When I first started in the wonderful world of sales and retail all I ever heard was the phrase target audience or target customer. They probably said a lot more about it but my eyes had glazed over at the point and my ears just heard blah blah.

But I have since learned more about a target audience and customers and how important they can be. Want to know in, hopefully, plain English? Read on my friend.

If you try to sell to everyone you will most likely fall flat on your face and be scarred for life. No one can afford to target everyone. Yes, you might be saying that you just want someone, anyone to buy your product and can’t understand why you have low sales figures. You probably have a fantastic item as well but it’s not selling. The problem is you’re not getting it in front of the people who want or need it. They don’t even know it exists.

If you put your energy into just selling it to people who want or need your item, think how much more rewarding it will be. You will get more sales and a lot fewer people who just looking because you are excluding the people who don’t meet your target audience. It is a lot more affordable, efficient, and effective to just sell to those who need your item in their life.

Ok, so we get why we are doing it, even though it sounds scary not to try and sell to everyone. So the big question.

How To Define Your Target Market

If you have any sales start by looking at your current customers. Look for anything that is obvious like is it just females, certain age, etc.

Look at your competition, who are they targeting? I’m not saying to look at your competitor and go after their target market. I’m saying look at it and see what niche is your competition missing.

Have a look at your product and list all its features. Then expand on the features with what benefits those features provide. We’re not finished with the list yet, now write down all types of people who would like those benefits.

Another good way to work out your target customer is to think about who you know would buy your items. So if you know your product isn’t something men would use you suddenly have a target audience of women. You shouldn’t be that broad and would need to niche it down a bit. On a side note the product that men would buy – Christmas and Mother’s Day suddenly become your target audience as they will be looking for presents for the women in their lives. So target audiences can be seasonal too.

So you have had a think about who needs it, and also think of those who might buy it. Like I just said about some buyers being seasonal, you might have a product that other people might buy it. Think of things like..the suggestions are just to get your mind thinking and not limited to just those questions.

  • Their age – is your product ideal for a certain age?
  • Location – is it something that you have to buy in your physical shop or do you sell online so the world is your audience?
  • Gender – are your items best suited to males or females
  • Income Level – are you selling an item that is suited to a certain income level
  • Education level – do they need a physics degree to understand your item
  • Marital / Family status – is it something that only single parents would need or buy
  • You can go even further and think of things like their occupation and ethnic background.

And just make your brain hurt, even more, consider personality, values, hobbies, behavior, lifestyles, and attitudes.

Does your product fit in your customer’s lifestyle, what features and benefits of your product would the customer like? You can really get very specific if you want to. Write all your answers down and it’s ok to have more than one target audience. You can use that to advertise at different times to different audiences.

Eventually, you have Mr or Mrs. Ideal Customer. Brilliant, you are a lot further than I was when I first started selling.

Whilst you are thinking of Mr or Mrs. Ideal Customer go on to work out if there are enough people out there to buy your product. Can they afford your product?

Finding out all this info is a bit of work. Some customers you know so you might be able to work out some of the answers. You can also look online. Look for articles and blogs that talk about or are aimed at your target audience. Look at forums and see what people are saying. If you have customers you could do a survey.

If you’re still reading then pat yourself on the back. Defining your target audience is the hard part but putting in the leg work now will save you a lot of time and money going forward. You will be able to target the right people instead of trying to sell to the people who won’t buy your product.

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