4 Steps on How to Find Your Target Audience for Your Small Business

Kaili Wardlaw / October 12, 2022
Find Your Target Audience

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “The customer is always right”, well how do we figure out which customer is right? In order to succeed as a small business owner, you must understand how to find your target audience and create a message that resonates with that audience. 

Let’s take a look at four of the most important steps that business owners must take in order to identify their audience.

Identify Your Target Market.

How can you really get to know your audience? Well, to find out who your ideal customer is, start by taking a look at the list of questions QuickBooks created and asking yourself:

  1. Who are you trying to reach? 
  2. What kind of products or services do you offer? 
  3. Where do you sell these products or provide these services?

Let’s use an example to further explain how to identify your target market:

Who are you trying to reach?

Let’s say you opened a dog grooming business – Bubbles & Bones Grooming – in the San Antonio area and you are trying to find your target audience. I think the intended audience for Bubbles & Bones would be an adult that lives around the San Antonio area and has a dog(s) who needs occasional grooming services. Grooming services are important for consumers who don’t really have a lot of time on their hands – due to work or other priorities –  and they want someone else to do it for them.

What kinds of products or services do you offer?

Bubbles & Bones Grooming offers individually priced packages that offer different services for every client. This business offers three packages – Doggie, Pooch, and Hound. All three packages offer the same basic grooming services (first bath, nail trim, hair trim, second bath, and styling cream) plus a bow-tie or bandana and a picture for an additional $10. 

  • The Doggie grooming package: $45 [This package is for dogs 5-20 lbs] 
  • The Pooch grooming package: $60 [This package is for dogs 21-50 lbs] 
  • The Hound grooming package: $85 [This package is for dogs 51+ lbs]

In addition, we sell a line of dog-friendly hair products both in-store and online!

These kinds of services and products create a further filtered target audience – this would be dog owners who have the disposable income available and would like someone to groom their dogs.

Where do you sell these products or services?

Bubbles & Bones Grooming has a brick and mortar location in San Antonio, TX and they have a website where customers can purchase the dog friendly product line or create a grooming appointment all from the comfort of their computer.

Determine Who They Are.

Once you identify your target market, you need to learn everything about them – their likes, dislikes, pet peeves, etc. The easiest way to do this is to create an ideal customer profile – simply put – you want to put a face to a name. The QuickBooks How-to Series helps business owners better understand how to identify their imaginary friend that poses as the ideal customer. Let’s use our example from earlier to create our customer profile:

Jane has recently moved to the San Antonio area and with her busy schedule at the new law firm, she is looking for someone to groom her two dogs.

  • Customer Name: Jane
  • Age: 34 year-old 
  • Occupation: family lawyer
  • Hobbies: devoted dog mom to two beautiful Chocolate Labradors, Sully and Mike
  • Income Level: $150K 

How do you think I created such an extensive profile? The answer is really simple – research, research, research.

Find your target audience with this "Who am I" graphics

Research. Research. Research.

There are a couple of things you can do regarding consumer research – you can hire a professional to help with the research or you can have one of your teams go through some of these three methods to learn everything about your target market. The three types of research are:

  • Use existing dataThere are a couple of things you can do to analyze the “existing data” your business collected. Take a look at the past information you collected on each customer to find patterns, trends – both positive and negative, and differences that you can identify and use as starting points moving forward.
  • Market research – Conducting market research is one way to better understand the current trends or patterns within your industry. Conducting interviews and surveys with past and current customers can help business owners determine what holes there are in the market that their products or services can fill.
  • Research competitors – Researching your top competitors and what strategies they implement into the market can help you realize what works and what doesn’t for your own small business. One way to conduct competitor research is to follow their social media accounts and ask yourself some questions:

What kind of strategy do they represent?

How is their content written?

What kind of content is liked by people similar to your customer persona?

When customers or users add comments to the competitors’ social media, what are they saying?

Develop an Effective Marketing Strategy.

Once you have identified your target audience, created your customer persona and conducted the necessary market research, you should develop a marketing strategy for your business. Creating a marketing strategy that effectively portrays your business is important; so creating things like website content that draws in the customer and representing your brand throughout your images is just one of the small steps in the right direction. 

There is one recommendation I can give you to help track your overall success – reassess your offer often! Collect your data and interact with customers to figure out what direction the industry is going. Trends and markets are always changing, so make sure your business provides consistent products and services but welcomes change when engaging their audience.

Make sure to take time with this step! Understanding your audience is much more of a complex idea than many think it is. Take that extra phone call to complete a customer interview and take that extra day to create an effective marketing strategy. Investing time into knowing your target audience will be worth it in the end.

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