6 Tips for Identifying Your Target Audience
In today’s highly competitive market, it’s unrealistic to spend your marketing budget targeting a general audience. Choosing a niche audience can help you stand out in the crowd. This allows you to plant your flag in the ground so that your tribe will find you and be more likely to buy your products or services.
Your target audience consists of the specific group or groups of people you want to influence with your marketing message. These are the consumers who are most likely to purchase your products or services, and who typically are united under an umbrella of shared characteristics, such as shared occupations, hobbies or values.
In this post, we’re sharing some tips to help you identify your target audience.
1. Define Your Product or Service
Chances are, no matter how niche your product or service is, another company is offering something comparable. Before setting your sights on a target market, it’s important to first thoroughly understand what your unique product or service is.
Consider the following questions:
- What is your product or service?
- How does your product or service benefit a potential consumer?
- What is a Unique Selling Point (USP) that makes your company stand out from the competition?
- Is your product an everyday item or a luxury that consumers will only purchase once? Can your consumers afford it, or will they be willing to pay for it?
- What problem does your product or service solve?
The answers to these questions will help shape a cohesive profile of your potential customer.
For example, consider you are a web development company that caters to healthcare clients. For question one, your answer might be that you build websites for medical and wellness businesses. A benefit you offer is a professional company image and forging a method of communication for your client and their customers. A trustworthy image and ample communication allow your client to attract more customers and gain more money.
Perhaps the USP for your company is your background in the medical space—maybe you or another team member worked in healthcare practice and have an intimate understanding of what your customer needs. When weighing your USP against question four, whether or not your product is a luxury, consider how often a potential customer may need a new website or website updates.
The better you understand all of the nitty-gritty details about your product or service, the more efficiently you can define the customer that needs them.
2. Determine Who is Already Using Your Products
In the course of mapping your ideal audience, you can’t neglect the people who are already using your product or services. These are the individuals who understand your value proposition and are aligned with your business values. When you begin to understand the defining characteristics of your existing customer base, it’s easier to identify customers who fit the same mold.
You should begin by analysing your existing customer data.
Depending on how your clients connect with your business, this can be a little information or a lot. Social media, for example, can reveal age, location, and even interests. Likewise, consider adding a customer satisfaction survey to completed purchases or services to have a better scope of why clients identified with you specifically.
Once you begin gathering this data, compile it into a database, CRM, or spreadsheet, you can use to track trends and averages. Note their shared characteristics, such as:
- Age and stage of life
- Location and timezone
- Spending patterns
- Job titles
3. Create Thorough Customer Personas
A customer or buyer persona is created to represent a consumer that may utilize a website, product, service, or brand in a similar way. They help qualify an ideal consumer’s values, pain points or concerns, and general behavior. To connect with your consumer, you’ll need to understand how to properly communicate with them. Customer personas utilize demographics and psychographics that will shape how you’ll speak to your target audience.
Demographics — Qualify who your target customer is on paper. This will include data such as:
- Age and gender
- Income level
- Education level
- Location and timezone
- Marital or family status
- Ethnic background and religion
Psychographics — Explains why your target customer buys certain things or behaves a certain way. This will include data such as:
- Personality and attitudes
- Interests and hobbies
- Methods of consuming information
- Lifestyles or behavior
- Purchasing habits
Once these elements have been decided, combine them to form a persona. For a web development company specializing in healthcare, your buyer persona may be medical providers between the ages of 30 and 50 at companies bringing in more than $1M in revenue who have searched for development services in the past ten months.
4. Create a Marketing Plan
Geared with a cohesive buyer persona, you can move ahead with a marketing plan to target your audience. When you think about how to create a marketing plan, think of it as a roadmap to organize, implement, and analyse the success of your marketing strategies over a period of time.
A marketing plan is often composed of numerous individual marketing strategies, including unique campaigns, channels of execution, software, and content. All of the strategies within a marketing plan work towards the same business goal. You can create a variety of marketing plans using the data you’ve scraped from the above tips. Common marketing plans include:
- Quarterly or Annual Marketing Plan: Emphasizes the strategies you’ll execute within a quarter or year.
- Paid Marketing Plan: Encompasses paid media strategies, including pay-per-click (PPC) or paid social media advertisements.
- Content Marketing Plan: Discusses the campaigns, channels, and tactics to disseminate content that will inform or persuade readers about your business.
- Social Media Marketing Plan: Describes the platforms, channels, and campaigns to be used to acquire customers or inform potential clients about your business on social media.
A web development company may have a social media marketing plan that includes Facebook and Twitter, a twice-weekly posting schedule, and boosted ads targeting users matching their buyer persona.
5. Study Your Competitors
Studying your own data is well and good, but don’t forget to widen your horizons to include what your competitors are doing. While you may have a grasp on who actively engages with your business or purchases your services, it’s worth noting who’s engaging with your competitors.
Having a thorough understanding of what your competition is doing (or not doing) will lend a hint as to what is connecting with your shared audience. Perhaps they’ve identified a consumer segment you’ve yet to market to. Conversely, you might pinpoint areas where they’ve failed to satisfy customers. Both of these findings provide a second segment to target with your marketing message.
6. Adjust as Necessary
As your company grows and your marketing takes hold, you may find that you need to make some adjustments to your target audience. It’s important that you monitor the success of your efforts and make tweaks whenever possible. Buyer personas and customer pain points can evolve along with your business, and by failing to keep up, you negate the hard work you put in the first place.
Keep watch on your marketing plan and analyze the results. In some cases, your messaging may be correct, but you’ve failed to set up the proper targeting on the required platforms. In other cases, the targeting may be correct, but the messaging is off. By continuously monitoring and adjusting, you can follow the curve of your customer.
With an informed buyer persona, a thorough understanding of your business’ value proposition, and an efficient marketing plan, you can trust your messaging is reaching the proper audience.