Your customers are your life line for your company, but do you know who they are? If you have an existing company, you may have an idea, but if you are just starting off, chances are, you may not fully know your potential customers/clients. I’m sure you have an idea, but has that idea been researched to make sure they are the right fit? This is where finding your target audience comes into play.
But wait, what is an audience? An audience is the recipients of any items produced or services. This can be people (B2C – Business to Consumer) or businesses (B2B – Business to Business). A target audience is a particular group of people or businesses to which an advertisement, a product, a website and/or a message is directed. For the purpose of this post, I will focus mainly on B2C, however, the same tactics can be applied to B2B.
Knowing your target audience is crucial to the development of a marketing and advertising campaign.
There are a couple things that you will leave away with by the end of this post, if you follow along and do the steps. You will:
- Know your target audience
- Know how to research your audience to help improve your marketing
- Have a customer profile or marketing persona that you can refer back to as needed
Download my free target audience template here to follow along and to help keep all of your research organized.
Let’s dive in!
1. Do you already have a customer base?
If you already have a customer base then you are already ahead of the curve. You should take a look at your customer base and see if there are any similarities. Some things you can look for are:
- Which items they bought? What is the benefit of that item?
- Which item is selling the most?
- What age range do you think are buying your products or services?
2. Who needs your product or service?
You have to really understand your product or service to truly tap into the minds of your potential customers/clients. A quick exercise is to:
- Make a list of all of your products and/or services that you offer
- Next to each product or service, write the benefit of each
- Now write next to the benefit who may benefit from that product or service
- Think about each of those people. Do they have any commonalities? Can you describe that person? Things they may do? Age? Gender?
3. See what your competition is doing
It has never been easier to get a peek into your competition’s target audience, thanks to social media. When looking at your competitors profile, make sure to look out for:
- The hashtags they are using. If you see any commonalities, make note of them. You can always click on the hashtags to see who are liking the posts.
- Their followers. It’s that simple. Look at their followers list and see who likes them.
- The people who comment on their posts.
Take note of things that you see that stand out or is a repetitive theme in the followers.
4. Create a customer profile
Your customer profile is a snapshot of your ideal customer/client. Please know that while you have your target profile, it doesn’t mean that you are alienating anyone else from buying your product or service. It’s simply used as a guide to know who to target. For content marketing purposes, you need customer profiles to help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience. Depending on your products or services, you may have more than one customer profile.
Based on the information that you collected above, start to create your target customer profile by filling in the sections below
- Income level
- Education level
- Marital or family status
- Ethnic background
- Psychographics (personal characteristics)
5. Evaluate your target audience to make sure they are the right fit by doing audience research
There are two forms of doing audience research. There is primary research and secondary research.
Primary research is conducted by you (or someone that you hire) that includes qualitative research and quantitative research.
- Qualitative research is a form that focuses mostly on the opinions and feelings of the target audience. This type of research can be in the form of interviews and focus groups.
- Quantitative research are based on statistics and real numbers. This type of research can be in the form of surveys and social media analytics.
Secondary research is conducted solely by someone else or a research firm. This type of research can be in research papers, journals and reports.
Many times you can find interesting free research from companies such as Nielsen, Pew Research, Qualtrics and Census Report.
Things to look for:
- Can your ideal customer (based on your profile) afford your products?
- Is your ideal customer in the area that you want to target?
- Are there enough people that fit your criteria?
- Will your message resonate?
At this point, you can start to tweak your customer profile to make sure that you are reaching the right audience. Once you feel comfortable and the research aligns, you will have your target audience.
This process takes time, but the information that you receive will be invaluable to your brand when it comes to reaching an audience and making a return on your investment.
Learn anything along the way? Feel free to send me a note to share!