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The best way to define your target market

You've heard it before: Defining and finding your target market is one of the most important tasks you can do in your business. In today's post, we'd like to address how to hone in on your target market by surveying your current customers.

If you're just starting out and don't have any customers yet, don't worry! You can do the steps in this post once you get your first few customers.

Imagine this: I hand you an easy-to-use customer survey template that helps you to tune in to your customers’ biggest frustrations and greatest challenges, which further allows you to offer them products that remove these stressors. Imagine the impact you’ll have on your customers, with products that they desperately want and need.

Picture being able to know exactly what goes through your customers' minds when they’re buying so that you can anticipate objections and tackle them right away.

Imagine how easy sales will be when you can predict what and how prospective customers will buy from you, as well as what their lifestyle is like, what magazines they read, what TV shows they watch, how they spend their free time and more!

That is the power of finding your target market through customer surveys and why every online store owner needs to conduct a survey, at least once a year, if not more.

In addition to helping you define your target market, customer surveys help you measure and assess the level of customer satisfaction and the chances that they’ll buy from you again.

In case you’d like some numbers to further cement your conviction in the power of surveys, here you go:

“A typical business hears from 4% of its dissatisfied customers.” [source: HelpScout]

“News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for good service experience.” [source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs]

And THIS one, this one is just incredible. “For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent.” [source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs]

Imagine being able to know what complaints your customers may have so that you can address and fix them, doubling or even, tripling your sales, in the process and leading to a happier customer base that loves spreading the word about your business.

The power of customer surveys is immense and you need to leverage that power right now.

Six steps to define your target market with customer surveys

1. Know What You Want to Measure

It all starts with the goals. You need to know exactly what you want to know about your target market.

Is it what other websites or magazines they read?

Is it what other products they purchase?

Is it how many kids they have, where they live, how much money they make or where they go on vacation?

Is it what they do in their spare time, whether it's yoga, fishing, traveling, or playing with their kids?

Knowing what you’ll be measuring will help you craft questions and strategies accordingly.

Remember – the ultimate goal of your customer survey is to give you information that you did not know about before. It is absolutely vital that you be able to use the information that you gather from a survey to define your target market. Imagine being able to go from “My target market are women who are between 20-30, are single, do yoga, read Glamour magazine and Perez Hilton and watch American Idol.” Can you imagine how much more powerful your marketing messages would be if you knew this information?

2. Know Who You Want to Survey

Once you’re clear on what you’ll be measuring, the next question is who would you be surveying.

Will it be customers who shop with you regularly?

Will it be customers who haven’t shopped with you lately?

Will it be customers who shopped only once with you and then, never again?

Or do you want to survey visitors to your website, your email subscribers or your social media followers, regardless of whether they've purchased from you or not (so you can determine who you are attracting)?

Knowing your audience, again, will help you tailor the questions accordingly so you get results that can help you make a positive change.

3. Know What You Want to Ask

The next step is outlining the questions you want to ask your customers.

Once you know who you’re surveying and why you’re doing that, it is easy to map out the questions you need to ask them.

Luckily, for you, I even have a sample survey that you can easily use. Yes, go ahead, download it and simplify this part of the process instantly.

4. Collect Info

The next thing you need to think about is what tool will you use to capture the survey data so you can easily analyze and understand it.

Some of our fave picks are:

Survey Monkey


Google Forms

5. Segment your customers

Ideally, you should segment your customers into an easy-to-understand categorization.

You can do this in 1 of 3 ways:

Purchase history: Segment them based on how often or how little have they purchased from you- active buyers, non-buyers and repeat buyers.

Engagement Source: You can segment them based on how they engage with you – via email, social media or on your website

A mix of both: You can also segment them mixing up the two ways above and go granular. So, you can have active buyers who engage with your brand on social media, active buyers who engage with your business via email and so on.

6. Interpret Your Data to Create Your Target Market Profile

Finally, and most importantly, have a plan in place to organize the information you collect from the survey responses. Once you have all this info, you have an image of your target market: who they are, what they do, where they spend their time, how they hang out, where they work, etc.

Why do you need to know this information about your target market? Well, because you can use all of this information in the following ways:

  • to use language on your website that speaks directly to them
  • to set up your product photos and website photos to reflect their lifestyle
  • to share information on social media that speaks to them directly
  • to use these criteria to target your advertising (whether it's online or offline)
  • to set up events that appeal to them
  • to sell your products in the types of stores that appeal to them
  • to put together an action plan to help you improve your website experience, customer service and most importantly, sales

The more your website, products, marketing materials, social media posts and everything else that you do in your business speaks to your target market, the more connected they will feel to you. And the more connected they feel, the more likely they are to support your business.

Your turn: Have you ever conducted a customer survey to help you define your target market? If so, please share your experience below.


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