How to Identify Your Target Market with an Online Survey Platform

How to Identify Your Target Market with an Online Survey Platform

To achieve business success, you need to be able to identify your target market, the most important segment of the population, business-wise. Even more important is being able to properly market your products and services to the members of your target market.

In order to do so, you need to understand your target market comprehensively. While this may sound like a feat, the proper online survey tool can make this task effortless  — in the literal sense, as you won’t need to do any outreach efforts yourself. 

A target market is not simply a target audience, it is a specific segment of the population that’s most vital to your business. This article explains this population, how to identify it and how to engage with it using an online survey platform.

Defining the Target Market

To identify your target market, you need to be well-acquainted with what it is composed of and what it entails. 

A target market is a group of customers to whom a business targets its marketing efforts so as to prompt them to make purchases or continue patronizing a business. This group shares certain characteristics that make it unique and differentiable from a larger geographic or psychographic population. 

At the broadest level, this group represents all the consumers in a particular market (for example, solar energy). While this group is a good starting point for conducting market segmentation, it is too wide-ranging to target, let alone assure its members will become your customers.

This is due in large part to the fact that when a business develops a plan, whether it is a content marketing strategy, an advertising plan or even a general business plan, it needs to have a precise target market to aim all of its efforts towards. Otherwise, they will be wasted efforts.

Why the Target Market is of Utmost Importance

Regardless of whether your business is aiming to acquire new customers or retain existing customers, neither of these objectives will transpire if you’re appealing to the wrong people. 

Therefore, a target market is not merely a group to whom a business aims its marketing and sales efforts.

Instead, a target market is marked by its greatest utility: a group of people that are most willing and most likely to buy from you and engage in customer loyalty. 

As such, it should not be considered the other way around, that of being a group of consumers a business wants to sell to, as this group represents the people most likely to buy from your business. 

When you sell to a concrete group of people, those most inclined to be your customers, your business is more likely to receive a higher ROI. Additionally, you’ll save time and money by avoiding resource expenditure on people who are less likely to buy from you

Therefore, it is essential to identify your target market, keep track of it and market to it based on its desires and needs. You can do so with a highly targeted campaign via the aforementioned market segmentation. 

The Characteristics of a Target Market

Before you conduct market segmentation, you ought to understand the exact makeup of a target market. There are various qualities among buyers and knowing about all of them will propel you towards correctly identifying your target market and marketing to it successfully. 

An awareness of target market characteristics will allow you to know which ones to seek and group together when performing market segmentation and market research at large. Many times, these characteristics may dictate your target market’s behaviors, attitudes and inclinations.

The following lists the characteristics that identify your target market, with which you should perform market segmentation and finally, targeting.

  1. Demographics: age, gender, race, ethnicity, occupation, marital status
  2. Geographic location: continent, country, US census region, state, city, zip code, etc.
  3. Buying power: salary, income, job position, company, buying habits, buying pains
  4. Behaviors: Store visits, online browsing, lifestyle, hobbies, device preferences, tendencies to buy (seasonal, vs regular) 
  5. Needs: Typical problems that your product/service solves, gaps in the industry in relation to needs, interests, desires
  6. Psychographics: values, beliefs, aversions, opinions, personalities and inclinations
  7. Firmographics: (for B2B surveys) niche, company size, company type, employee count, business goals

How to Identify Your Target Market with an Online Survey Platform

Now that we laid out the makeup of a target market, it’s time to move on to identifying your target market, using the above characteristics in tow.  

You can identify all of the above characteristics of your target market by performing market segmentation, the process of further subdividing your target market. 

But, if you do not have a solid picture of your target market, you can start from scratch. Here is how to identify your target market from the beginning.

Step 1: Placing Your Business into Context

Consider the type of business you operate or plan on starting up. Which industry does it belong to? Moreover, find the niche within that industry that your business most closely falls under. Once you do this, consider the pain points customers in this niche face and who they may be. This will give you a contextual starting point.

Step 2: Mapping Out Your Broader Target Market

When mapping out your broader target market, do so from a high level with the following questions:

  1. Is there a market for my business? What are its niches?
  2. Where does my business fit within any of those niches?
  3. Who would most likely need my business offerings?
  4. Who can afford my offerings?
  5. Who would mostly buy from my business?
  6. Where is my business primarily located?
  7. Am I going to target other locations, if so, which ones?

Try to answer these questions to the best of your ability. If not, move onto the next step.

Step 3: Conduct Secondary Market Research

Next, conduct secondary market research for your startup or established business. This involves looking at research that has already been conducted and made available. While not all of the resources you may come upon will be free, they provide an invaluable starting point into your target market.

Pay attention to publications, blogs, trade magazines, statistics websites, etc., that discuss the target market, customer base and customers in general. Consider this: Does any of the target market information that you discover appear relevant to your business?

If so, use it to answer the questions in Step 2.

Step 4: Put Together Your Questions & Answers, Having Assembled at Least 10

As you derive the answers to the above basic questions, add more questions as extensions of available questions for a deeper read of the makeup of your particular target market.

Assure that you have identified at least 10 target market characteristics. (If you still feel as though you don’t have all the information about your target market, don’t fret, you can perform more market segmentation later).

After you’ve conducted a viable amount of secondary market research, put together a list of the characteristics you have identified about your target market. Include the areas in which you are lacking information.

Step 5: Creating a Survey

Create a survey in a few steps to identify your target market in greater depth. This is a key step, as surveys can help you discover many aspects of your target market that secondary research does not have the capacity to do.

It’s virtually impossible to have all your questions answered and available in secondary sources. On the other hand, surveys allow you to ask virtually any question about your target market directly to its members.

First off, surveys allow you to target any group of customers via the screener. The first stage of the survey process for respondents, the screener asks them to fill out key demographic information. Additionally, it includes a question portion, which can include psychographic, behavioral, needs-based or any other kinds of screening questions.

This dual approach in the screener ensures that only the respondents that make up your target market are allowed to participate in the survey.

Once they enter the survey, you can further segment them by asking questions that pertain to the aforesaid characteristics of a target market (such as behaviors, psychographics, etc.). By asking questions about these characteristics, you can also tie the survey to another campaign, such, such as an ad campaign or one that measures brand awareness. 

The Need to Study Your Target Market Continuously

Catering to your target market goes far beyond being able to identify your target market alone. Once you have a sense of who makes it up, you have to assure that your products, services and experiences live up to their needs and expectations.

There is no other way to understand all of this, aside from deploying online surveys. Surveys allow you to keep track of your target market, which, to reiterate, is the most important portion of the population for your business.

With needs and standards that evolve alongside changes in technology, rising trends and industry updates, it is critical to be able to anticipate your target market’s changing needs along with them. 

Additionally, some market segments have a tendency to change their minds and even their spending habits. Consider for example, a market of recent college graduates who have landed their first job. They may soon change their spending habits and develop an interest in more products, due to their increased spending power.

As such, it is essential to keep track of your target market. Online surveys help you do just that along with gaining key insights to various other campaigns. 

Frequently asked questions

What does the term "target market" mean?

A target market is a customer group that businesses target to compel them to purchase their products or services. This group of customers shares specific characteristics that make them different from a broader psychographic or geographic population.

Why is it important for businesses to know their target market?

Businesses need to know their target market because it allows them to identify those most likely to make a purchase, get a consultation, register for a demo, etc. It also helps businesses save time and money by limiting funnel research and ensuring that budgets are spent on leads with the highest potential for profitability.

What are some characteristics of a target market?

When sampling a target market, consider their geographic location (continent, state, city, zip code), demographics (age, race, gender, occupation, marital status), psychological patterns and behaviors (store visits vs. online visits, past purchase history, tendencies to buy (seasonal or regular customer), and income (salary, occupation, buying habits, elasticity to price change, etc.).

How can you conduct secondary market research on your target market?

Businesses can conduct secondary market research by looking at publications, trade magazines, websites, and data analytics and statistics. This provides them with a starting point to learn more about their target market.

How can you identify your target market via an online survey platform?

A strong online survey platform is a reliable tool for accurately identifying your target market's behaviors, opinions, lifestyles, wants, needs and aversions, because they allow you to target any group of customers. The first stage (the screener) usually asks customers to fill in their information like demographics and location, as they filter survey participation qualifications.