Everything Starts with the Target Audience: How to Define & Improve Your Understanding of Your Target Audience
Having a clear understanding of your target audience can improve your ability to find them, grab their attention and, ideally, build a connection. This understanding is also integral to crafting social media posts, blogs, emails, landing pages, and other content that your target audience will find compelling – and that will convert them into new clients.
Whether you’re just starting your business or it’s been some time since you’ve taken a close look at just who comprises your target audience, here are the essential questions to answer when you’re ready to improve your understanding of your target audience.
1. What needs do my products and/or services fulfill?
In other words, what problems do your business solve? What solutions are you offering? What does any customer have to gain from patronizing your business? And how are you different from (and, better than) your competitors?
2. Who is most likely to benefit from the products and/or services my business offers?
Think critically about the type of customer who would gain the most value from your offerings. Consider whether this customer is aware of the “problem” that your business solves and whether people are really looking for the “solution” your business provides.
3. Who are my current customers or clients?
Details matter here. Take some time to assess the trends in your client base to determine precisely who your brand is currently appealing to. Some of the important details to take note of here include gender, age range, and location of your client.
Don’t forget to consider whether your business may also appeal to other businesses, rather than or in addition to individual consumers. You can take this a step further to create a ‘character’ profile of your average client (that details more specifics like whether (s)he goes to school, works, travels, is active online, etc.).
4. How are my current clients buying from my business?
Are you selling your products and/or services through a brick-and-mortar storefront? Or online? Are your clients mostly locals within your neighborhood? Or are they from across the state (or the nation or world)? Are there certain times or seasons when your clients are most likely to buy your goods and/or services?
This will reveal more about how to shape and distribute your message and what platforms and networks you should develop a presence (and authority) on in order to connect with your target audience. It may also reveal how you can refine your strategies to target specific segments of a broad audience.
5. How are my current clients and target audience getting their information online?
Are they reading blogs, news sites, or social media posts for information? Or are they listening to podcasts, doing research, playing online games, or mostly shopping (or “window” shopping)? Understanding these online habits and behaviors can help you figure out where your messages need to be – and not be – in order to get in front of your target audience while staying connected to current clients.
6. Who do your current clients and target audience trust?
Who are they following in social media? What subjects, words, and/or tone may be off-putting to them or make them skeptical? This can help you figure out how to frame your messaging in order to cultivate trust with your audience.
Knowing and Finding Your Target Audience: 7 Pro Tips
As you refine your understanding of your target audience, here are some additional steps you can take to find answers to the above questions – and to start engaging your target audience:
1. Create a persona
Once you’ve dialed into details like gender, age, and location of your target audience, start developing a persona for each segment. For example, if your target is a female teenager in New Jersey, give her a name, and start filling in the other details of her life (like whether she has a license, what she likes to do, etc.). This can help you understand the best type of language and messaging to use.
2. Keep an eye on online mentions of your brand
Set up a Google alert for your brand and track when and how it’s being mentioned online. This can yield some helpful information regarding your target audience (and possibly even prevailing perceptions about your business).
3. Reach out to those who have been most vocal about your brand online
Consider sending a direct message or email to the people who are most frequently mentioning your brand online. Ask them some specific questions (and consider offering them something of value in return so they’re more likely to provide meaningful feedback).
4. Survey your current audience and clients
Make the survey as easy as possible to complete, and think about running it with some offer, raffle or giveaway to entice as many responses as possible.
5. Keep an eye on your competitors
Monitor where your competitors have an online presence and evaluate whether you need to also establish a presence in that space.
6. Revisit your definition of your target audience periodically
As your business changes, so too may your target audience. Also, as the Internet evolves and new platforms and networks are developed, the way (and where) people spend time on the Internet changes. So, it’s important to make sure that you regularly review your concept of your target audience and update it as needed. This can help you stay connected with them – and, ideally, top of mind when it’s time to make a purchase.
7. Know when it’s time to bring in a pro
Sometimes, you may just be too close to and familiar with the details to see things in a new light. Or maybe it’s difficult breaking out of old patterns of thought when it comes to your target audience. Regardless of the reason, a digital marketing pro can be pivotal to helping you improve your understanding of your target audience – and to helping you engage them, grow your audience, and convert them into new clients.
Your Target Audience: The Bottom Line
Getting to know your target audience as well as possible is central to:
- Sending the right message to the right person at the right time
- Building trust with your audience
- Seeing more conversions and new clients
- Maximizing the ROI for your digital marketing investments and efforts.