Every small business has its challenges. One common challenge entrepreneurs face is trying to fit big plans into a small budget. But, that’s also where many falter…

You see, you don’t necessarily need big plans in order to be successful.

You heard (ahem, read) that right.

Actually, many small businesses are making big waves by narrowing their focus instead of expanding. These small businesses are defining their target market and focusing all their efforts on a small group of people.

You see, when you’re looking to conquer the world by marketing to everyone and their mother, you’re putting yourself in direct competition with major corporations with ginormous budgets. These companies have advertising budgets that exceed your sales from last year by about three times or more. Savvy entrepreneurs choose to focus only on a small niche, so they can provide more value to more of the right people (instead of providing less value to everyone).

So, everything is easy in theory, right? But, finding your target market takes more than just research. It takes some serious thought and consideration. It’s not as easy as reading some “How to target market” article. No, you need to research your market of choice, your potential customers and make some choices.

What is Customer Research?

Start by asking yourself who your customers are. To say they’re “anyone who wants my product (or service” isn’t going to cut it in this competitive environment.

If you’re already selling your product or service, you need to research your current customers. Are they male or female? Do they have a lot of money or are they struggling? Your goal is to create a customer profile or two, so you know exactly who’s at the other end of your marketing efforts. Once you know who you’re talking to, it’s easier to engage that person in “conversation.” From here, you create your ads.

Target Audience Marketing

Now it’s time for the good stuff. Not only do you know whether your customers are male or female, but you’ve also learned where they like to shop and where they hangout online.

Now, you can get to work crafting targeted ads that speak directly to your audience – and you can place those ads where you know they’ll see them. For example, if you know most of your customers (or potential customers) subscribe to a certain magazine, you might place an ad in that publication, you might place an ad on their website, or you might place a Facebook ad targeted to people of a certain age who “like” the magazine’s Facebook page. Instead of doing a blanket Google Adwords campaign, you’re marketing directly to the people who are most likely to buy your product or subscribe to your service.

You’ve defined and marketed to your target audience – all that’s left is total domination.

Trin Salaloy is the co founder and creator of MadeFreshly – a simple to use online store creator. He is a designer, entrepreneur and online marketing guru. He’s committed to making it easy for entrepreneurs to make beautiful websites.