Market research is an essential part of any business – in order to be successful, you have to understand your market. Whether your business is brand new or you’re in need of revisiting some market research, spend the time to better understand your audience…which is exactly what market research is all about).
How To Find Your Audience Online
Start with your goals.
The first step is taking a look at your business plan. Before performing any outside research, take a good, hard look at your business goals and what you hope to accomplish.
(Side note: if you do not currently have a business plan, this is the place to start before doing anything else.)
Break down the products or services you offer.
What are you offering (or plan to offer) your customers? Is there a need for your product or service?
What capital will you need to fund your business or what overhead will you have in order to provide your service or sell your product?
Get crystal clear about what it is that you’re offering potential customers.
Define your target market.
Who needs your product or service? And who will you be speaking to when you market your business and its offerings?
Paint a complete picture of the audience, including:
- What are their demographics? (age, gender, socioeconomic background, education level, geographic location, etc.)
- What do they like? (hobbies, entertainment, lifestyle, etc.)
- What do they need?
- What problem can you solve for them?
- Where do they spend their time online?
Spend the time learning everything you can about your target demographic – even if you think you know them. Interview people in your target market, create focus groups, and creatively discover all you can. You’ll be able to use all this information to effectively market to this group.
Test and repeat.
You may or may not have your target market perfectly defined when you first start out…and that’s ok. It may take some experimentation or testing until you know and understand the best audience for your product or service.
Luckily, when it comes to online marketing we have the ability to use data to back up our marketing efforts. Through the use of Google Analytics and other platform-specific analytics (such as social media analytics), you’ll be able to determine what is working for your marketing efforts…and what isn’t. Specifically, you’ll be able to gain key demographic information from many of these Analytics systems.
Spend the time necessary to fully understand your audience through market research before launching a new product or service. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!
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