“Aim your marketing at everybody, and you’ll get nobody.”
And it’s absolutely true.
The key to success when marketing as a business owner is having a clearly defined target audience. One that you’ve researched and know exactly how to market to, and that’s what I want to delve a little deeper into with this blog.
What is “target audience”?
I’m going right back to basics here as I think it’s worth stripping everything back to the basics and building up again, so the definition of target audience is:
“a particular group at which a product such as a film or advertisement is aimed”
That’s relatively straightforward and easy to understand, right? So why am I still seeing so many small business owners and entrepreneurs get it wrong?
Because they don’t do their market research.
When it comes to identifying your target audience you really do need to be as specific as possible. That means taking a simple outline of an ideal customer and making it as jam-packed with detail as you can make it, take this as an example for a men’s fashion line.
My target audience is men in their 20’s onward who like to exercise in their spare time and enjoy wearing comfortable clothing that fits in with their lifestyle.
What does that actually mean? What exercise do they do – athletics, a team sport? What is their lifestyle and how does comfortable clothing fit in with that? Having a basic outline creates more questions than taking the time to really research and think about things properly. Any marketing created out of this is likely to be the catch-all over 20s variety – which doesn’t get results.
Now when we really dig down and think long and hard about things, we can come up with something that reads like this:
My target audience are men in their late 20s, they have girlfriends and wives but aren’t ready to settle down and have children just yet as they enjoy living life to the full at the moment. They’re very active, definitely seen at the gym at least three times a week and will participate in hard man challenges at every opportunity. Being comfortable in their clothing is essential, but they also want to look stellar and confident at all times.
In all honesty, I still wouldn’t say that was specific enough, but you can see at a glance the difference that kind of profile can make to marketing. We know that advertising is likely to be seen at the gym and outdoor events, that sport and keeping fit is an important hobby that’s at the forefront of their mind, so any marketing needs to tap into this too. We also know that the women in their life are likely to be involved with their fashion choices and could play a pivotal role in any marketing.
You’ve probably already thought of some ideas you’d use to market to this target audience, right? Because the more specific we can get, the more ideas that’ll work for our target audience we can think of.
So, how do we get more specific?
Creating a target audience persona is critical when it comes to marketing
Sometimes known as an ‘avatar’ or even a ‘profile’, we’re talking about a detailed description of the ideal customer that we’re pitching our product or services to.
And we create that by answering some questions that get into the nitty-gritty of what an ideal customer looks like for us.
I really like the resource at Digital Marketer for this as it highlights some of the areas you should be looking at when creating your avatar, with some useful explanations to go with it too.
There are five key areas you need to delve into, which are:
- Goals and values
- Challenges and pain points
- Objections and roles
- Sources of information
While they might look quite complicated, they are necessary to at least think about when putting your marketing strategy together.
Demographic – this is the age, marital status, gender, occupation, income, etc. questions that help us see our target audience as an individual that we’re having a conversation with. Marketing is always a conversation between you and your ideal customer, so being able to flesh that person out and ‘make them real’ is what we’re looking for here.
But key things like income can help us understand their budget, how much they’re willing to spend on your product/service, where they buy their coffee (low-cost Maccy d’s or splashing out on a daily Starbucks, for example).
Goals and values – these are what drive us all as individuals in our lives. Whether it’s settling down and starting a family, losing weight by the end of the year, creating a successful business or retiring by the age of 40!
What’s important to your ideal customer, what do they care about and are committed to? What kind of charities do you think they’d be involved with or donate to?
Challenges and pain points – what’s stopping your ideal customer from reaching their goals and living their values? This is what keeps them awake at night – why can’t they lose that weight? Why isn’t their business improving and that retirement goal is getting further away?
The answers to these questions should form the basis of your marketing as being able to provide ‘the solution’ to these challenges is what your ideal customer is actively looking for.
Objections and roles – this is the “yeah, but…” when they’ve seen your marketing, but they’re not buying yet. Why not? What might their objections be? It might be the cost, they can’t see why it would help shift the weight when nothing else has, etc.
With this information, you can anticipate the objections before they happen and provide reassurance in your marketing – testimonials that it does help, for example.
Sources of information – this tells us where our marketing is going to be effective. If they don’t read magazines investing in an editorial isn’t going to make much of a return, but if they enjoy listening to podcasts creating your own series addressing their challenges and pain points would work much better.
What’s the best way to get started with this market research?
If you’re now sitting there and thinking “how on earth am I meant to figure that stuff out?” Don’t panic. I have a few ideas that will help.
If you have a fantastic customer at the moment and you want more like him or her, base your avatar around them. Get to know them and figure out why they’re such a good fit for you and your business, and how they went from noticing you to buying from you.
Other great ways to get a feel for your target audience and what they’re like are:
- Facebook groups – pay attention to what they’re saying and what they’re asking. Do join groups related to your product and service and actively listen to what’s going on.
- Twitter – think of relevant hashtags and search for people using them. What else are they tweeting about, which accounts are they following and what are they interested in?
- Competition – what are your competitors up to, can you guess their target audience from their marketing and engagement? Is it the same or can you think of differences?
- Ask. Run focus groups, ask a business consultant or coach for advice and help. Join an online networking community and ask like-minded folk their thoughts and opinions.
Once you have this information, you can put it to work for you by creating a marketing strategy around your target audience, rather than around what you think you should be doing – a subtle difference that really can improve your leads and conversion rate.
If you’re looking for support as a business owner and would like to discover how I can help you, get in touch with me today.
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