Inbound marketing works best when your content and advertising are tailored to your target market, but how do you determine who wants to buy your stuff? It’s a more complicated question than it may seem at first glance, but don’t let that discourage you. The answers are out there, if you know where and how to look. Fortunately, you’re not working from scratch. The trick is capitalizing on what you already know about your audience, while keeping an open mind about untapped possibilities.
I prefer to take a multi-faceted approach to determining target markets by looking at your past experience, analyzing your current customers, and taking a deep dive into the data produced by your business over time. The end result is a detailed buyer persona (or personas!), which we’ll use to create customized marketing, content, and web design for your Calgary business.
Who is already buying your stuff?
Here’s where you come in. Even if your business is relatively new, you still have the benefit of hands-on, day-to-day experience with your customers. Looking at your “regulars” is the perfect place to start, because ultimately you are looking to find you more customers just like them.
- Are there any significant demographic trends in your current customer base?
- Have you targeted specific types of customers in the past, or aimed for more broad appeal?
- Does the market that has developed for your business match the target market you initially set out to reach? If not, what explains the difference between your actual and perceived audience?
You’d be surprised by what you can learn simply by talking to your current customers about why they chose your business, and what keeps them coming back. Every bit of data is valuable, and will help you answer the questions I posed above.
Where is your untapped potential?
Looking inward is a great place to start, but it’s also important to analyze the larger trends that influence your market. Not every small business owner in Calgary will be able to invest in dedicated market research, and that’s okay. Rely on the experience of your marketing team, and seek out free marketing advice from trusted online sources.
- Resources like Hubspot provide plenty of valuable marketing data, and all you’ll need to invest is time. Big-name sites won’t necessarily provide specific advice on your industry, but are a great way to stay on top of broader marketing trends.
- Hiring an experienced outside marketing team will also be a huge help, and the right team will deliver a return that’s more than worth your investment.
- Surveys tend to work quite well for gathering the necessary data, and are easy to implement, especially if you’ve already established a Web presence.
- It’s easier to obtain feedback on a survey when you offer something in exchange for the customer’s time. It doesn’t have to be anything major – special content or a small discount on the customer’s next visit will usually do the job quite nicely.
Putting What You Learn to Work for Your Business
Your inbound marketing plan will likely include blogging, social media and content marketing – all of which should be shaped by what you learn about your audience. Creating buyer personas is the best way to integrate everything that you learn into a neat, tidy package.
- A buyer persona is basically a portrait of your ideal customer, from their likes and dislikes to their age, employment situation, and location.
- Your buyer personas provide a road-map for your marketing, and a valuable tool to help you stay on message. It’s easier to create compelling blog content when you have a clear idea of who you plan to reach.
- Your buyer personas should also guide your social media marketing, not just in content, but in tone, as well.
In the end, the goal of your marketing is to relate to your customers and prospects. Buyer personas make it easy to do just that, by providing a baseline you can always consult whenever you’re working on marketing your business. Standing out in a crowded market takes effort, but there are plenty of tips and tools that will help you along the path. I believe that it all starts with knowing who wants to buy your stuff, and how to reach them.
Need a hand developing your marketing strategy, creating buyer personas, or updating your web design? Emphasize Design of Calgary offers everything you need to attract more customers, convert more leads, and close more deals with effective inbound marketing.