You want your business to be as successful as possible, and that means reaching as many people as possible, right? Not necessarily. A core part of any successful marketing campaign is defining the target audience.
Business owners sometimes make the mistake of assuming that the best move is to try to target the widest audience possible. This can easily lead to broad, generic, and less effective marketing.
Directing your marketing efforts at specific groups of people will dramatically increase their efficiency. And it’s a pretty straightforward concept. Your marketing team’s time and energy will see a higher return when focused on people who actually want to buy your products or enlist your service
Let the Target Audience Inform
In deciding how to broadcast your brand message and sell your product, it’s a great idea to work backward.
So, who will you be selling to?
The answer to this question depends on what you are selling and provides valuable information on how to best market your product or service.
Let’s look at two basic examples. If you’re selling retirement planning services to high-net-worth individuals in New York, the people you want to reach are wealthy, over 55, and living in New York. If you’re selling a financial advisory service to entrepreneurs and small business owners in California, your potential customers are probably younger, less wealthy, and live on the other side of the country.
Even though both of the above examples are of businesses offering financial services in the United States, their target audiences are very different.
The best marketing avenues for reaching each type of customer are different as well. For instance, younger people tend to access information almost exclusively online, rendering print advertising ineffective. Older generations, on the other hand, may prefer print. The location difference between these two types of customers is also relevant. Asa result, they will respond to different cultural references and that they are operating in different time zones.
Tips For Defining Your Target Audience
Look to Existing Customers
Not sure where to look for the kind of person interested in buying your product?
Start with the people who are already using it. Identifying the characteristics of your current customer base will give you criteria for targeting more people who fall into similar categories.
How many data points you can collect from existing customers will depend on how they connect with your business. To make the information usable, you can compile it into a database that you can use to track averages.
For those involved in B2B sales, the data points you collect will be a little bit different. Relevant information may include the size of the businesses buying your product and the titles of the people making the buying decisions. Hence, an awareness of the roles of the people you need to connect with will be key in informing how you connect with potential clients.
Check Your Social Media Analytics
One of the many advantages of having an online presence is that potential customers can interact with your business on their own terms. It means your business can develop a relationship with potential clients even if they haven’t purchased your product yet. Paying attention to and understanding social media analytics will help your business form an effective social media voice.
Consider How You Communicate Value
Any highly-effective marketer frequently makes the distinction between a product’s features and its benefits. The features of your product or service may be very impressive and it may be obvious to you how they create value. But to best connect with customers, they need to be rephrased. So, where a product’s features are what the product can do, the benefits are what the product can do for the consumer.
Defining the benefits of your product can help you in defining your target audience. Who are the people interested in the benefits you can offer them? For example, if you provide healthcare services your features might be, “fully bilingual staff specializing in geriatric care.”
So to rephrase this as a benefit, “we speak your language and understand your needs.”
Examining your value proposition this way can lead you to the people who make up your target audience. In this example, the target audience could be made up of elderly first or second-generation immigrants.
Creating Buyer Personas
Defining the age, income level, and location of your target audience is a good start, but dig deeper. Narrowing your target audience into smaller niches is important for maximizing the effect of your marketing tactics. And the best way to do this is to ask the right questions.
Many businesses take this approach and create buyer personas, or fictional representations of their ideal customers. This process allows a business to see its customers as real people and can help with empathetically communicating the value of their service offerings.
It’s even common for a business to have more than one type of customer interested in the same product or service. Constructing buyer personas can help with this. As a result, market segmentation of this kind provides the information needed to customize different marketing campaigns for different types of buyers.
When creating buyer personas, take into consideration your target audience’s demographic and psychographic characteristics. Here are some main points you should consider.
These are the basic characteristics of who might be interested in your product or service. They include:
- Income level
- Education level
- Family status
This information is concerned with the customer’s personality and motivations. Aim to understand the following qualities:
- Goals: What does the customer want that they don’t have?
- Challenges: What are the obstacles the customer is facing?
- Personality: This is a measure of personality traits like openness, extraversion, and conscientiousness.
- Values: What’s important to the customer? What are they concerned with?
- Interests: What do they do for entertainment? What hobbies do they have?
- Lifestyle: How does the customer access information? Do they read the newspaper or are they actively engaged in social media? How do they spend their free time?
The answers to these questions will reveal how your product or service will fit into the customer’s life.
How and when will they use your product?
How will it help them overcome obstacles and achieve their goals?
A well-informed buyer persona consisting of the above information will give you a better understanding of why people want to buy your product or service. In turn, you’ll be able to appeal to potential customers on a deeper, empathetic level.
How to Use Your Target Audience
Developing and honing in on your target audience is the first step, but knowing what to do with it is equally important. Here are some tips to keep in mind when developing your marketing strategy.
Target Market Statements
The value of a target market statement is that it can be used to focus and guide your marketing endeavors. It takes the most essential information from your audience and compacts it into a useable statement.
For the healthcare provider that provides bilingual geriatrics care in southern California, it might be, “For Spanish-speaking residents of the County of San Diego aged 65 and up who have strong family ties, this healthcare service offers personal, specialized care that provides the peace of mind that comes with being understood and cared for like family.”
It’s up to you to determine which information is most relevant. If you offer a product or service that can be purchased online, maybe the location of your audience isn’t as important as their profession. If you offer multiple products or services it might be necessary to create several target market statements.
Social Media and Content Marketing
A social media presence is a powerful platform for content marketing. Today, a strong content marketing strategy is all but necessary with the amount of time people spend online. It’s one of the best ways to reach and connect with your target audience. A major part of what makes a content marketing strategy effective is its relevance to the target audience. Using a target market statement is a great way to ensure that your content marketing is focused accurately.
When crafting social media ads, marketing messages need to speak to your target audience. This means using appropriate language and the appropriate channels.
Which social media channels does your demographic favor?
How do they prefer to interact with content?
Constantly Refine Your Strategy
As important as conducting target audience research in the first place is taking the time to re-evaluate. It can take time to really see whether your methods are working or not.
What is working well and connecting with your customers?
How can you adjust your brand message to better reach the people you want to?
Remember that nothing stays the same forever. The marketing channels your target audience prefers or the language they use can change. The people that make up your target audience might even change. In these cases, you’ll need to make changes to your marketing strategy.
A Wise Investment
The most effective digital marketing strategy is a comprehensive one. It takes into account emerging trends and engages many different channels. It uses available data to inform its marketing tactics and offer its product or service to the right targeted audience. In turn, a company will see increased brand awareness, more qualified leads and more customer engagement.
With consumers spending more and more of their time engaging with the digital world, there are hence few better things for a company to invest in.
Don’t have time to think through your digital marketing campaign? Need help finding your target audience? Then let us take care of the details! Schedule a free business growth call here to find out how we can help your business’s digital marketing efforts.