As we’ve illustrated with our customer acquisition foundation, having a clear understanding of your customers is the only way to grow your business. Think about it – you need to know who’s going to actually buy your products and services before you can figure out what they really want and how to reach them. That’s why one of the most important questions to grow your business is, “Who is my target audience?”
Although the answer to this question may evolve over time, developing a position to start from will help influence not only your marketing but how you design your products or services.
Let’s dive deeper into how to find your target audience and how you can use different communication channels to encourage connections and build trust. We’ll look at the following:
- What is a Target Audience?
- Why Define Your Target Audience?
- What are the Best Ways to Identify a Target Market?
- Preparing Your Ideal Customer Persona
- How Defining Your Target Audience Improves ROI
- Are There Different Kinds of Target Audiences?
- How to Reach the Right Target Audience for Your Product or Service
- Engage Your Target Audience Through Content
What is a Target Audience?
According to the eCommerce giant Spotify, a target audience is “a group of consumers most likely to buy a company’s products or services.”
Most business founders and CEOs begin to grow their businesses with at least a general idea of this definition in mind. After all, developing a product for the masses is usually less successful than solving a major point for a certain group of people.
Understanding your target market will also help you focus your marketing efforts. When you write website content, set up an advertising campaign, or develop inbound marketing strategies, where do you want your message to land? A target market helps you figure out who you’re trying to reach and how to reach them most effectively.
Target Audiences & Demographics
Developing a target market will usually start by honing in on important demographic information. However, you should also take it one step further to identify this audience’s wants, needs, and ideals. Some characteristics of a target audience include:
- Age and/or gender
- Geographical location
- Purchase history and buying patterns
- Income level and employment
- Pain points and frustrations
By having an understanding of each of these categories, you can begin to develop a customer profile that shapes your target market.
The truth is defining a target market can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. The process often involves heavy research and diligent planning. And while these tasks aren’t easy, taking the necessary time to understand your ideal customers is key to growing your business.
Why Define Your Target Audience?
Below are some of the reasons why identifying your target market is so important.
- Discovery of needs. The better you understand your target audience, the more you realize what it is they need. Work to understand this customer’s pain points so you can solve their problems. It’s crucial that everyone on your team has a clear picture of who your customer is. This knowledge transforms the work of marketing, sales, product, design, and customer service.
- Message formation. Identifying your target audience means that you can craft specific messages. If you’re always trying to speak to the masses, you may be missing out on a golden opportunity. Attraction marketing happens through consistent and purposeful messaging.
- Identification of under-served markets. When you develop an initial marketing plan, don’t be afraid to think small. Smaller segments can help your business reach underserved markets. In turn, this generates more business by directly meeting a need.
What are the Best Ways to Identify a Target Market?
- Perform diligent research. Understanding demographic information like age, location, and interests can make this easier. If your business caters to a specific stage of life, what do people need help with? Survey existing customers to get a true understanding of who has bought from your business in the past and start to develop a list of their common characteristics.
- Survey the competition. One way to identify your target market is to identify your competitors. Which customers are they targeting and why? What do they offer that is unique to the market?
- Develop a target market statement. A target market statement gets everyone in the company on the same page. The statement is based on key identifiers in your customer profiles. If you offer multiple products or services, you can develop a statement for each one.
- Perform relevant analysis. Analysis should be part of your identification strategy, but it can take shape in different forms. Whether you analyze the metrics of your social media performance or create lists for unique product benefits, you can learn more about strengths and weaknesses this way.
It should be noted that the process for defining a target audience looks a little different in the B2B space as compared to B2C. Selling to other businesses versus directly to consumers may change what kind of data you want to know.
For example, you might be more interested in their job title and key responsibilities than their age or gender. Regardless, you need to spend the time to define your target audience before spending any money, time, and resources trying to reach them.
Preparing Your Ideal Customer Persona
Developing an ideal customer persona is a way for you to really get to know the individuals to whom you will market your product or service.
Not only does an ideal customer persona show you more about key demographic information, but it also illustrates why your product or service is an excellent choice. As you complete your research, be sure to include the benefits of your service and why those solve a pain point. This provides the basis for the psychological aspect of selling your offer to an ideal customer.
How Your Target Audience Relates to Different Marketing Channels
Marketing is the means by which you can reach your target audience with a powerful and convincing message. But if it’s reaching the wrong crowd, you may not ever see the return for your invested time, money, and energy. Deciding the best marketing channel often comes down to understanding how your ideal customers receive information.
Below is a breakdown of the different marketing channels and factors you might use to reach your target audience.
The term “social media” can be very broad since it now encompasses so many different channels and platforms. Among the most popular–Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn–customers may have certain platforms they use for specific purposes. Additionally, the demographic information of users for each channel is different based on age, gender, employment, and interests.
To develop a social media target audience, you should first find out where your audience is most active. Do you serve a younger or older crowd? What are the most popular times of day for your target audience to be online? The answers to these questions can determine how you post, engage, and respond.
You can also implement CTAs in other locations, such as on your blog or in emails, to invite customers to follow you on social channels. This creates a connection and helps customers feel as though they have inside access to your business.
There may be many subscribers on your email list who are not necessarily part of your target audience. While it’s a good idea to continue building your list, you also need to know how to segment your audience so that you’re reaching the right people with key messages. Recent statistics show that up to 80% of all email marketing ROI was a result of sending messages to the proper audience.
The key to effective email marketing is segmentation. Segmentation is a process of dividing your list into specific groups so that you can provide different content based on a customer’s stage in the buying journey. Without segmentation, it’s difficult to send timely or educational messages to the people who might be most interested.
To measure the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy, you can take an in-depth look at key metrics. Factors like open rate and click-through rate can let you know how readers are responding to the content you provide. If these numbers are below industry standards, you may need to tweak your email content to better fit the needs and interests of your ideal customer persona.
Blogging & Content Marketing
A strong blog for your business should begin by understanding what information your ideal customer persona is looking for. Create content that answers their questions and satisfies their curiosities. Then add a call to action that invites them to take the next step, like downloading a guide or subscribing for regular updates.
You can also use Google Analytics to get more statistics about your website traffic and visitor demographics. This important data can help your content marketing team generate more effective content based on keywords, time on page, and other useful statistics.
Google Ads: Display and PPC Advertising
Display marketing is an advertising channel that uses images, text, and visuals to help you target specific individuals. Detailed tracking information can help you see which individuals clicked on a display marketing ad and what steps they took afterward. Because this tactic costs money, it’s important to understand how to use and create display ads that work for your business.
How Defining Your Target Audience Improves ROI
A return on investment (ROI) is the calculation of how much an activity or campaign costs versus how much it produces in results. While a specific ratio is hard to pin down, some marketing experts suggest that a 5:1 ratio is a good ROI for marketing efforts.
While understanding your target audience can help improve this ratio, it’s only the first step. Good ROI depends on the skill and cohesiveness of your teams, the strength of your product or service, and the brand’s reputation or trust factor. Although a strong ROI could take time to develop, meeting the needs of your target audience can certainly help resources go to the most appropriate campaigns.
Are There Different Kinds of Target Audiences?
Businesses are often multi-faceted. This means that you might have several sub-groups of customers you want to reach with different products and services. When it comes to how to reach your target audience, it may be helpful to break it down into different types.
- Subcultures. People unite over shared experiences and life events, which can result in the creation of subcultures. If your business targets a specific niche, these smaller groups can be powerful to your sales process.
- Lifestyles. Individuals often make purchase decisions because of their lifestyle. Whether it comes to career, food, or family, lifestyle choices are primary motivators. How can you get to know the separate lifestyles of your target audience?
- Loyal fans. There will always be members of your target audience who are dedicated and devoted fans for life. It’s important to leverage these customers in your marketing and outreach efforts. You may even wish to turn them into brand advocates.
Understand Your Target Audience, Improve Your Marketing
All relationships grow and change, and that’s no different when it comes to your target audience. As trends and industries evolve and change, the needs and expectations of your target audience may shift.
Understanding your target audience is not a one-time event, but rather a continual cycle of learning more about the customers you serve. Here are some tactics to help you stay in touch with the needs of your customers.
- Engage in social listening. How tuned in are you to the voices of your customers on channels like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn? Are they sharing positive posts, or are they sharing their frustration through their messages? You can use analytics and insights on separate media platforms to learn more about buyer activity.
- Ask for regular feedback. One way to understand your audience at a deeper level is to ask targeted questions. You can do this with manual customer feedback surveys or by using automated feedback software. Have a plan in place to respond to or address major issues so that customers know that your business is trustworthy.
- Experiment with new updates. Testing is one way to figure out what your customers do and don’t like. You can perform tests within your content marketing or in more significant ways with your product. Having a communication plan in place can help in the event that customers respond negatively to the changes.
How to Reach the Right Target Audience for Your Product or Service
When you truly understand your ideal customers, you will know what makes them frustrated. Your team should also understand why those customers are searching for a solution in the first place. Perhaps the competitors don’t meet a need, and that creates room in the market for you to fill.
You need this background knowledge of your ideal customer persona to build and tweak your product in such a way that it works better than other available options. To truly innovate, you may even need specialized skills or subject matter expertise. However, you can invest wisely knowing that your team is developing a product that appeals to a specific and targeted audience.
Engage Your Target Audience Through Content
Content marketing is a powerful tool for reaching your target audience. Yet some businesses make the mistake of only talking about themselves in content marketing efforts. When you don’t address the reasons people are searching for a solution, you will quickly lose steam.
When you develop content marketing to reach your target audience, you should always keep in mind that your readers may not know what you know. At the same time, you want to educate without demeaning. This helps a reader feel as though they can turn to your resources for help.
Additionally, it’s good practice to assume that your ideal reader doesn’t necessarily care about your brand right away. Most readers care about their own lives and the problems they wish to solve. How will your content marketing strategies change as you shift the focus to the needs of your target audience?
Need Help Defining Your Target Audience?
At Striventa, we recognize that one of the biggest questions business owners and founders have is how to grow their businesses. Defining a target audience is one of the most critical steps your company can take to acquire more customers and grow your business.
When you work with the Striventa team, you’ll walk away with a clear picture of who your ideal customers are and how you can effectively attract, engage, and delight them to grow your business.