When it comes to creating effective marketing campaigns, one of the most important steps is to identify your target audience. Understanding who your ideal customer is, and what their needs and wants are, is crucial for creating content that resonates with them and drives conversions. In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of identifying your target audience, and provide tips on how to do so, as well as what should be included in a target audience profile.
Why Identifying Your Target Audience Matters
Targeting the right audience is crucial for the success of any marketing campaign. When you understand your target audience, you can create content that speaks directly to them and addresses the problems they are trying to solve.
If you find you’re producing content, but your sales are low or inconsistent, the problem may be that your messaging isn’t reaching your target market – or any audience at all. The average person is believed to receive between 6,000 and 10,000 ads or marketing messages per day, and many are probably tuned out.
When you understand exactly who you designed your offer for, what they are searching for online, and how to craft your messaging in the words they use to describe their problems and their desired solutions, your message will be more relevant and more likely to resonate with them, resulting in higher conversion rates and ROI.
Additionally, identifying your target audience can also help you optimize your marketing efforts. By understanding who your audience is and what they are looking for, you can focus your efforts on the channels and platforms that they are most likely to use. So, for example, LinkedIn is usually known as a platform for business professionals; you would most likely share a B2B product or service. Knowing who spends time on each platform can save you time and resources, as well as help you reach your audience more effectively. Remember, you don’t have to be everywhere, only where your specific audience mostly likely be.
What is a Target Audience?
Back in college I sold skincare and makeup with a popular direct marketing company. Our manager often quipped at us that our customers were ‘anyone with skin’ in an effort to raise our sales. While on the surface that sounded true, it really wasn’t. Not everyone was the type to buy direct marketing skincare; others bought from drug stores or department stores or spas or their dermatologists. The brand I was with was also slightly more expensive, so it probably wasn’t marketed toward teens or college students without a lot of money. So while she liked to think we had a potential customer base of some 5 billion people at the time, in reality, we didn’t.
A target audience definition is the group of people most likely to purchase your product or service. Often marketers will create an ideal client avatar or buyer persona to represent the ‘one’ person they are marketing to.
It’s possible you’ve done this exercise before almost like a imagining a fictional character for your business. You may have visualized this person’s demographics, background, the problems they are struggling with around the work that you do, what their ideal solution would be, and maybe even given them a name. I’ve even had people tell me they know what this person would order at lunch when they went out together after shopping at Target!
It’s important to think beyond the basics and consider some of the values your potential customers have as well. What type of person do they choose to work with? Do they value investing in things they feel are important? Do they believe they deserve to have abundance and rest in addition to a sustainable income, or do they believe they have to work hard in order to make ends meet?
As you go through the different beliefs your target customers hold, examine how they are showing up in your brand values and mission statement. How is it demonstrated in your messaging?
By having a clear vision of this person in mind as they create their offers and write their copy and speaking directly to them, they can add more value to their content and make their campaigns more effective because the content will be personalized and relevant.
How to Identify Your Target Audiences
So how do you begin to know exactly who your target audience is? New marketers sometimes imagine a person they’d like to work with whether it’s a friend or acquaintance they know online. While this isn’t a terrible strategy, there are some better options:
Conduct market research
Look at your existing customers and analyze their demographics, behaviors, and interests. Use this information to create a general profile of your target audience. If you have a specific customer who you absolutely love working with, consider develop some offers around their needs and market specifically to them. Chances are, you’ll spark interest in people with similar characteristics and soon have a roster full of ideal clients!
Use Social Media
Take a look at social media analytics to see who might be engaging with your content. This may be a bit more challenging with some new privacy features enabled, but you should be able to get an idea. Social media listening tools are another way to track conversations and trends related to your industry. This will help you understand the topics and issues that are most important to your target audience.
Use an Analytics Tool
Use web analytics tools like Google Analytics, or Universal Analytics, to track the behavior of visitors to your website. It will show you information about the demographics of people already visiting your website as well as the content they are viewing and engaging with, and this can be found in their behavior flow report. This will help you understand how they interact with your brand and what they are looking for.
Ask your current customer base
If you already have an established audience, you can reach out to the people you are currently working with and ask them about their needs, what their ideal solutions might be, and preferences. Use this information to refine your target audience profile. Often brands send surveys out to their audience and offer an incentive for responding such as a coupon or free gift that they find valuable.
If you can, take the time to speak directly with your customers so you can have the advantage of the specific language they are using. Often we as digital marketers use different terminology than our customers might, but it’s important to use the same wording so they feel seen and heard.
What to Include in a Target Audience Profile
As you are creating your buyer personas, you’ll want to include a variety of information in their profile.
Information such as age range, gender, income, education level, and location. For example, maybe your business markets to moms who are building a business alongside their growing family. This group will have specific needs and goals and encounter different struggles than someone who may be working their business full time without children or someone who just left corporate to escape burnout and wants to use their skills to build a business.
Psychographics are an essential component of any target audience profile. While demographics provide basic information, psychographics offer a deeper understanding of an ideal target audience. These are things like their personality traits, values, attitudes, beliefs, interests, and lifestyles.
By incorporating psychographics into a target audience profile, businesses can better understand what motivates their ideal customers and how to effectively communicate with them. For example, if a business is targeting environmentally conscious consumers, they would want to include psychographic information about their target audience’s values and beliefs related to sustainability. This information would help the business tailor their messaging to resonate with these consumers on a deeper level.
Buying behavior refers to how your clients will generally act before, during, and after a purchase decision. Their need to solve their problem and the risk of investing in your solution are usually the two factors in play here. There are exceptions to every rule, but if your customer needs a lot of information before making a buying decision, you’ll want to be sure to provide that education and assurance within your content strategy. Other people may be more quick to buy and are happy to purchase from an email or social link without a lengthy sales page or sales process; this works if there is low risk involved either through the price point or the level of trust they have in you. This can help you move prospective buyers through the marketing funnel more efficiently, increasing the likelihood of a successful purchase.
Pain points are the specific problems or challenges that your potential customers are facing, and understanding them will help you create relevant content that speaks directly to their needs. By addressing the areas of need or curiosity your client has, you can build trust with your audience and position yourself as a valuable resource. Some common concerns might include lack of time, financial constraints, or a need for more information.
An awareness of what your client needs or wants allows you to offer solutions; you can create content that is both informative and engaging, and ultimately drive more conversions and sales.
While a lot of traditional digital marketing focuses on the pain-agitation-solution model, I tend to feel people generally don’t need your help in feeling worse than they do about whatever is bothering them. I suggest instead taking the knowledge and meeting them where they are with support and guidance and helping them to become the hero of their own story. Your product or service should not be positioned as a savior to them, but more as a tool they can use to help themselves.
Goals & Objectives
Finally, when creating a target audience profile, you’ll also want to consider your own company’s goals and objectives that pertain to your content creation strategy. This means identifying the specific outcomes you hope to achieve through your content, such as increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or establishing thought leadership in your industry.
Knowing the desired results of your content allows you to tailor it to resonate with your target audience and create messaging that speaks to their needs and interests. Identify the types of content that potential customers find valuable, and create a content strategy that aligns with their preferences and helps you achieve your business goals.
Buttoned Up Thoughts on How Knowing Your Target Audience Can Make Your Marketing Strategy More Effective
Understanding your target audience persona is the foundation of any successful marketing strategy. By knowing your audience’s age, gender, interests, occupation, and lifestyle, you can tailor your marketing campaign to meet their specific needs and preferences. Otherwise, you risk spinning your wheels producing too much irrelevant content that fails to resonate with your audience and wondering why your content isn’t working.
When you know your target audience persona, you can create content that speaks directly to them, using language and imagery that they find appealing. Your audience feels seen, heard, and understood, and this helps to build trust and establish a relationship with your audience, increasing the likelihood of conversions and sales.