In the first few days to months as a new business, defining your target audience can be a little confusing and difficult. Whether you are a service, blog, YouTube channel, podcast, website, or whatever it may be, many people will have an idea of who they want their brand target audience to be, but it may not always be spot on. Wanting a certain demographic as your target audience, and the reality of who they actually are, are two different things. Often, finding your target audience as a brand is a combination of careful market research, trial and error, and analyzing your successes.
You may have heard the business phrase that if your audience is everyone, you’re appealing to no one. The reality is that no brand is for “everyone”. Even the most popular brands in the world – Apple, Google, Amazon, Coca-Cola – are not for everyone. Your target audiences could be an extremely specific niche that will generate more reliable and regular income for you than a brand that hits several target audiences. Once you identify your target audience, this will determine how you run your marketing and all other customer-facing aspects of your brand.
What Is A Target Audience?
Your target audience is the customers that you are aiming your product or service at. They are the people who you want to stumble across your brand and think “this is for me.” Your exact target audience group will be made up of a combination of age, gender, location, interests, earnings, and numerous other factors.
Why Do You Need A Target Audience?
A target audience is essential for your brand to find its way to the right people, and is vitally important in ensuring the financial longevity of your business. Google found that more than 56% of ad impressions are never seen by customers. A contributing factor to this statistic is poor targeting. The procurement and supply chain consultancy Proxima estimates that $37bn of worldwide digital market budgets are being wasted on poor digital performances alone.
If you are going to invest in marketing, especially as a startup or smaller business, your marketing budget should be a smart investment that brings tangible ROI (return on investment). This means knowing that your digital ads are going directly to the right people and creating potential leads. McKinsey research showed that ads tailored to client needs could increase ROI up to eight times, and increase sales by at least 10%.
Of course, not all businesses will be right for digital marketing and targeted ads. Blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels, for example, do far better to find their target audience by sustained and regular content that hits a certain niche. Video and audio content must also focus on building a target audience organically, as targeted ads will only go so far.
What Are You Offering?
This will be an easier question to answer for some businesses than others. If your business falls into a very specific industry, like sales, beauty, or real estate, what you are offering will be very clear. For other businesses, particularly with broader professions like personal coaching, you must be clear on exactly what it is you are offering. If you can’t condense your brand service into one sentence, your target audience will never be able to identify it. You should be able to recite your elevator pitch at a moment’s notice, and never lose sight of what it is your brand is offering to your target audience.
What Problems Do You Solve?
If you are still unsure of your target audience, you can think about your brand as a potential solution to a problem. One prospect group within the five stages of customer awareness is identified as “problem aware”, meaning they know there is a problem, but they don’t yet have a solution. Another is “solution aware”, meaning they may be aware of your brand, but don’t realize that you offer a solution to a problem. You first need to identify exactly what problem you solve, so you can direct your content marketing efforts to the right people.
A “problem” can also be something as simple as needing information that your blog or YouTube channel provides. A problem doesn’t necessarily have to be resolved with a physical product or service. Even if your brand is a combination between business and personal, you still need to be clear about how your brand can help people.
Do Market Research
You’ve probably heard the phrase “work smart, not hard”. Market research is all about doing your homework so you can apply your knowledge and efforts tactfully. As a smaller brand, you can conduct market research relatively simply. The purpose of market research is to collate information about your target audience to better understand who they are. This allows businesses to make better-informed decisions and improve various facets of their service to appeal directly to their market.
One common form of market research is a survey – they are cheap to create and an effective way to collect a large amount of data. In the survey you can ask about their hobbies, what problems they had, how they found your brand, price expectations, likelihood to recommend to a friend, and more. Other options for market research include studying analytics, focus groups, and interviews.
Analyze Your Current Customer Base
As a new brand, you may find that you start to notice patterns or similarities among your current customer base. These observations are invaluable and can sometimes take you by surprise when something catches on with a demographic you didn’t expect. You can find out more about your current customer base by conducting surveys or reviewing data.
If your brand has audience analytics, like YouTube or a podcast distribution platform like Anchor, data about age, location, and similar watching habits are invaluable. YouTube, for example, lets you check which exact video people are coming from before they click onto yours. If you can identify that niche and capitalize on it, your target audience will become clear and will inform your content decisions.
Create A Target Audience Avatar
Storytelling and marketing expert Bernadette Jiwa coined the phrase “Whoever gets closer to the customer wins.” This is precisely the reason why every business should have a persona or avatar who defines their target audience. Creating an avatar means understanding them as well as you would a normal person. To create an avatar, you should identify their: name, age, location, interests, job, hobbies, relationship history, magazines they read, food they enjoy, movies they watch, and more. By creating this avatar, you can view everything about your brand through their eyes, and ask if X, Y, or Z would appeal to this person.
Understand Your Competition
It’s a simple fact of business that any brand must keep a watchful eye over its competitors. This means knowing exactly what they offer, if it is well received, how customers respond to it, and if it solves a problem that you do not. When it comes to finding new clients, you may be asked to explain why you offer more value than your competitors. As well as conducting market research, understanding your competition also means being involved in the industry – going to conferences, webinars, and industry events.
How Does Your Target Audience Use Social Media?
You would be hard-pressed to find a serious brand that does not use social media at all these days. It is an essential resource in any marketing strategy. There are nearly two million advertisers on Instagram each month, with an estimated advertising reach of 928.5 million. Making the most of these facts means knowing how your target audience uses social media, and where your ads will find them. Not only this, but understanding how your target audience uses social media will allow you to curate a feed that appeals to them and encourages engagement.
How Will Your Target Audience Find You?
Once you have an idea of who your target audience is, you should identify how prospective new buyers or watchers will find you. There’s no point in dedicating your marketing budget to Facebook ads when most of them will be on Instagram. Similarly, you may be channeling your energies into Twitter, when your target audience is constantly engaging on LinkedIn. Again, if your audience is ‘problem aware’, you need to bring the solution to them. Once you identify exactly who they are, ask where this audience is, and how you can bring the solution to them.
Find out how Otter PR can help you identify your brand target audience by booking a free consultation today.