Identifying Target Markets For Startups

Even the most bright eyed and bushy tailed of entrepreneurs need to understand and tap into the right target market for their startups. Understanding the likely customer base, their needs and any vapidly emerging trends are important parts of establishing and growing a business.

This is especially true of startups – there are typically a plethora of nerve wrecking guesses that brand new fledgling companies needs to work under the assumption of. The process of tapping into the right target market, and the revenues they’ll spit out is one of the more crucial of those guesses.

Here are some ideas on helping you squeeze into the correct target market, quickly and efficiently:

  • Ask yourself, what problem does your product solve and who needs it the most? Your company and the products and services it offers must exist for a reason. It must address a basic need – understanding your target client and their habits and customs can better help you identify the places where you can find them.
  • Get a feel for the potential online demand for your products and services. Thanks to powerful but free apps like the Google Keyword Tool, understanding online demand can be a convenient and powerful way of identifying the underlying demand that exists for your product or service. Search for problems and solutions – for example, if you have a service that tries to provide an online reputation protection service, don’t just limit yourself to keywords on reputation management – broaden the parameters to terms that describe the problem. For example, “what to do if someone posts negative reviews about me online” is an example of a long tail buying keyword – whoever’s made that search has a pretty serious problem and will probably be part of your target market.
  • Talk to your customers. Many startups do have at least a ghost of a client base before they form an official company that’s ready to scale up. These ready made customers can be a valuable source of research, both to better understand where your target market can be reached as well as to better understand what their requirements are. Good businesses run by good entrepreneurs have this one ubiquitously universal trait – they LISTEN to their customers.
  • Plan & measure your marketing and your distribution network. This should inherently help you to better identify your target market. A good marketing and distribution plan will highlight with supporting evidence as to where and how a product will reach its intended market. What retail avenues will be targeted? Will distribution be purely via physical stores? Or will there be a separate and perhaps even more aggressive digital distribution network? All these attempts to find your target market should be clearly priced, and the costs compared to your revenue model.
  • How is the competition doing it? A strong competitor that seem to be spitting out one profitable year after another is a superb role model to base your own start-up after. Find out what avenues the company is engaging with to find its target clients, and if the product is more or less like for like, you should be able to use the same blueprint.

Get your target market wrong, and as a startup you mightn’t be trading for very long – success in the business world demands a company to find its client base quickly – and no amount of bright eyes or bushy tails will save a company that messes this up.