Creating a winning marketing strategy hinges on your ability to identify the target audience. When you know exactly who you are selling to, you can better speak to their needs and how your product and/or service serves as a solution. The process of identifying your audience is equal parts data and intuition.
Here’s the hard truth: you can’t please everyone. Even if you happen to sell something as generic as bottled water, some people will just not be into it.
Identifying and reaching your target audience is about connecting with those people who actually want what you have. Whether you offer a standard service (like HVAC repair) or sell a hyper-specific product (like adult mermaid tails), someone out there is looking for you. All you have to do is find them!
We like to call this group of people the ideal client, the ideal customer, or the target audience. But in the marketing world, you may also hear them referred to as the “target market.” Call them what you want; they won’t care either way.
What’s important is finding a way to define and understand the group you are targeting. After all, around 80% of consumers report they are more likely to buy from a business that offers personalized interactions. To do this, you must first ask a series of questions, like:
Of course, you can’t answer even the most basic question about your target audience if you don’t know who they are. But identifying your go-to-market comes down to more than just picking a group that sounds about right.
(Believe us, we wish it were as simple as pointing to a figure in the crowd and shouting, “There’s the one!” That would certainly make our jobs a lot quicker and easier.)
We’re not here to tell you that the job is tough and send you on your way. If you are willing to do a little leg work, you can identify your target audience and use that knowledge to rake in sales. Here’s how we recommend you get started.
Start by looking at the customers you already have. To do this, you might speak with your marketing and sales teams to learn more about the unifying characteristics of your company’s best clients. Do any trends begin to appear?
You might learn that people from a certain geographical area, financial background, or age group are more likely to buy your product than others. This information can be hugely helpful when it’s time to sit down and create a marketing strategy.
From there, we recommend you look closely at the products and/or services you’re offering. You can draw some basic conclusions based on whatever it is you sell. For example, while ToasterTubs’ products are for everyone, they are less likely to sell to people who don’t have the time or money to spend on such a luxury. So, the target audience can likely be narrowed down to higher-income adults who are child-free and/or nearing retirement.
All of these details will serve as a solid stepping stone as you move farther along the path of identifying your target audience. But don’t stop there!
You can continue to narrow your definition of the target audience by doing some industry research. After all, your company doesn’t exist within a bubble. Even if your niche is highly-specific (we’re looking at you, mermaid tails), there’s bound to be competition on some level. This is why you need to identify those competitors and get a feel for how your product/service could better reach potential clients.
While looking at what your competitors are doing, take note of what they aren’t doing.
Are there any gaps in the industry that your business is (or could soon be) filling? All of this information will help you understand the target market and how you can better serve their needs.
With all of this data in hand, you’ll be ready to get more specific. Creating target personas (or profiles of people who fit within your target audience) will help you visualize who your brand wants to connect with and how to encourage interactions with these types of people. In other words, creating a target persona helps you move beyond data and demographics and onto actual problem-solving.
The best way to do this is by performing customer interviews either in-person or via a survey. Asking and getting answers to the questions we mentioned earlier will help you better understand what is and isn’t important to your target audience. Over time, more than one target persona may seem applicable to your audience. In fact, you’ll likely create multiple personas that represent different aspects of your business’s offerings.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, your job is halfway done. But that information won’t do you any good unless you’re willing to work a little harder to seal the deal. So here’s how we recommend you make a strong connection.
Now that you know about your target audience and have crafted a few target personas, it’s time to look at your website. Is the content there speaking to the needs you’ve identified? If not, we recommend a revamp!
Start by honing your brand’s tone of voice to better speak to your target audience and what they’re looking for. Is the demographic you’re targeting more likely to relate to a brand that is calm and soft-spoken, upbeat and helpful, or funny and quick-witted? Now that you know who you’re speaking to, you’ll have everything you need to fine-tune your business’s personality.
It’s also important for you to look at the meat of your content. Are you providing helpful information about your brand, products/services, and more? When the ideal client makes it to your webpage, the content there should scream, “yes, we have what you’re looking for!”
Think of social media as an extension of your brand. Like your website, your social media presence can communicate to the target audience that you have what they need. But with social media, you can take the experience one step further and foster genuine engagement from those ideal clients.
To do that, you should be . . .
Used wisely, social media can be the ideal place to connect with your ideal client!
At Myriad, we love to talk about the online marketplace. But we also believe understanding your target audience can help you in the real world. Use the information you’ve gathered to hone your products and services further to outperform your competitors.
Remember, the best kind of customer is a repeat customer. Once you know who your target audience is, what they want to see, and how they prefer to interact, you’ll find it gets easier and easier to make lasting connections.
And, as you continue to ask questions, listen to the answers, and implement needed changes to your marketing strategy, you’ll be able to simplify the process so that you aren’t wasting time on efforts and channels your audience is not interested in. Over time, connecting with your target audience will start to feel more intuitive and less like work.
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