The way you tell the story depends on who you’re talking to, your audience. We typically adjust our actions and the way we talk to whomever we’re around without realizing it, but businesses need to identify their target audience (aka target market) and gain a thorough understanding of their audience to be successful. In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of understanding and how to accurately identify your target market.
Marketing is not one size fits all, and every ad, social media post, and other elements within your marketing strategy can become useless unless they are tailored to meet the needs of your target market. Thus, knowing your audience will help you decide what information to share, how to share it, and where to share it. If you don’t understand your target audience, the chances of your marketing strategy being successful are slim to none.
Before you can understand your target audience, you have to know who your target audience is.
Look at demographics to get started, such as location, age, gender, and income.
Understanding the location of your existing and potential customers is imperative. If you offer tangible products that you can ship, you might have a national or international audience. However, the locations you target heavily may depend on what you sell.
For example, if you make winter coats, you probably won’t have much success targeting Florida or southern California. On the other hand, you might offer a service — like plumbing — and have a service area of 60 miles, meaning it wouldn’t make sense for a Lafayette company to promote their services in Chicago. By determining where your target audience lives, you’ll be able to determine who can benefit from your products and services and where you can reach them.
Age is also significant factor when segmenting your target audience. For example, if you offer senior care services, 16 year olds probably don’t have a need for your service. You would be better off targeting seniors who could benefit from your services and their adult children who help care for them, meaning your target audience will probably be 45 years old and older. Similarly, those in their 70’s probably won’t be interested in purchasing a longboard, and you’d probably have more success targeting teens. By understanding the age range of your ideal customers, your marketing strategy will be more successful.
As we have talked about location and age, gender is another important element to consider when identifying your audience. For instance, it wouldn’t be wise to target men if you sell lady’s cosmetic products. Many products and services are gender neutral, but one gender may be more interested or more likely to request a service than the other. For example, both men and women can appreciate family photos, but women are more likely to click on a Facebook ad about a great family photo deal or call a photographer to make an appointment. By paying attention to gender, you’ll get more out of your marketing budget.
Income is also an essential demographic to consider. People with different income levels will make different purchasing decisions. For instance, a sales promotion might be suitable for young people with a consistent — but not high — income, while luxury products should be targeted at those people who are able to afford them. By understanding who can afford your products and the way income affects your audience’s purchasing choices, you will be able to target your audience more accurately.
After you do your demographic research, here are a few other questions to ask yourself:
People will choose your business if your products or services are an answer to a problem. In other words, you’re the problem solver. Thus, you need to identify your audience’s dilemma or pain points and determine how you can solve their problem. Some people know exactly what they need — resulting with an easy sale — but others don’t know what they need or even that they have a problem. By providing educational resources (blog posts, white papers, etc.) and excellent customer service, you can help your audience identify with or feel more informed about their issue and the best solution.
Analyze your best clients’ interests, preferences, and habits that are specific to your product. For example, if you offer services for training dogs, you’re obviously going to want to target people with dogs or people who are thinking about getting a dog. If you sell organic produce, you’ll want to target people who are interested in healthy eating and wellness. By identifying your target audience’s interests, you’ll have more success reaching the right people.
Once you know who your audience is and where you can find them, you then have to determine how your business can best help them. The final step in reaching your ideal audience is to provide a solution to a problem they may be facing. By providing a specific solution you educate your audience, legitimize your expertise and provide a need for your audience to approach your business. For example, a plumber may provide a download with step by step instructions on how to check your water heater pilot light or a grocer may provide coupons to new moms with discounts on diapers and baby food. By presenting a solution to that specific audience’s problem, your business is able to effectively leverage an opportunity to meet a need (and hopefully convert some new business).
Understanding your target audience is a complicated task, as well as a process of benefits and reciprocity. Whether you’re starting a business or rethinking your marketing efforts, your target audience needs to be the center of your marketing strategy. Through research, Treefrog Marketing can help you identify and understand your target audience, as well as how to best reach and communicate with your ideal customers.
Treefrog Marketing is an advertising agency focused on small business and located in Lafayette, Indiana. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, graphic design, web design, social media, SEO and more. For more information, please visit our website. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram.