Finding your target audience will allow you to make better business decisions and reach out to low-hanging fruits within your industry. A lot of time, people are ready and willing to tell you what they want, you just need to learn how to ask them the right questions. Even more importantly, you need to know who to ask.
A lot of time, people’s demographic determines which channels are they more likely to be receptive towards. It determines which social media platforms they use, what kind of content they prefer and even their purchasing power (which may play part in the pricing structure of your products).
There are numerous benefits to defining your target audience clearly. The three most prominent ones are facts that you:
- Get to make the right content for the right people
- Increase conversions
- Understand how to create content and provide value in the future
In other words, this increases the efficiency of your marketing and content marketing by quite a margin. Seeing as how your content marketing allows you to build trust with your audience, as well as provide them value before they become customers, this is simply huge.
1. Who are your current customers?
Unless you’re still in the planning stage and don’t have the actual audience, this is the first question that you should ask yourself. Why? Well, because it allows you to skip the speculative part of this process and get right to it. Keep in mind that making assumptions isn’t always reliable, seeing as how you’re not necessarily an average representative of your own target audience. So, how do you find out who your current customers are? One of the ways is to conduct a survey and ask your audience to provide you with these answers on their own. This way, you’ll get the approximate structure straight away and from a credible source.
2. What do they need?
Another thing you should do is inquire directly about the needs of your customers. For instance, the majority of surveys show that people who order things online care more about the cost than the delivery time. In your field, this ratio may not be the same. Priorities shift depending on whether the product is valuable, perishable, etc. Even if you know your product, the relationship between it and your audience may still be quite the unknown. Like always, when in doubt – ask directly. Even better, if you have a place where people can complain, review or just comment, try listening.
3. Spend time with them face-to-face
Meeting your audience face-to-face is one of the best ways to get to know them, as well as profile them properly. In the past, organizing events, attending conferences, seminars and tradeshows would be the way to go. Today, nevertheless, in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is far more difficult than it ever was before. One way to resolve this problem would be to find the right tools for organizing live stream conferences. This investment would be a digital equivalent to renting out a conference stand, printing promotional materials and displaying banners.
4. Decide how to segment them
The biggest decision that you’ll face here is how to segment your audience. What are the key categories that each of your surveyed audience members will be assigned before you can make an average customer profile? Generally speaking, there are four major categories that are always relevant. These are:
While there are some other factors and categories that will determine their profile, the truth is that these four are already enough to tell you exactly who you’re dealing with.
5. Make a customer persona
Once you have the results of the survey and understand which factors are the most relevant for their profiling, it’s time to make a customer persona. There are several criteria that this effort needs to fulfill in order to give you the desired (and relevant) results. First of all, you need to start with things like a job, an income, a location and their living situation. Some people love to assign a working name to this customer persona; however, this is completely optional.
Then, we come to the most controversial part – their hobbies and other behaviors. You see, while some may claim this to be irrelevant from the standpoint of your business, hobbies, habits and personal life information may be important for their buying habit. If so, this information can be used in order to improve your marketing campaign and raise the appeal of your brand in their eyes. Still, you need to be realistic about how this affects their overall buying behavior.
6. Find where they are at
Previously, we’ve talked about actively listening to your target audience, however, there’s something even better. What about actively listening to them while they don’t even know you’re there? If you find their groups on social media, Reddit and other platforms, you have a chance to mingle with them in their natural environment. Due to the fact that the majority of people here don’t go under their full names, chances are that they will be more honest about what they really think of your business. Anonymity gives courage to people and lets them say what they normally wouldn’t.
7. They use all devices available
It is safe to make a presumption that your target audience is mobile. The problem, however, lies in the fact that a single audience member will probably use a ton of different devices to interact with your business. There are statistics showing that the majority of traffic that you receive is mobile. Nonetheless, conversion rates on tablets, laptops and desktops are still higher. While some may assume that this shows a difference between the effectiveness of different devices, the truth is that some of your audience members (if not all of them) interact with you through all these devices.
8. Who is your competition?
Understanding who your competitors are is incredibly important for the way in which you conduct this survey, as well as how you understand your target audience. By figuring out why your target audience chooses your competitors over you (or you over your competitors), you will understand their needs and desires much better.
Before we proceed any further, it’s vital that we answer the question – who are your competitors. Simply put, competitors are those with who you share a target audience with. More often than not, you also share an industry, as well as a geographical region. Now, there are two types of competition:
Direct competitors are those who sell the same product and share the same demographic. Indirect competitors are those who offer a completely different product that can (in some scenarios), serve as an alternative. For instance, if you’re running a pizza place, someone producing and selling frozen pizzas is not your direct competitor but could, in some scenarios, be an indirect competitor.
9. Methods for harvesting data
In order to get the information, you need, you should start by harvesting all the necessary data. The most accurate and direct way of handling this task is to use one of three methods:
- Focus groups
Each of these methods gives you a different approach to the situation as a whole. While surveys give you more data (in terms of quantity), focus groups allow you to be more specific. They allow you to monitor your audience more closely than you otherwise would be able to. Interviews provide you with the most insight but in order for these finds to be relevant, you need to interview enough subjects from various segments of your target audience.
10. What problem do you solve?
We saved the best (the most relevant) for the last. In fact, if you were to use just one entry from this list, it’s probably best if you go for this one. What kind of a problem does your product/service solve? Once you know this, you’ll have a pretty good idea about who’s using (or is in need) of what you’re selling. Needless to say, this can also provide you with the information on why your audience is choosing you over your competitors (and vice versa).
Finally, now that you know exactly who you’re dealing with, you may also have what it takes in order to reach out to them in the right way possible.
First, you need to optimize your content and customize it in order to fit the needs of your general audience. Second, you should utilize the power of social media but put a special emphasis on those channels that are favored by your target audience. Third, once you study the habits of your audience enough, you will also know what other brands they’re interested in. this will open up a whole new world of potential collaborations, partnership and cross-marketing campaigns.
Keep in mind that knowledge is power and if you’re selling something, the best way to get leverage is to understand who you’re selling it to. Finding your target audience is the first step on this journey of a thousand miles.