Find Your Niche: Targeting Start up Demographics

Not everyone wants to buy what you’re selling. For your startup company to be successful, you need to identify your target market.This is one of the first steps of launching a startup company. But it’s much easier said than done.

If you don’t have a clear target audience in mind, your marketing campaigns are going to cost you a fortune. You’ll also have low conversion rates, and your customer acquisition costs will be through the roof. Marketing to everyone and anyone is simply a waste of effort, time, and money. Instead, focus your branding and marketing strategies on a specific group of people who genuinely have a need, want, or interest in your company. Cash in the bank is obviously important for every start up, but for startup companies, it’s their lifeline. If your marketing campaigns are unsuccessful, your startup is going to bleed money. Take a look at the top 2 reasons why startups fail:

Reason #1: 42% of startups failed because there wasn’t a market for their offering.

That’s why identifying your start up market needs to be one of the first steps. If you discover there isn’t a market for what your startup has to offer, you can go back to the drawing board and try something else before you invest too much time and money.

Reason #2: 29% of startups failed because they ran out of money.

Spending your valuable start up marketing budget on the wrong target audience could cause your company to go out of business. With limited cash in the bank, you may not be able to recover from this, but don’t worry.

We’ll explain what you need to do to identify your target market, which will position your startup company for success:

Start with broad assumptions, and slowly narrow your focus. 

Don’t start with a really narrow start up audience right away. Instead, begin with larger groups that you assume may be interested in your brand. From here, you can slowly start getting more specific.

Use a few of these simple and general segments to get started:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location

You can also use these broad groups to eliminate people who aren’t in your target market. For example, let’s take a look at some products from the Texas Beard Company:

They sell things such as beard oil, brushes, balms, combs, and any accessory you would need for a healthy beard. So if you had a startup company like this, right away you could eliminate women from your target audience.

Don’t get it wrong, we’re not saying women won’t buy these products. It’s definitely possible women could make a purchase from this brand as a gift for men in their lives, but you wouldn’t make them part of your target audience.

What else can you assume about men who are looking for beard products? Take their age into consideration. It’s safe to assume that neither teenagers nor too many senior citizens would be buying these products. As a result, you would eliminate males under the age of 20 and over the age of 60 from your target audience.

What else can you assume about the people who may be interested in your products? They either have a beard or want to grow a beard. In the example we just used, you’ve already narrowed your target market to men between the ages of 20 and 60 who have beards.

As we continue through this process, we’ll narrow the target audience even more, but for now, this is a great place to start.

Analyze your competition

It’s rare for a start up to come up with a product or service that doesn’t already exist. While the idea for your startup may be somewhat unique, you’ll still be a part of an existing industry. Other people are already doing what you’re trying to do. You’ve got to find out how to position your company within your industry.

To do this properly, you’ll need to conduct research on your competition. Figure out what they’re doing well and what needs improvement. Who are your competitors targeting? Look at their advertisements, visit their website, join their email subscription lists. 

You can attempt to go after the same start up target market or focus on a group your competition may be overlooking.

Are you going to target a niche audience or sell products for the masses?

Will your start up have high quality products/services at a premium price, or are you planning to target cost-sensitive consumers? It will be easier to answer these questions after you research the competition. Analyzing your competition can help you increase profits even after your startup launches. Competitive analysis can also show you how consumers behave in this industry.

Ideally, you want to build long-lasting relationships with your customers, but this idea can vary based on your products, services, brand, and industry. You need to adjust your target market accordingly.

For example, let’s say your startup company sells cars or similar products. A customer today may not be ready to buy another vehicle for another decade. In this case, you can’t rely on loyal and repeat customers. Instead, you’ll have to focus on customer acquisition strategies.

Find out how your competition is able to continually market to different customers and whether their campaigns are successful.

Talk to people

While making assumptions and analyzing your competition are logical places to start, those strategies will only get you so far. If you really want to focus on the ideal target market for your startup company, you need to put in much more work. You need to speak to consumers: see if your assumptions are right. Conduct one-on-one interviews, and use focus groups to test your assumptions.

For example, let’s say your brand’s general target market is women between the ages of 25 and 40. It’s a huge percentage of the population. You’ll have to come up with other ways to segment that target market into smaller groups genuinely interested in your brand.

Focus groups and interviews can give you more information about potential consumers for your company. Your focus groups should have 10 to 12 participants. Show these people different products, services, or marketing campaigns your startup is planning to use. See how receptive they are to what you’re showing them.

Find out more information about the people who have a positive reaction. If you’re interviewing only women between the ages of 25 and 40, what other similarities do they have? For example, you might find out that all the women who liked your products were married. You could also discover that women of a certain social class or annual household income were more receptive to your brand than others.

Make sure you find out as much information as possible about everyone in your focus groups. Have all of your participants fill out a questionnaire before the interview or focus group starts, but realize you won’t find out everything you need after just one session or interview.

The market research phase is an ongoing process. The more people you can talk to, the more accurate your data will be. As a result, it will be easier for you to identify your target market.

Create customer personas

Now that you have a better understanding of your target market, create customer personas to learn even more about their buying behavior. A customer persona will ultimately help you market to this audience.

Make the persona specific to your company. You can tell the example above is for a business selling shoes. This customer persona has trouble finding shoes that fit her because she has narrow feet. Now, your startup company may sell shoes to both men and women, but each persona needs to be unique.

Who is visiting your website?

The traffic to your site can be a good indicator of your target audience. Google Analytics can show you who is visiting your website. The reports are generated and grouped by demographic information. It helps you identify which users on your website are the most valuable.

As you can see, identifying your start up target market is a long process. When you first get started, you’ll need to make general assumptions about your prospective customers, since you don’t have any concrete data yet. Slowly start to narrow down that market based on your brand, products, services, and industry.

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