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How to pick right audience for your products

By David Cheboryot | July 14th 2015

If you have just launched a start-up, you have likely spent a lot of time planning and building your business. Part of that planning process involves, or should involve, deciding who will be on the receiving end of your marketing efforts. Your products might appeal to a large group of people, but it doesn’t make sense to try to market them to everyone.

You obviously want as many people as possible to know about your business, but the more potential customers you want to reach, the more time and money it is going to cost to do so.

Defining a target audience might feel constraining, but remember that you’re not excluding anyone; you’re choosing where to spend your time and money.

Focusing on a portion of the people who might be interested in your products will allow you to communicate and engage with that segment more deeply. Keep the following ideas in mind as you set out to define your target audience.

1. Unique selling point: Look at the goals you’ve set for yourself and analyse the products and/or services you offer. Think about how your products or services fulfill a need or solve a problem for a potential customer. Also, think about what makes you stand out. Broadly think about who might be interested and who may benefit from having access to what you offer.

2. Market research: Start with secondary research. There are a lot of existing sources that can help you gather information on your industry, the market, your competition, and the broad potential customer base you have identified. If you’re unable to identify secondary data that is useful for you and you have the budget to do so, you may want to conduct primary research. This involves surveys, interviews and focus groups.

3. Develop a customer profile: This is an in-depth description of who your typical customer may be, and includes demographic information on age, gender, location, ethnic background, marital status and income. This will help you identify the type of person who would buy your products and services, while psychographic information on customers’ interests, hobbies, values, attitudes, behaviors and lifestyles nails down why they may buy.

4. Monitoring: Before you begin marketing to your potential customers, make sure you know how you are going to track sales, interactions and requests for information. This will help you identify trends, patterns, and possible areas of improvement, which will continually boost your marketing efforts as your business matures.

— By David Cheboryot, MBA manager, Tangaza University College.

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