While we all start out wanting to market to everyone, we can’t due to limited homepage space, time, money, staff and overall resources. So it’s important save ourselves as a small business owners a step by getting right to either dreaming up the perfect customer and testing our thoughts (assumptions) if we haven’t started the business or finding the type of customer we want more of and learning how they tick.
In this article we are going to discuss target markets, customer personas and resources on how to get the information you need to make smart decisions moving forward to get more customers in your store in person or online and get more money in your pocket with increased purchases.
I won’t lie the information you gather may be surprising and lead you to rethinking your entire business (mismatched product-market fit) or will confirm that you are going in the right direction. So if you want to increase your success rate, increase your profits and get more paying customers continue reading.
The first topic we are going to cover is target market these are your people, the people who will buy your product, love your product, rave about your product and come back for more.
What is target market?
A specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services . Your target customers are those who are most likely to buy from you. Who are you selling to? Why should they buy your product? What do they stand to gain? You want to start with identifying one specific target market. Who you think will consistently buy from you, become your brand advocates and bring you the most profit?
Having worked with lots of small businesses, I’ve realized that defining your target audience is probably the hardest and most overlooked aspect of marketing both online and in person location.
It really doesn’t matter WHAT you sell. What matters most is the “WHO”.
Here’s a questions to ask your self that may help:
a. came up with your idea
b. decided to sell this product
c. wrote your book, etc.],
a. did you think it would help?
b. did you plan to sell it to?
c. were you writing to?
a. do you want to create this product or service?
b. are you interested in selling this product or service?
c. are you writing this book?
How does your
b. product or service
help your targeted audience or what problem does it solve for your audience?
How do you determine your target market?
Look at your current customer base.
Who are your current customers, and why do they buy from you? Look for common characteristics and interests. Which ones bring in the most business? It is very likely that other people like them could also benefit from your product/service.
Check out your competition.
Who are your competitors targeting? Who are their current customers? Don’t go after the same market. You may find a niche market that they are overlooking.
Does this audience currently buy
a. something similar to what you’re creating
b. this product or service elsewhere?
c. your book or books similar to yours?
Choose specific demographics to target.
Figure out not only who has a need for your product or service, but also who is most likely to buy it. Think about the following factors:
Marital or family status
Consider the psychographics of your target.
Psychographics are the more personal characteristics of a person, including:
Determine how your product or service will fit into your target’s lifestyle. How and when will your target use the product? What features are most appealing to your target? What media does your target turn to for information? Does your target read the newspaper, search online, or attend particular events? Where do they currently hang out?
Evaluate your decision.
Once you’ve decided on a target market, be sure to consider these questions:
Are there enough people who fit my criteria?
Will my target really benefit from my product/service? Will they see a need for it?
Do I understand what drives my target to make decisions?
Can they afford my product/service?
Can I reach them with my message? Are they easily accessible?
- How do you currently determine who buys
a. an idea like yours?
b. a product or service like yours?
c. your book?
- What specific things do your buyers have in common?
- What are your marketing psychographics?
- How do you determine if there are enough people that fit your targeted criteria?
- What drives your target audience to make buying decisions?
- How can you best reach your target audience?
- Where is your target audience “hanging out” online?
Which leads us to our Second topic is customer personas.
Ten things you need to know about your customers
- Who they are
If you sell directly to individuals, find out your customers’ gender, age, marital status and occupation. If you sell to other businesses, find out what size and kind of business they are. For example, are they a small private company or a big multinational?
- What they do
If you sell directly to individuals, it’s worth knowing their occupations and interests. If you sell to other businesses, it helps to have an understanding of what their business is trying to achieve.
- Why they buy
If you know why customers buy a product or service, it’s easier to match their needs to the benefits your business can offer.
- When they buy
If you approach a customer just at the time they want to buy, you will massively increase your chances of success.
- How they buy
For example, some people prefer to buy from a website, while others prefer a face-to-face meeting.
- How much money they have
You’ll be more successful if you can match what you’re offering to what you know your customer can afford.
- What makes them feel good about buying
If you know what makes them tick, you can serve them in the way they prefer.
- What they expect of you
For example, if your customers expect reliable delivery and you don’t disappoint them, you stand to gain repeat business.
- What they think about you
If your customers enjoy dealing with you, they’re likely to buy more. And you can only tackle problems that customers have if you know what they are.
- What they think about your competitors
If you know how your customers view your competition, you stand a much better chance of staying ahead of your rivals.
- Get feedback from your sales and customer success teams on the kind of buyer they have had the most success with.
- Add forms to your website that include fields for important buyer persona information to gather more information about visitors and leads.
- Look at contact database and nurture stream to identify content consumption decisions and behaviors and which types of content create leads.
- Create surveys for current and prospective customers.
- Conduct interviews with customer/prospect/potential target audience about their view of your product, and discover the interests and needs that your product meets.
- Pull data about your customers from social media.
188 Buyer Persona Questions
Here are some questions to get you started
Depending on your industry and your products, there are certain “niche” buyer persona questions which are important for your business to answer.
The list is broken down into categories, so just focus on the categories and questions which are relevant to your business, and ignore the rest…
- What is your name?
- What is your age?
- What is your gender?
- Where do you live?
- What is your racial/ethnic heritage?
- What is your annual income?
- What is your highest level of education?
- What is your occupation?
- What is your birthplace?
- Where did you grow up?
- Was it a rural, suburban, or urban area?
- What kind of house did you grow up in?
- Who raised you?
- What did your parents (or primary caregivers) do for a living?
- Are your parents still married?
- Did your parents have a permissive or authoritarian parenting style?
- Do you have any siblings?
- What is your birth order?
- What are your favorite childhood memories?
- What were your favorite childhood activities?
- What was your favorite subject in school?
- What was your least favorite subject?
- What grades did you get in school?
- Do you enjoy learning new things?
- Did you have a lot of friends, a few close friends, or no friends?
- Did you get in trouble at school?
- Did you attend college?
- If so, what did you major in?
- What college did you attend?
- Did you enjoy your college experience?
- What did you do after high school if you didn’t attend college?
- What stopped you from going to college?
- What was your first job?
- What is your marital status?
- Are you happy about your current marital status?
- Do you have any children?
- If so, how many and how old are they?
- Are they boys or girls?
- Do your children live with you?
- If you don’t have children, do you want to have children in the future?
- Are you likely to have children in the future?
- Do you have any pets?
- If yes, how many and what are they?
- What type of housing do you currently live in?
- Who lives in the house with you?
- Are you happy with your current situation, or do you wish it was different?
- How close are you to your extended family?
- Do you currently have many friends, a few friends, or no friends at all?
- Do you see your friends often?
- Who are the most important people in your life?
- Are you religious?
- What is your political orientation?
- Are you actively involved in politics?
- Do you make an effort to stay fit and healthy?
- What type of exercise do you do?
- If you don’t exercise, why not?
- Do you play any sports?
- Do you care about your personal appearance?
- What hobbies do you currently pursue?
- What do you like to do in your free time?
- What social groups/activities do you participate in?
- Are you environmentally conscious?
- What is your favorite TV show?
- What is your favorite movie?
- What type of music do you listen to?
- Do you enjoy reading?
- Are you a morning person or a night owl?
- What do you do first thing in the morning?
- Do you cook at home or eat out?
- Are you a neat freak, or are you OK with messes?
- How much time do you spend at work and at home?
- How do you spend your weekends?
- Where do you shop?
- What do you read for fun?
- Do you drink?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you experiment with recreational substances?
- What do you wish was different about your weekly routine?
- Are you tech-savvy?
- What news sources do you read?
- Do you enjoy traveling?
- Do you regularly go on vacations?
- If so, where do you go?
- Have you ever been backpacking?
- What is your current literacy level?
- Do you prefer baths or showers?
- What is your industry?
- What is your job title?
- What are your responsibilities?
- Who do you report to?
- What is the size of your company?
- What skills are required for your job?
- What metrics are you responsible for/how is your job measured?
- What does a typical work day look like?
- What knowledge and tools do you use in your job?
- What are your challenges at work?
- How do you learn new information for your job?
- How do you prefer to interact with vendors?
- How did you arrive at your current position?
- What is your salary?
- Do you feel like you are compensated fairly?
- Do you like your boss?
- Do you like your coworkers?
- Do you like the work you are assigned to?
- What would you change about your job, if you could?
- What does your career path look like?
- Are you considering a career change?
- What is your dream job?
- Do you have plans to pursue your dream job?
- What work-related associations do you participate in?
- When do you plan to retire?
- How would you describe your personality?
- Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
- Are you optimistic or pessimistic?
- Are you more right-brained or left-brained?
- Are you quiet or boisterous?
- Are you practical or prone to flights of fancy?
- Do you prefer to follow the rules or challenge boundaries?
- Do you like to take risks or play it safe?
- Are you an innovator, or someone who tends to go with the flow?
- Are you flexible or rigid in your thought patterns?
- Are you spontaneous or do you prefer pre-determined plans?
- Are you motivated by your own achievements or by what others think of your efforts?
- How affected are you emotionally by other people’s judgments?
- What would it take for you to deem your life a success?
- What would make you think your life was a failure?
- What social media sites do you use?
- How do you use the internet to search for products or vendors?
- Could you describe a recent purchase?
- How do you prefer to make online payments?
- Are you concerned about online privacy?
- How adept are you at using technology?
- Do you tend to embrace new technologies or prefer to stick with systems you know?
- Are you a fluent internet user?
- What operating system do you use?
- What internet browser do you use?
- What mobile devices do you use?
- What is your preferred search engine?
- What is your preferred method of communication?
- What sites do you usually shop on?
- Do you use your cell phone to make purchases?
- Where do you go to learn about a product or service?
- How important is it for you to get a good deal?
- What indulgent or luxurious purchases do you make?
- What is your net worth?
- Do you have debt?
- If so, what type?
- Do you make purchase decisions carefully, or are you loose with your money?
- How do you feel about your current spending habits?
- What factors drive you to make a purchase?
- Are you the main bread-winner in your household?
- Are you the financial/purchase decision-maker?
Goals, Challenges & Pain Points
- What are your goals in life?
- What are your career goals?
- What do you hope to gain from using our product?
- What accomplishments are you the most proud of?
- What are the top three things on your bucket list?
- What is the most frustrating part of your day?
- What regular activities do you find stressful?
- What makes you nervous?
- What do you worry about?
- What makes you feel scared?
- What is the fastest way for someone to make you angry?
- What is the least favorite part of your job?
- What is the worst job you can imagine?
- What is the worst customer service experience you’ve ever had?
- What purchase did you most regret?
Product Insight/Objections to the Sale
- What objections do you have to our product?
- What factors might make you choose a competitor’s product over ours?
- How can we help you to solve your unique challenges?
- How does our product help you become your ideal self?
- How do you prefer to communicate?
- How can we meet your needs through onboarding?
- What questions would you ask yourself before buying a product?
- What is your number one concern when deciding whether or not to make a purchase?
- How do you prefer to make a purchase (online, over the phone, or in person)?
- When making a purchase online, what is your preferred payment method?
Questions to Ask Your Marketing & Sales Teams
- What technical and demographic information do you have about our website visitors?
- How are you currently marketing to our target customers?
- What marketing campaigns have been the most successful?
- What marketing campaigns have been the least successful?
- Which blog posts have received the most traffic/social shares/comments/etc.?
- What are the most frequently asked questions on the blog or from customers?
- Which pages on our website receive the most impressions?
- What types of customers do you typically meet?
- Why do different types of customers typically make a purchase?
- What reasons do customers cite for selecting us over our competitors?
- What are the most common objections you hear?