Figuring out your target audience is one of the first things you should do when you develop a marketing strategy. Understanding who makes up your target audience, what they want, how they make decisions, where they go and what they use to get information — creating a marketing strategy without that information is a big mistake.
Embrace and Focus on Your Target Audience
The first step is embracing the concept of a target audience. Sometimes we talk to people who resist focusing on a specific target audience. They might believe that doing so limits their ability to reach all potential customers. While technically true, the messages and platforms needed to reach different audiences can vary so much. You are much better off identifying a target audience you can form a deep relationship with through a streamlined, consistent message.
Trying to be too many things to many people is extremely difficult and you should be wary of “we have something for everyone” messaging. Embrace what you are the very best at, and then work to understand the people who need or are looking for that product or service.
Getting To Know Your Target Audience
There are many things you can do to get to know your target audience and how members of it make buying decisions. The first and most obvious, if you are already in business, is to examine your current customers. If possible, develop a composite of your current customers that includes where they live, their age, their income level, education level and how often they purchase your service or product. In an earlier blog, we discussed how to calculate your customer lifetime value — this would be a good time to do that, as well. Figuring out your highest customer lifetime value is very useful in determining your target audience.
You can also ask your customers questions about what how they found out about your business, why they chose your business, and what keeps them coming back. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers what they would change about your business or whether they have used a competitor and, if so, what they liked about them.
Speaking of the competition, you should definitely pay attention to what they are doing. Exploring their website and social media accounts and taking note of their messaging and how they interact and connect with customers can give you great insight into how your target audience thinks.
Analyze and Refine
Finally, analyze what you’ve learned. Figure out how many people are in your target audience. What social media platforms do they use? Are there potential niche audiences within your larger target audience? For example, if you are an outdoors outfitter, you might find that within your target audience of outdoors enthusiasts in a 50-mile radius of your store, you also have a niche audience of families involved in Scouting. The main thrust of your marketing efforts will focus on your target audience, but that niche audience may be so robust that you create a marketing campaign to target those families and ensure your inventory has the specific items Scouts want or need (for instance, a certain type or brand of pocketknife or enough of a certain article of clothing in the sizes Scouts typically need).
When you zero in on the right target audience, the messaging and marketing tactics you should employ usually become clear, and you almost always see better results. At ALINE, we love diving into this process. Let us know if we can help you define your target audience.