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Do you really know your target audience?

When you think about your small business marketing strategy, you might be juggling a few unanswered and anxiety-inducing questions, like:

  • Am I marketing to the right audience?
  • Am I marketing my business on the right channels?
  • Am I offering the right products and services?
  • Am I talking to my target audience about the right things? 
  • Do I really know what my audience’s pain points and desires are?
  • Do I understand what influences my audience’s purchase decisions and makes them more likely to convert?

You can sift through as much cold-data (think website analytics and social media stats) as you want, but if you want clear answers to the questions above, your best bet? 

That’s right, some good ole market research. 

The definition of market research

The purpose of market research is to gain rich insights from customers or potential customers. Through surveying or interviewing, you can determine their preferences, attitudes, motivations and buying behaviour

Once you understand your target audience (in as much detail as possible), you can better serve them. After all, without customers, your business ain’t got nothin’. 

So, it makes sense that you should get to know them. As much as you possibly can. Without being annoying. 

Why market research is important in small business

1. Market research puts your customer first (go figure)

Put aside what you THINK you know about what your audience and get it straight from the horse’s mouth. 

It’s so easy to get caught up in what YOU reckon will appeal to your audience, and sure, you might be right sometimes, but wanna know what the number one rule of marketing is? You are not your target audience.

Even if, demographically-speaking, you are your target audience – demographics are only one part of the equation. From a behavioural point of view or a psychological point of view? You likely ain’t it. 

Plus, you’re far too close to your business to be considered impartial. 😉

And another thing? A business that asks, listens and then delivers to their customers? Well, that’s something your audience will take note of. 

2. Market research narrows your business focus 

Get some clarity and strip back your business offerings (or create a whole new one to fill a gap in the market). There’s no point producing a product or offering a service that isn’t right for your target market. 

Skip it, reinvent it or create something entirely new that speaks to your target customers’ wants and needs. 

In saying that, you could have a killer product/service but you’re simply speaking to the wrong audience and it merely FEELS like a flop. If you don’t do your due, you’ll never know. 

3. Market research keeps you #relevant to your audience

Is business taking a dip? It might be worth checking in with your audience and seeing if your messaging/offering is still hitting home with who you want them to. 

Your marketing doesn’t have an end-point — your audience is going to continue to grow and develop new interests. That’s life, baby! 

Keep your finger on the pulse by conducting customer research regularly (i.e. at least annually) so you’ll never be left behind. 

4. Market research helps define your audience 

If you’re not too sure WHO you’re talking to, then surveying your audience and noting which demographics actually resonate with your brand is a very worthwhile activity. 

When a small business is just starting out, it can be tempting to cast a wide net and speak to everyone. Or try to. Because you don’t want to lose out on ‘potential’ customers. 

The thing is, you can’t possibly ‘target’ everyone. What an oxymoron — amiright?

Your best bet? Narrowing your brand messaging so you’re talking to the people who are actually interested (and who you’re interested in working with, as well). 

5. Use market research to understand why you’re not for everyone

Don’t freak out, but sometimes people aren’t going to think you’re the bee’s-knees. This might come in the form of a newsletter unsub (bearable) or a client cutting ties (a little more painful). 

Instead of viewing it as a failure, try to see it as an opportunity to learn and improve your business. 

You could ask the person unsubscribing why they’re leaving with a quick survey. You could ask the client to fill out a feedback form. 

While finding your brand’s green lights are super important, taking accountability and copping the negative is also necessary. 

6. Market research means holding your marketing spend accountable

Checking-in with your audience means uncovering if your current marketing strategy (and consequent marketing spend) is actually effective or not. 

If your audience is taking the actions you want them to (yahoo!) and you’re hitting your marketing goals? Great. 

If you’re missing the mark? You can find out why and at which point your marketing strategy is going all loosey-goosey. Then, readjust your approach. 

There’s no point pouring time and money into a marketing strategy that isn’t yielding the intended outcome.

If you need a hand getting back on track or are keen to start researchin’ up a storm, check out our content marketing strategy services now.

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