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7 questions to ask to identify your target demographic

Narrowing down who you are trying to reach

No matter what type of business you own or run, not everyone is your ideal customer or demographic and that can be hard to accept, as you want everyone to love, appreciate, and utilize your products or services. However, thinking this way will only hurt your business when it comes to marketing and advertising efforts.

But how do you find the balance between running your business—whether you’re a real estate team, a dog groomer, or own a bakery—and researching and properly identifying your target demographic? For starters, it’s not as hard as it seems. It comes down to asking yourself some basic questions about your products, services, outreach, and ultimate career goals, below is a good starting point:

1. Who would most benefit from your product or services? Think of a specific age group or stage in life—teenagers, retirement community, new parents, empty nesters, the recent college grad.

2. What are your targeted income levels and occupations? Will you interact directly with other business professionals or with consumers? Is your product or service geared toward lower-income households or those who make over six figures a year?

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3. Why do they need your product or service? Does your business provide a solution to a problem? Will it enhance their quality of life? Is it for amusement or is it an everyday necessity?

4. Why do they think they need what your business offers? This is important. In order for your business to be successful, your customers have to think they need your product or service. So, what drives that need? What would encourage, interest, or intrigue them into choosing you?

5. What are their core values? Even though this question seems like it’s only relevant if your business is faith or moral-based, that isn’t so. Think about it. If you run a bakery, what core value would entice your target demographic to buy your baked goods? It may revolve about the nutritional values of your bread, feeding their families the best products, or supporting the local small businesses. Whatever it is, you can market your business to that specific group. But your products have to reflect and enhance their core values.

6. How will they find you? Will information about your business be spread through social networks, blogs, word of mouth, or print, television, or radio ads? Will you use campaigns, giveaways, or clever marketing material to bring your target demographic to you?

7. What will keep them coming back? Do you offer the best products at the lowest prices? Do you have the best customer service around? Is what you offer unique to your industry?

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Yes, you’re busy in developing, maintaining, and improving your business. But knowing your target demographic is essential to the health and success of your professional endeavors and your livelihood as a small business owner. If you can thoroughly and completely answer the above seven questions, you can then successfully determine who you should be targeting, why, and how.

Even though your business or service may bleed into many age groups, life stages, incomes, or occupations, it may be best if you focus on marketing to one group at a time. Don’t spread yourself too thin in trying to reach everyone. Find the demographic that would benefit the most from your company and the one that would provide you with the best ROI.

Once you’ve conquered and secured one demographic, you can then introduce your business to additional demographics, while maintaining your current customer base. Sometimes, it just comes down to a very skilled balancing act. But in order for any balancing act to work, you need a stable foundation. And the above questions can provide you with just that.

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Written By

The American Genius Staff Writer: Charlene Jimenez earned her Master's Degree in Arts and Culture with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Denver after earning her Bachelor's Degree in English from Brigham Young University in Idaho. Jimenez's column is dedicated to business and technology tips, trends and best practices for entrepreneurs and small business professionals.


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