It’s a phrase you hear all the time: “learn to find your target market, create interesting content.”
However, there is a serious shortage of information on how to identify and deconstruct target markets to create sustainable online content campaigns.
It could be because:
A) Everybody already knows how to find their target markets.
B) While few people can identify their target market accurately, it is easy to use the buzzword.
Please continue reading if you agree it’s B.
This type of research is not easy, but I would lie if I said it was. It is anything but. It can be time-consuming and marketers often skip it.
However, I believe that it is this time that distinguishes pros and amateurs.
The truth is that there is so much information available about your target market that it is difficult to not create content that “sticks.”
How to find your target market – Part 1: Basic Demographics
- Marital Status
- # of children
Take a look at the following list and consider how many of these demographic factors may have influenced your purchase decision.
Most businesses should focus only on:
- 2 core markers–data that defines your core market.
- 1 – 3 Secondary Markers–data that fleshes the core market
Focusing on a core group of people can help you see their priorities, where they go online, and what they are exposed to. You can then build a picture of the person and create content.
Don’t think of maintaining a targeted profile as exclusionary. Instead, keep your messaging focused on those who are most likely to make an impact. Once you have made an impact with your core market, trust that everyone else will follow.
Example: Base Targeting Profile #1
What if I wanted to sell B2B software?
These are two core market attributes that immediately spring to mind:
- Occupation (Core Marker).
- Secondary Marker: Location
The software might make it seem like “Location” isn’t a good choice for a Secondary Marker. But the truth is that there are some areas where you can be a computer programmer or any other profession.
A free website called CityTownInfo.com allows me to find the best and worst locations in any particular occupation.
Because I am a marketer, it is important to know where these areas are. Local salary provides me with an indication of the business and local culture of that programmer.
Employers will listen to and respect the opinions of programmers when they are paid higher. Programmers in San Jose are likely to be taken more seriously than programmers in rural Maine.
To find out which areas have the highest salaries, I will use Followerwonk to plug this information into Followerwonk. This will allow me to study the “local language” of those in that industry.
Here I would create a Twitter List to look for patterns in the websites of local programmers, attend local events, and any other information that might give me an indication of where my software should be represented online.
Later I will dig deeper into what they share and use the information to guide my content development.
The takeaway: Knowing the demographics of your target market will help you “be everywhere” in your most important markets.
Example: Base Targeting Profile #2
Let’s suppose I was creating a campaign for college and my primary goal was getting older Gen Y students signed up. This might be the base targeting profile.
- 25-34 years old (Core Marker).
- $10,000-30,000/year (Core marker)
- Women (secondary market)
Although this may seem very general, it gives me a solid base from which to work.
I could locate top-selling products to sell to 25-34-year-old women. I also checked the local job market for places that pay $10-30k/year and asked around (in person) to find out what they were reading or watching online.
Understanding…no…being empathy to someone’s conditions in a $10-30k/year position helps me develop targeted content later.
I can use top-selling products to help me understand their lives and what they are reading. Knowing what they are watching and reading helps me decide where my marketing should go, as well as the tone and style of the content.
Additionally, I can target Facebook ads by the workplace. Knowing what jobs pay within my target market’s income bracket helps me target them later.
Takeaway: Deeper research into the reasons a particular demographic is a certain demographic can uncover specific, actionable parameters that will guide your marketing campaigns.
Part 2: Psychographics-How to Talk to Your Target Market
Psychographics can tell you why people buy, even if demographics tell you who they are.
Surprisingly, you can gain insights into your target market’s interests by following them as we discussed in the previous section.
9Gag is a funny and unique person. You can use some of their humor in your messages.
Imagine a baby clothing brand that targets working-class bloggers with a sense of humor like 9gag.
You’ll notice trends within your market on the thoughts, personalities, and values of members.
They may buy items that help them feel grounded or laugh or that show support for a cause that they believe in.
The buyer’s psychographics drives them to act. They can often be found by looking at the media they consume. It can be hard to perform psychographic profiling. This is because you need to get to know the market and build empathy.
This is where acting training is most useful for me. The psychographic analysis is very similar to script analysis of actors.
Pro tip: Learn how actors analyze scripts. Actors are better at explaining how to analyze scripts than marketers. They use similar techniques.
Sneak Peek: What’s Your Brand Personality?
Don’t forget to allow brands to interact with you online.
It’s not about expanding your reach in new markets. It’s about learning the market’s core attributes, and how to sell in a way they love and want more.
To resonate with a market, you must be a reflection of that market’s ideal self.
It’s a lot to explain brand personality here so you might save it for another article. However, this wheel from Millward Brown provides a solid foundation to work with.
Let’s just say that doing the research before creating the content, before starting the blog, or running the ad will make you more knowledgeable and stronger to help your market in the best possible way.
This almost guarantees your success.
Ideas for determining your target market Ideas? Please share your ideas with me in the comments section below.