to see. Some quick and general ideas might include:
- Flyers (print as well as digital, depending on the group)
- Online ads like Google
- Social Media
- Text messages and email alerts
The list goes on. Just remember that you will have more success finding consumers on their media outlet of choice. Lucky for you, you have plenty of new data that can help you figure it out.
Deciding that you’re going to broaden your audience is a wonderful and exciting way yo grow your business. You’re on your way up from here! Good, productive research and well-analyzed data can help you to understand the new group that you’re trying to reach. Utilize the methods available to you to help your small business flourish with fresh clientele.
Also published on Medium.