How to Find the Target Market for your Startup

Every aspiring entrepreneur starts with a great idea, an idea which can solve a burning problem. They try to recast and build something innovative which can differentiate their business from others. But many founders starts with launching a product without realising about their target market, i.e. if a significant number of users are ready to pay for the problem they are trying to solve. If not, this lead to loss of money and time and it's too late when they realise their mistakes. Generally, founders run out of resources and finally end up in failing. Research has shown that 42% of startups fail because they didn't find the right target market for their startup.

An entrepreneur must ask himself, “Is the segment big enough to meet my sales goals yet not so massive I can't really target it?” Keeping in mind that he can’t close everyone in the target segment, he must make sure that the goals can be achieved only by the one being targeted.

Source: https://www.businessstudent.com/topics/small-business-success/

So, finding your target market is one of the most important decision that a business should take before actually starting their business.

I think the mistake a lot of people make is to identify a target audience and then work backwards into creating a product for them. - Ricky Van Veen

Your product may sound interesting and you may also have solved a problem that people are dealing with and are also looking for a solution. But always remember that "sounds interesting" doesn't mean that people are going to pay for your product or service. It will take time to find the right target audience but this is an initial process which can bring you a lot of leads for your business and help you to survive the first few months of the business.

To find the target market you need to break it up into addressable market segments, this can help you to achieve your startup targets. The following ideas have helped entrepreneurs to find a target market for their startups.

How to Find the Target Market for Your Startup

What is "Target Market"
Types of Target Market
Focus on the "Crucial Customers"
Find a segment for early momentum
Take a hard look at the value differentiation
Identify the demographics
Identify prospects that care about the key differentiation the most
How to recognize people with high affinity?

What is a "Target Market"?

A target market in general are people or the group of people who have the potential to buy your product or need of your product. It is that segment of the market which a business want to sell their products to. If a business know what is their target market, it becomes easy for them to market their product. With the help of this information, marketing team can create campaigns which are only focused on that segment of the market. Moreover, it helps the production team to better their product according to their target market's needs.

Types of Target Markets

Some of the most common types of target market which a business focus on are:

  • Gender Based - Example: A cosmetic company would want to target the females in their campaigns rather than including men and children.
  • Age Based - Example: A toy company will focus to impress the kids by the products instead of impressing adults.
  • Location Based - Example: A new local Pizza shop will advertise it in its town or city instead of promoting it all over the country.
  • Income Based - Example: A luxury car brand always try to promote their brand among the people with high income whereas an economy car brand will come up with campaigns and offers focused on lower or middle class people.

Also read: Greatest Marketing campaigns by Mercedes

Focus on the "Crucial Customers"

Put your efforts into focusing on most crucial customers that has the highest probability of purchasing. Before launching a product you need to analyze your target market, if you are an entrepreneur who really want to build a business that will not only solve a problem but also profitable then you will definitely go a long way. You have to interact with your target market. Talk to them, listen to them and then observe those people to know if they are your potential customers. You are going to solve a problem which they are desperately looking for but you have to observe if they are willing to pay for the solution or not.

Only after observing the target market, you should start working on solution of their problems.

You, as a new company, cannot build trust in people if you provide them revolutionary solution. So, come with a solution which is not too extraordinary for people. However, at the same time, you should be able to translate it into a profitable business.

"You just have to pay attention to what people need and what has not been done."--Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam

Before you start your business you have to ask some questions to yourself. These are:

  • "Whether the business can be scaled or not?"
  • "What is the size of your target market?"
  • "How many people you can you possibly sell your product or How many people will probably buy your product?"
    And last but not the least
  • "At what price you should sell the product?".

Find a segment for early momentum of business

Focusing on a segment helps in building early momentum of the business more easily. This involves awareness and word of mouth marketing that usually builds faster across like-minded groups, and success stories resonate well across a segment of similar prospects. This also requires a complex and wide research on all aspect of the startups.

Some of the great ways from where you can start your research

  • Public Forums/Facebook Groups
    There are many online platforms are available now where people ask questions, share their problems and share their ideas too. You can find the insight of both of your target market and also your competitors which can help to find a solution that people are looking for. You can join some Facebook Groups where people from your target market are actively involved, observe them for a while, listen to their conversation, understand their pain point and ask questions. This will help you to understand the problem they are really facing and also looking for a solution.
  • Networking/ Events
    You can start building your network with the people from your target market and also with the people who are solving any burning problem for their target customers. This will help you not only to understand how you can find your target market but also you can learn a lot of things which will help you on your startup journey. You can also attend some live events specially for the startups, where you can meet with new people and also people from your target market. You can directly ask them questions if they are facing any problem or anything they want to make their life better.
  • Talking to friends & family
    This is not necessary that you have to find your target market from outside, there can be some problems your own friends and family are facing which you can give them a solution for. In fact, there are many startups which started by solving a problem faced by themselves. This will help you not only build a profitable business but also you can build the trust immediately and it may help you to come up with an idea which is unique and can differentiate your business from others.

Take a hard look at the value differentiation

Always take a hard look at the value differentiation that can bring prospects for you. In other words, try to initiate the feature that makes the business different and makes it stand out. Many aspiring entrepreneurs get it totally wrong, they think that an idea which is already working and if the business is doing really well then it can bring a large amount of customers for them also and they simply copy the business idea and try to modify the business model. It will be profitable for a short period of time but you will not be able to build a business for a long run.

If you really want to be an entrepreneur and build an empire, then you have to use your own creativity and come up with a solution which will differentiate your startup from the other companies and can bring you a large number of prospects.

Identify the demographics

It’s very important to ask yourself whom should you market and how do you most efficiently reach them? This will include identifying the age, gender, geographic location, occupation, socioeconomic status and other demographic and psychographic traits of the consumers who would be most interested in purchasing your product or service. The key is to identify a niche target market and go after market share aggressively.

Identify prospects that care about the key differentiation the most

When looking across the broader market, some prospects will say, "Yeah, the stuff is cool!!", but others will jump out of their chair and yell "that's amazing!! I need that right now.” In this case always target the second group as they will be the easiest to sell to.

You are building a business not just to solve a problem but to make profit too. So you have to identify whether the people are ready to pay for the solution or not. Many startups end up with wasting their money on marketing and strategies without identifying the right prospects first. So if you really want to scale your business you have to find the right target customer who will care about your solution.

Now you may have this question in mind:

How do I recognize people that have a high affinity for my offering?

The target group that has high affinity to the products being offered could be a certain company, in a certain vertical market, in a certain geography or they might be consumers that already own a particular product and also have some hobbies which are somehow related to your business.

This is where entrepreneurs need to get super specific about targeting these groups. Start asking questions like

  • "What is the smallest business that loves this stuff?"
  • "Do product businesses love it more than services business?"
  • "Which location (urban or rural) do they love most?"
  • "Is there a certain type of small business owner that loves it more? Why?"

The segmentation will depend on the entrepreneur’s ability to be able to identify the characteristics of an ideal, easy to close prospect. If you are able to find the right people that have a high affinity in your niche then definitely you will be able close the sale.

Relevant read: Microinfluencers Marketing- The most effective channel for marketing

These points would certainly help in bringing profit to the company and increasing their customer base.

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About Niku Mandal