How to Know if There’s an Audience for Your Product

By the small business content developers at

You’ve got a great idea for a business and you have some money, time, and energy to invest in a new venture, but you want to do some preliminary research before you completely throw yourself into it. Or you’ve been working on your venture for a while, but you’ve hit a critical stage and you need confirmation that your audience exists.

Either way you’re looking for information that is out there, but may be a little challenging to uncover. You can pay someone to gather the information for you like a market research company or you can do some heavy lifting and discover the information yourself. If you choose to do it yourself, you will develop a skill that will help you understand if there’s even an audience for your product.

  • Look for competitors.

It might seem counterintuitive to scope out the competition, but if you find direct competitors or someone offering something similar to your concept, you’ll be able to determine that there is a market for your business by looking at their audience.

If your idea is something more forward-thinking, so much so that you can’t find any direct competitors, think about goods or services that align with your product or mission. For example, one forerunner of the personal computer was the typewriter, so someone prognosticating the market for personal computers would have looked at those who often buy typewriters -- like college students -- to see where they should expect to find their potential market. When you scrutinize competitors, you’ll be able to glean the identity of your potential audience.

  • Build a buyer persona or customer profile.

Once you’ve identified your possible competitors, take a look at who they’re reaching by examining their audience on social media or the people who mention the brands, services, or goods associated with that industry. You should be able to see certain consistent data points such as gender, age group, geographic location, industry affiliations, or popular pastimes. You don’t need to drill down too deeply into this data, but you should be able to find usable demographic data to help you describe your audience succinctly as well as gauge the size of your possible audience.

  • Investigate audience behavior.

Once you’ve identified your potential audience, you can look for the places where that audience tends to congregate and engage them there. If your audience clusters on sites with forums or discussion groups, you can post useful information or ask them about their experiences with your competitors, so that you can start to identify the causes of buyer behavior.

Remember, you’re not selling to them yet; you’re building a relationship. If you start selling too aggressively, it could result in turning them away. Once you’ve begun your conversation with this promising market, ask them about their preferences or any problems they’ve had. These data points will help you further refine your product or service, so that you can give customers what they want rather than what you think they want.

All this research and effort will help you identify your audience in a detailed manner and assist you in selecting appropriate ways to communicate with them, giving you a sizable advantage over your competitors! It might seem like a lot of work to do on your own, but the research will pay off when you’re able to confidently reach out to your audience and dependably get a response.

By Andrew Patricio

April 20, 2016