Understanding & Identifying Your Target Audience
10 minute read time
I’m willing to bet that you’re following at least one brand or business on social media -just cause they’re awesome. Twitter wars alone have replaced juicy gossip columns as pleasurable toilet reading.
Have you ever stopped to think, ‘why am I reading Taco Bell and Old Spice having it out? ’
Let’s be real… they’re putting on a show. You know it. They know you know it, but you’re there anyway.
Touchè, Taco Bell, and your savvy marketing skills
Friend, you didn’t suddenly stumble onto those feeds. You were carefully researched, observed, and selected as one of the chosen. You’re there, because you are their target audience.
P.S. If you’re questioning the whole validity of Brands targeting you to get you to their virtual (or very real) thresholds, I’d like to unveil exhibit A.
This is me greeting you to join reality, because I used the whole target audience thing to get you here…
and you are
Don’t you want people to waltz up to your feed or through your shop doors already knowing they’re in the right place? I’ll take that as a resounding YASSSS!!
Well, you’re lucky I like you enough to sit my ass down and impart some wit and wisdom to you in the form of an article all about What Is A Target Audience & How To Find Yours : Understanding and Identifying Your Target Audiences. You can blame that title on SEO.
Let’s get in people’s heads. Everyone’s doing it.
| What Is A Target Audience |
Client, customer, audience…. It’s basically all the same thing, amounting to the people who purchase your products / services.
While -hell ya, walk-ins are great and we’ll take that sale to the bank, but if that’s your average customer…you may be in some deep dodo.
I think we’ve all had enough of the marketing gimmicks and pop-ups. At the end of the day, nobody wants to be sold to. Want to know what Brands do that most of us, day-to-day businesses, don’t do?
They don’t sell shit to anyone. They connect with their target audiences, sharing their Brand’s Experience.
For example, let’s pretend you’re an artisan micro-roaster brewing killer cups of jo from farm to cup. Chances are the elderly lady who adores Folgers isn’t going to be your ideal consumer. This micro-roaster values elevated taste, quality, sustainability, and equal pay.
Granny just wants her coffee -BLACK, and Hot!
Of course, there will be people other than your perfect customer purchasing from you. The goal of finding your target audience is to hone in on the people who you created your company for in the first place.
That’s who will spread the good news to their like-minded pals. And that’s who can appreciate what you’ve been missing holidays and sleep to build.
👍🏽 Everything you say, write, or design should be targeted to that person.
Target Audiences In-Action
Dove campaigns, anyone? I know you remember when Dove flipped the industry on its head with those body confidence campaigns.
What does body confidence have to do with soap?!
You see, Dove sells soap to women.
Applying soap means getting nudie.
A sizable portion of we, the female species, are notoriously aware of every crinkle and curve.
Multiply that by 1 gazillion when you stick us nudie in a bathroom with a mirror directly in front of us.
Dove knew that about us.
|Identifying Your Target Audience |
Unfortunately, finding your specific Target Audience is one thing you can’t Google. Bummer, right?
Unless you’re planning on hiring a professional, you know, like me, locating that perfect customer means it’s time to poke around in your brain.
-Write What You Know -And What You Don’t
Before I ever whip out the ‘ole laptop, I snatch ink and a pad of paper to write down everything I know.
- What do you sell?
- What are your core values?
- How do your products benefit customers?
- What makes you amazeballs (competitive advantage)?
- What’s your personality like?
- Who do you sell to : locals, state-wide, nation-wide, internationally?
As you’re going through this process, you’ll find that there are things you don’t know about your target audience that you most definitely should know. Write it down and use it in the next step.
– Ask Questions
Talk to them about what they like and don’t like about your industry. Use those handy dandy questions from the previous step. The worst they can say is nothing at all and even that’s an answer.
Are there specific trends or requests that repeat? Take note -people are telling you something! Create solutions to their problems and needs. Be the blue ocean strategy to your target audience’s red ocean world.
In my process, this is the most crucial part. I ask anything and everything. Most people are willing to share if you’re brave enough to ask.
Confucious put it best,
“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.”-Confucious
Be man #1
Research, Then, Repeat
Caution with this step.. Depending on your stomping grounds and who you’re serving, there may be a serious deficit in applicable research. If you’re a national organization, seeking 500K + in investment, research is your demi-god.
I advise small town brick-and-mortars to steer clear from numbers and odious demographics for the most part. It’s easy to get lost in a steaming pile of not helpful statistics, rather than focusing on the people that make the data relevant.
Targeting Your Target Audience
Now, you have a stack of paper a mile high packed with insightful information about the ‘who’ behind the sales. Great! Although, knowledge without action is useless.
If you want to engage your crowd like the big dogs, you’re going to want to mark your territory like they do. Consumer Avatars is how you can take your Target Audience information and turn it into a functional asset.
…In the meantime, I figured I should throw in some anti-tips to help polish off your target audiences.
Target Audience Pitfalls
5 Biggest Target Audience Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make
people are not demographics
It’s entirely too easy to get so lost in the numbers that every browser or walk-in begins to resemble a human statistic.
Friendly reminder, people are not demographics on two-legs. When you unintentionally treat those wonderful people spending their money with you like a number, they may unintentionally retaliate, negatively impacting those numbers you were concerned about in the first place.
An Oldie, But Goodie Example :
“500 majillion people drive past my shop everyday! “
“500 majillion people visit my site daily!”
AND?! -What Do You Want? An Oscar?
To My Brick-n-Mortars,
Weren’t they driving past your place long before it was your place?
To My Digital Crowd,
How many of them are converting and spending money? How many are Brand Loyalists?
I say this with all the love in my sarcastic heart. I don’t care how many people visit your site or walk in your doors.
When you treat people like people, writing ads or posts, making them feel that you understand them, one of those customers is worth all 500 majillion of the ones treated like a demographic. #micdropmoment
wrong place, right people
Targeting your audience is just as important as your target audience. You can know your ideal customer inside and out and still fall flat on your arse if the messaging isn’t directed to them.
THIS is where data does come in clutch. Market where your customers hangout, or else we may get metaphorical about ‘if the tree falls and no one is there to hear it, did it make a sound?’
Be Exclusive – NOT EXCLUSIVE
It’s one thing to be intimately acquainted with your target audience. It’s a whole other thing to be so hyper-focused on them that it’s obvious which comments get the hearts, and which don’t even get a second thought.
Know your audience – Yes!
Market to them – Absolutely.
Ghost the others – Don’t You Even.
Whether someone spends a nickel or a Ben Franklin makes no difference. Word of mouth goes both ways.
Someone doesn’t need to pay a cent to spread their two-sense. In the case of people propelling ballistic negativity, you’re probably looking at spending money to fix a faux-pas of this nature and win back customers after your Google review takes a bullet.
Your hard work worked overtime to get someone not in your target audience to notice you. Appreciate every person who interacts with your business. Genuine kindness goes a long way!
Plus, you earned it, high-five for being awesome.
Psstt…You have more than one target audience.
Honing in on one is a good start, but the more you know – the more potential to grow your business. Once you’ve narrowed the list of prospective audiences to one, the rest will fall in place easily enough.
When working on audience avatars, imagine a scale. The median should be your ideal audience. That’s your, ‘If you could hand-pick my customers,’ people. Then, nestle the second and third avatars on the left and right poles of the spectrum based on their character traits.
Target Audience A
Remember, the artisan micro-roaster from ⬆, we’re going to name his ideal crowd the ‘Super Sippers.’ They are the refined, palated millennials searching for a coffee experience.
Target Audience B
Did you know that our Mr. Coffee Fabio-lous incentivizes his customers to bring cups from home and home-cycled bags for coffee grinds? In case you forget your mug at home, he’s got you covered with compostable cups for your every on-the-go need. Oh – and he purchases coffee beans from a farm he’s familiar with, ensuring that fair wages are being paid.
Someone give this man a gold star.
Just an educated guess here, but I’d say that Mr. Coffee Fabio-lous’ second target audience might be people making a conscious effort to lessen their footprint on the planet. A match made in conscious, coffee drinker’s dreams.
Target Audience C
Lastly, he’s located in a neighborhood with a magnet school. We all know what happens when ma’ drops you off, and there’s a coffee shop ‘round the corner with good-looking baristas and caffeinated bliss on the menu.The third target audience is most certainly going to be the Ladies That Latte!
Your Target Audience Is Not Everyone
Anytime someone tells me their target audience is everyone, I have to take an inner zen moment. I don’t care if you’re selling cell phones or toilets. Your target market is never everyone. Never ever…ever, ever, everyone. K?
Mr. Coffee Fabio doesn’t sell to everyone. Southern grannies would riot over the cost of a $5.5 mochaccino. Same for toilets, you only have to look at all the ones you’ve used to know that Kohler is not the porcelain throne living in most houses. And the same for your customers.
It’s impossible to serve everyone. Trying results in a sorry attempt that inevitably sells at random people rather than serving them. Two very different things.
One makes you feel warm and fuzzy because you were understood.
The other is like being chased by the kiosk kid at the mall who wants you to sample a pretzel. Hence the creation of the solicitation sign.
Selling at customers may get some sales, but it won’t win lifetime clients in a world where Brands reign supreme.
Dove never said, ‘Hey guys, we’ve changed our marketing and we get you better. Go buy soap!’
They connected to their customers and their concerns as people. The product and sale were secondary to the cause, yet we, the people, turned out in droves to support Dove’s newest endeavor.
👍🏽Key Takeaway : Serving everyone serves no one, especially not you.
People Power Companies
Carrying a business baby on your back 24/7 is hard work. Straight-up! It’s easy to get lost in p & ls and the constant worry of keeping your doors open. Never forget, people power companies. Period.
Target Audiences are the heartbeat bringing Brands to life. No matter what your business needs, it’s next to impossible, if you haven’t won over your crowd.
When you and your Target Audience are tight -they’ll come out and support you. They show up for events with friends in tow, passing the word to everyone they see. Win your people, and the numbers will tell a much different story.
Have a story about how your customers came in clutch? Share the love and inspire another entrepreneur to connect with their audience.
Until next time, badasses. In the meantime, if you’re lost in a sea of people and can’t seem to find yours, you know where to find a crew of creatives that can help nail down your crowd.