Each and every business owner in the world has one regardless of size or industry – a target audience. You may not know what your business’s target audience is, but you have one – you just need to identify it. The term “target audience” means the specific group of people most likely to want to buy your product or service. The basic criteria for your target audience are things like income, interests, age, gender, location, etc. You can use information about your target audience to market specifically to that group of people, therefore increasing the likelihood that your marketing and advertising will be successful.
There are numerous ways to identify your target audience, and we have compiled a list here of the most common ways to help get you on your way.
Analyze Your Current Customer Base
Look at everyone who already buys your product or service and try to identify what they have in common. Where do they live, how much do they make, what interests do they have? Using surveys and doing quick polls on social media is a great way to learn this information.
Conduct Market Research
Do a Google search for market research for your industry to identify the holes in service that your product/service can fill. Find out what common problems consumers in your industry face and identify ways that your product/service can solve them. This process of identifying your audience’s pain points can be invaluable to your business and can help you identify new ways your business can thrive.
Define Who Your Target Audience Isn’t
There may be certain consumers who are close to the demographic you’re looking for but who will not take the final step of purchasing or participating in your product/service. Use some of your market research to help determine who in your target demographic is least likely to do what you’d like them to do, then make sure your marketing and advertising do not target them. For example, your target demographic might be women, but let’s say that women between the ages of 30 and 40 typically don’t buy your product/service. Knowing that you can remove that age group from your target audience and increase the likelihood that your marketing and advertising dollars will reach those most likely to purchase.
Make a List of Your Product’s/Service’s Benefits (not features!)
This is a sort of reverse way of utilizing the pain points identified in your market research. This can help you determine why a consumer would want to purchase your product/service and from there, you can identify the type of consumer that would want to purchase your product/service. For example, if you are a coach, a feature of your coaching class might be that it’s a self-study course, but why should consumers care about that? What benefit is a self-study course to a consumer? Perhaps they need to study on an unusual timetable or maybe they prefer to work on their own rather than in a group.
Think of benefits as the “why should I care” part of a feature. Look at the features your product/service provides, determine why a consumer should care about them (the benefits), then you can find the pain points that are solved with those benefits. Check out this article to learn more about the difference between features and benefits and how you can apply that information in your business.
Use Online Customer Feedback
Once you’ve identified your product’s/service’s benefits (see #4 above) then you can go to online forums and see who is asking questions or is interested in those topics. You can start with popular forums like Quora or Reddit. This can help you to identify the age group, gender, industry, interests, etc. of your target audience and “get a hand on the pulse” of the consumers you’d like to market to. Following the coaching example used above, you could search Reddit for “how to learn [whatever you teach] while working full time”.
Research Your Competitors
If you’re in an industry that has long-term or well-known competitors, it’s a good bet that they already know their (your) audience well. Researching their marketing and response can be a great way to identify your target audience. Look at their website, social media platforms, and reviews of their products/services. Look for the type of people who typically like their posts or give positive reviews, and what types of content get the most response. You can also look at what isn’t working for them and try to identify ways that you can improve on it.
Find Your Niche
Especially if you’re just starting out or if you have a limited budget, it’s important to make your marketing dollars work as effectively as possible. To that end, it can be beneficial to really narrow down your target audience to a small niche group of consumers. Identify the group that has the highest potential to purchase your product/service and only market to them. Doing this can help you to build brand loyalty and develop your company as an expert in your industry.
Following these steps is a great start to honing in on your target audience so you can develop your brand messaging and perfect your marketing strategy. Doing this will help to build a solid foundation for your brand going forward.