How to Research Your Target Market

How to Research Your Target Market

Knowing who your target market is, where you can find them, and how to appeal to them are critical factors in being able to create content that your audience needs.  And in creating products and services that sell.

When you identify and then focus on your target market, you are able to spend your time and money on the right prospects.  The ones who are more likely to become customers.

Trying to reach a broad market is inefficient.  You’ll see a better return on investment if stay focused on your target niche, and more specifically, only on the people who are potential buyers

There are many ways to get to know your business’s target market, but the best way to is to conduct market research.

But wait. You may be thinking “Conduct market research?  That sounds hard.”

It isn’t. The internet makes it super-easy to research your target market. In this post, I share some simple methods that you can use to conduct market research on your own.

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Get organized with a research file

The first step in conducting effective market research is to set up a system where you record your findings.  This might be an Evernote notebook, a spreadsheet, a Google doc, or even a paper notebook.  Whatever feels comfortable to you.

As you discover facts about your market, record them.  Having that written information will help you create a complete picture of your ideal customer in your mind.

Make sure that you know where your notes are and that you can easily refer back to them.

The best place to start is with your existing customers

Start by looking at your existing customers.

  • What do they have in common?
  • What are their demographics?
  • Which ones love you and buy everything you offer?

When you identify the common characteristics of your best customers, then you have a good picture of your ideal customer avatar.  And that will make it easier to target your marketing activities so that you find more people like her.

 If you haven’t created your ideal customer avatar yet, then grab this free worksheet:

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Get to know them with a survey

A survey is a great way to get to know your customers and your broader audience.

Google Forms makes it super-easy to create a free survey.

Keep your survey short, preferably 10 questions or less.  People are more likely to complete a short survey than a long one that will take up a lot of their time.

Be sure to ask a few demographic questions, like age, gender, income, etc.  But also ask deeper questions that will help you identify their pain points and struggles.

Review your social media insights

One way to validate some audience demographics is by using the insights available on your social network business accounts.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest all offer demographic information on your follower base. They will tell you if your followers are male or female, their age ranges, what countries and cities they live in, and sometimes more.

Pay more attention to the Insights from the social media platforms where your ideal customer hangs out and less attention to Insights from other platforms.

For example, I have a large following on Twitter, but it goes back to long before I started my business. My followers there are not representative of my ideal customer, so I don’t pay much attention to the demographics of my Twitter audience.

As a bonus, when you figure out the social media platforms that your target market prefers, you can focus your own social media time on those platforms.

Pay more attention to the Insights from the social media platforms where your ideal customer hangs out.

Learn from others: research your competition

Your competition is very important to get to know. It’s not that you want to copy them or steal from them in any way. But, knowing what they are doing to attract, engage, and work with their audience is a good way for you to find out how to do the same.

Your competition can give you amazing insight into your audience in a way that you may not have considered.

Choose three to five competitors and visit their websites and social media profiles. Review what you see and then analyze what you find.

Collect information on:

  • The types of content they create.
  • Their offers – do they have service packages? Products? A mix of both?
  • The pain points or struggles that they address in their content.

Compare & contrast

  • Are all the competitors you reviewed targeting the same type of customers?
  • Do they address the same pain points? What are the outliers that only one or two mention?
  • Do you notice any gaps that you can fill?

Then, once you find out who your competition is, you want to act just like your audience acts.

Sign up for your competitors’ email lists

Sign up for your competition’s email lists. Break down how they are accomplishing their successes. How many emails do they send out each week? What type of emails do they send? What type of freebies are they offering? What do they offer as their products or services?

Read your competitors’ free content

Take time each day to read the type of content they’re distributing to their audience. Can you identify what they have in their marketing funnel? What’s the entry point, what type of content are they delivering for each stage of the buying cycle? If you can reverse engineer what they’re doing, it’s going to help you tremendously in their research.

Learn how your competitors interact

If you send a reply to an email that the competition sends, where does it go? Do they reply? Do they ignore it? Does it go to a help desk? On social media how do they interact with their audience? Is it authentic? Is it honest? Are there any gaps? Can you do it better or differently?


Don’t copy the competition: research them!

Remember that researching your competition isn’t about copying.  It’s about learning.  You want to analyze what they are doing.  Figure out what works and doesn’t work.  What are the gaps?  What can you do better?

Research your market’s language

As you research, pay attention to the words and phrases that your market uses.  Especially when they are talking about their problems.  This is gold because when you use their language, they feel like you are talking directly to them.

In your market research file, set up a section where you copy and paste the actual words your market uses.

Places to look for language include Facebook groups, YouTube comments, and review sites like Amazon or Yelp.  These are places where real people are talking about their problems.

Spend time researching in Facebook groups

People ask for help all the time in Facebook groups.  How do they ask?  What words do they use?

Look for nuggets in YouTube comments

YouTube comments are also a great place to research.  Look for the glowing comments where people talk about how this video was exactly what they needed and why.

Also, look for negative comments. Not the Negative Nellies, but the comments that talk about why a video didn’t solve their problem. (That may be a gap that you can fill!)

Study review sites like Amazon and Yelp

And review sites like Amazon and Yelp are also great places to get the words that real people use.  Again look for the meaty comments that talk about why a product worked or didn’t work for the reviewer.

Next step: use one idea to research your target market

Now that you’ve learned these easy ways to research your target market, pick one, and then implement it in your business.  Implementation is the key to success.

If you want to learn more about how to identify, research, and connect with your target market, then join my free Facebook group.  This is the kind of thing I teach Live every Tuesday.

Want to remember this? Save How to Research Your Target Market to your favorite Pinterest board.

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