If you have been following me (or any marketer for that matter) for a while, then you would know the importance of having a target market and getting to know them really well.
But how do you actually go about doing this?
The first thought is always to conduct a survey or interviews. Both are great options but sometimes it is a real struggle to get participants and they can take a lot of work to create, conduct and review the results.
So to help I want to give you 5 other options for target market research which you might not have thought of.
These can be used instead of surveys or interviews or they can be used as a compliment to them – up to you!
method #1: the muse
Instead of trying to find dozens of people to complete a survey, how about you just try to find one muse and get to know them really well.
This is someone that truly represents your ideal customer.
Your muse can be a number of people. It can be a friend or family member. It can be a total stranger on the internet. It can even be you (now or in the past).
The idea is you want to put yourself into their shoes. Think about their needs, their dreams and their challenges.
Check out where they are online. What social media platforms do they use? What websites do they visit?
It can even be helpful to complete a Target Market Profile from their perspective.
method #2: lifestyle mapping
Once you have a muse or a general customer avatar in mind it can be helpful to map out their lifestyle. What they do on a day to day basis.
This is as simple as writing on a blank sheet of paper “When they get up on a Monday, they X then they Y” and simply map out all their activities for the day.
Yes, this is getting very specific but it really helps you to understand where the best places are for you to connect with them, what times of day you will have the best odds and what they are interested in talking about. It also might highlight any challenges they face on a regular basis that you might be able to solve.
method #3: facebook groups
Facebook Groups are a fantastic place to gather information. Once you find a group where your audience is hanging out, it can be an absolute gold mine.
There are two main ways to go about getting market information from groups: the super sneaky way and the direct way.
The super sneaky way involves going to the search box in the group and searching for your key terms. Then you should be able to go through posts and comments related to your niche. Simply copy and paste as much information as you can to a spreadsheet for sorting and categorising.
The direct way involves asking some prompting questions yourself and conversing with those who respond to dive even deeper.
Once again you would copy & paste all these answers into a spreadsheet or document to help you look for trends.
method #4: the one question
Often when doing market research it is easy to get carried away with the million and one things we want to know about our audience. But sometimes the best information can come from asking the same question over and over again. And a great question to ask is one that really dives into the heart of what you can help them with.
Here’s the one I suggest: “When it comes to X (your product / service / solution) , what is your biggest challenge (or struggle) right now?”
This question works because people like to talk about what they are struggling with. They also don’t always know what they really want.
Once you have created your one question you can ask it anywhere and everywhere:
- In Facebook groups
- As social media posts
- In your emails
- In face to face conversations
Pretty much anywhere you encounter a member of your target market.
Then it is just a matter of copying the answers into a master document and reviewing it on a regular basis.
a final thought…
Target Market research is something that truly never ends for your business. You will always be learning more about your audience as both you and they grow & change. Therefore it is important to keep listening at every opportunity. You never know what gold nuggets of information will come out.
It is then up to you to keep track of them and start to discover themes that will help you better connect.