Hey there! Welcome to the second edition of PostcardMania’s podcast series Small Business Owners of America — Marketing Edition! Its goal is the same as all of my newsletters — providing marketing advice to small business owners rid of any confusing jargon that they can implement as soon as they stop listening.
This week, the podcast will teach you EXACTLY how to figure out your target market. Identifying what your customers look like is essential, and the more you can nail down specific demographics, the better.
You’ll be hearing from one of my top marketing consultants, Mandy! She’s been a marketing consultant at PostcardMania for almost 18 years, personally helping nearly 5,000 businesses across many industries create successful marketing campaigns — she knows a thing or two about target audiences.
Identify your target audience here…
Here’s the transcription below of today’s episode, a conversation between our Director of Multimedia Content, Peyton, and Mandy, one of PostcardMania’s top marketing consultants for almost two decades.
Note: This transcription has been edited slightly for clarity.
“A target audience is a group of people identified as being likely customers of a business that share similar demographic traits, including but not limited to: age, gender, location, education, and socioeconomic status.”
Peyton: Whether you’re starting out as a business or have been marketing for a while, it’s sometimes hard to figure out who your target audience is. A target audience is a group of people identified as being likely customers of a business that share similar demographic traits, including but not limited to: age, gender, location, education, and socioeconomic status. That’s the textbook definition — I’m going to turn it over to someone who knows plenty more than me about how to target the right audience. Hi Mandy!
Peyton: So we’re gonna start off with a basic question. Why do I need a target audience?
Mandy: Well, I think the biggest thing is as a business owner, you want to make sure that you are spending your marketing dollars wisely. Your marketing money is hard-earned and it costs a lot to market, so you want to make sure that what you’re spending your money on is actually going to give you a return on investment. And having a target audience is going to make sure you’re gonna get the best bang for your buck.
Peyton: Say I’m a small business owner: now that we know why it’s important to have the target audience, how do I figure out who my audience is?
“There’s a couple of different ways to define your target audience…”
Mandy: There’s a couple of different ways that you can define your target audience. I think the first and most obvious thing to do would be to look at your past customers and find similar characteristics about them.
For example, let’s say you’re a medical spa. You probably have women coming in between the ages of 35-55, maybe earning a high income, and you find that they are all geographically located within a few miles of your location.
Being able to identify these specific kinds of demographics from your current customers will help you attract other people that don’t know who you are but fit those categories, making them more likely to buy from you too.
Peyton: Okay, so take who is already buying for you and kind of tweak it a little bit, and then that’s who your target audience should be.
Mandy: Correct. And that’s who you would market to for new customers. There are different ways to take your current mailing list (to identify certain demographics), and there are companies that’ll subcategorize your current customers to give you more information about them. You don’t have to get crazy about it, it’s really just finding similar characteristics.
Peyton: Okay, now we know why we need a target audience, how to figure it out, but how do I reach my target audience?
“How do I identify my target audience?”
Mandy: So the best way (and pretty much one of the only ways) is to pinpoint certain demographics with targeted marketing is with postcards, because you can get mailing lists that target these certain demographics and categorizations. (Direct mailing lists are) really one of the only forms of marketing to get really, really specific.
Peyton: Right, before you just touched on mailing lists, which leads me to my next question: when it comes to direct mail, what are mailing lists, and do I need to create one?
Mandy: So there’s a couple of different types of lists.
There’s the compilation of public information which is all categorized with your county courthouse records. Consumers know these days you have to sign up for certain things. When you’re buying things online, your buying habits play a factor in that. So all of this data is compiled and you (as a small business owner) can purchase a mailing list of the specific demographics that you want.
You also have your customer and prospect lists that are invaluable. You should be marketing to these lists. But to generate new business, getting a targeted mailing list from a company like ours is common. And you should do that.
Peyton: Does PostcardMania, our company, have mailing lists that any business can use…
Mandy: Yes, any business can utilize mailing lists and we have pretty much every type of mailing list you could possibly need.
Peyton: Right, can you touch on more examples of businesses and their potential audience? I know you mentioned a med spa before, but can you give me just some examples of other small businesses and their target audiences that you’ve seen?
“Can you give me examples of other small businesses and how they identified their customers?”
Mandy: Yeah, let’s say you have a restaurant and you want to market geographically, you can get mailing lists of just people around you. For restaurants, I would advise targeting people that just moved into the neighborhood within the past 30 days. People that just move in, they wanna know that this is the new restaurant around them. So that’s a good list for that.
Let’s say you’re a daycare center — You can get mailing lists that target people who have children between the ages of newborn to four years old. If you’re a school, you can target people with kids who are five years old to 16, whatever you want.
You can get really specific if you’re B2B, which is business-to-business. You can target different types of businesses. Let’s say you’re a real estate agent and you want to do buy commercial buildings. We can target the owners of those commercial buildings.
At PostcardMania, we practice what we preach. We buy mailing lists of small businesses and we market to them to get them to do our services.
Peyton: For targeting the right audience, is it something I, as a small business owner, can just do myself?
Mandy: Yeah, you can definitely do it yourself by just by looking at similar characteristics of your current customers. But you can always call a marketing company, like PostcardMania, and our consultants go over everything and we know what things to ask you to pick out what your target market is.
Or, if you have a new product and you don’t know who you should be marketing to, we can go over those types of things too. I think the main thing to focus on is you can get really, really specific (with direct mail). However, that can also kind of backfire on you especially if you’re trying to generate new business.
“It’s really important to figure out who could potentially buy your product or service”
It’s important to really just take a broad look of who could potentially buy this (your product/service) and not get so specific that you’re trying to find a unicorn, because that’s not necessarily gonna help you either. You need to cast a broad net, but you need to make sure you’re spending it (your marketing dollars) wisely.
Peyton: Right, well, thank you, Mandy. And with all this talk about mailing lists, you can go to postcardmania.com/lists to run a free mailing list count and get 1,000 free records!
That’s another way that you can get your own mailing list today! And be sure to go onto our website, postcardmania.com, and follow us on Instagram and Facebook @postcardmania, where we share even more marketing tips and tricks and small business successes.