The words “target audience” are thrown around a lot, but do you really know what they mean? More to the point, do you know who it is you’re actually trying to serve with your product offerings? If you don’t, you might have trouble targeting the people who could become long-term customers and the lifeblood of your business. You can’t afford to miss the mark in this way.
Instead, you’ve got to determine who your target audience is in order to engage with them effectively. Below we’ll take a step-by-step approach to figuring out exactly who your target customer is (or who your target customers are, if you have more than one), as well as offering up some important ideas for drawing them down the funnel.
Finding Your Target Audience
Before you can effectively engage with people, you’ve got to know who they are. This is easier than it sounds.
1. Assess Who You Currently Serve
Chances are you already have a good idea of whom you’d like to serve. That’s great, but go deeper. In addition to age and gender, fill in information such as:
- Income level
- Whether they have children (and how many)
- Home type
- Means of transportation
- Means of finding out about your brand
The better you get to know your customers, the more accurately you can serve them. The more closely you tailor your products and services to their needs, the more devoted to your brand they will become, and the more free marketing they will give you through word-of-mouth.
You can take this one step further by creating customer personas…profiles of actual “made up” customers that fit your target demographic. Get to know them, think about how they’d perceive everything you do and make them a part of your marketing scheme from the start.
2. Gather More Information
If you already serve a specific segment of the population, you can look to your own records for more information on them. Check your receipts to determine where they live, for instance. Are they local? From the next town over? National? Note what they typically buy from you, in what quantities, at what time of day, and how often. Do they pay with cash or credit? Where are they coming from (work, home, on a commute)?
On the other hand, if you’re just getting started and don’t know who you’re serving, you can always check out the wealth of data already gathered by other businesses. Try sites such as Think With Google, which help you find worldwide audiences that might apply to your business, hire a professional to help you find your target audience, or check out competitors’ social media platforms to see who follows them and regularly interacts.
3. Sell to This Audience
While we’ll talk more specifically below about ways to move your right people down the sales funnel, for now, it’s enough to know that actively marketing to and engaging with your audience is a crucial step in determining whether they’re the right one for you. If after considerable attempts to build a business with this audience you still fail, you may need to return to step 1 to reassess your product or model.
Moving Your Audience Through the Sales Funnel
Now you know who you’re targeting, it’s time to get them interested in you, your products and your brand.
Target the Right Media
Where you place your advertisements and how you interact with customers and prospects hugely impacts how successful your business is. Think about it: If you mostly serve millennials, it won’t do you much good to advertise in traditional newspapers. Similarly, if you’re marketing to the over-65 set, you probably won’t get that far with in-app advertising.
Also keep in mind that even if your customers are Internet users, they may not all access it the same way. For instance, 38 percent of Internet users now access social media through mobile. This means that users are almost as likely to jump from your social feeds to your site or app on a phone as they are on desktop; it’s important to be prepared with mobile-friendly platforms to receive them.
Of course, that means you should also be wary of some platforms. For instance, while Instagram is blowing up right now, 74 percent of users are teens. So, while it might be a powerful social connector, it won’t do you much good if you’re selling life insurance or burial plots, right? On the other hand, Twitter is a great lead-generation platform for people of all ages.
Engage with Customers and Prospects
One of the easiest ways to do that is by offering information. If your audience is tech savvy – which most are these days – offer free downloads in exchange for a subscription on your website. You can also blog regularly (and offer useful, unique information when you do), and create several social media platforms. If your audience is less tech savvy or tends to walk in a lot, engage with them in person in the shop or restaurant, then direct them to your digital platform.
Create Irresistible Deals
Coupons, two-for-ones and deals that reward people for bringing a friend to your business are all alive and well. So is bulk buying and upselling, especially in brick-and-mortar shops. Whatever you do, target your deals to your audience. I.e. moms love bulk, retirees on a budget like two-for-ones, and so on.
The above ideas may not all work for you, but the basic idea will: first find whom you serve, then target the best ways to serve them. Before you know it, your audience will love you as much as you love them.
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