It may surprise you to learn that many businesses don’t fully understand their target audience. Without this key piece of information, you could be seriously missing the mark with your website, branding and messaging. For most people to purchase your product or service they need to relate to the tone and message, and your marketing needs to take place where they already spend their time. Before you can craft your message and decide how to deliver it, you need to define and understand your target audience.
It may take a bit of strategic thinking and research but defining your ideal clients is one of the most effective ways to improve your marketing and therefore, increase sales. Today, we’ll talk about how to define your target audience, why it’s important to question your assumptions about your audience and what to do with the everything you discover.
What is a target audience vs a target market?
“A target audience is the intended audience or readership of a publication, advertisement, or other message. In marketing and advertising, it is a particular group of consumers within the predetermined target market, identified as the targets or recipients for a particular advertisement or message.”
Target markets are best defined as groups of individuals that are separated by distinguishable and noticeable characteristics:
- geographic (their location climate region)
- demographic/socioeconomic (gender, age, income, occupation, education, household size)
A target audience goes further. This is about really getting to know your customers. Finding out their habits, where they get information, how they spend their free time, and their beliefs and values.
Why define your target audience?
Knowing who your target audience is will help you to develop effective marketing strategies that reach your ideal customers. It is easy to think that your audience are just like you but most business owners will find that their audience is quite different in terms of income, interests and challenges.
If you know your audience, you can craft a message that connects with them. You will know where to focus your marketing efforts and avoid time and money spent on platforms that are not relevant.
By focusing your marketing on an audience that is more likely to purchase what you have to offer you’ll increase sales and brand loyalty.
How to define your target audience?
Defining your target audience starts with understanding exactly what you offer. We can better understand the benefits of our offer by asking some simple questions.
- How does your product or service change the lives of your customers?
- What are the benefits of your offer?
- What problem do you solve?
- What goals will you help your clients reach?
Start by thinking about your target market. Think about where they live, age, gender, income, occupation, education etc. Next, you’re really get to know your audience by thinking about their specific characteristics, habits, values and beliefs.
- Where do they get information?
- How do they spend their free time?
- Where do they hang out online and offline?
- What do they search for on Google or Pinterest?
- What’s their biggest business or personal challenge as it relates to what you offer?
- What objections might they have about buying your offer?
How to reach your target audience
Now that you think you know your audience inside out you need to make sure you’ve got it right. Find Facebook groups you think your ideal customers have joined and ask! Put out a survey, ask your existing clients, do interviews. All these activities help you understand your audience and the results may be surprising.
Once you understand your target audience, you’ll be prepared to craft specific messages that they need to hear. You’ll be able to sell the benefits of your product or service instead of the features, address pain points and objections with empathy and sell to your dream clients.
Not only will you have more clarity on your messaging, but you’ll be able to focus on the most profitable strategies. This means reaching your audience where they already are whether that be online, in print or in person.
The success of your business relies heavily on understanding who you are marketing to. So often we make the mistake of thinking our audience perceives the world the same way we do. It’s important to step back and question our assumptions about our audience, really define who they are and how we can serve them best with our marketing and our products.
Can you describe your target audience? Let us know in the comments.