You’ve probably heard it a million times: your brand needs to know its audience to grow. In order to do this, you need to understand who your target audience is so you can tailor your marketing efforts toward them. But how do you identify your ideal audience? The key is to understand who they are and what problems they want to solve so that you can create marketing for your products and services that speaks directly to their needs. This blog post will give you six methods for identifying your ideal audience and making sure your marketing efforts are tailored to them in the future.
What is an ideal or target audience?
People make emotional decisions to make their lives better. They spend their money based on problems needing solutions. You have an excellent product or service ready to provide the solution they are looking for. Your ideal or target audience will often consist of people who are strongly aligned with your brand values, have similar goals and interests as you, and desire the benefits your product or service offers them. It’s important to know this group isn’t static but rather always evolving and changing as they go through different phases of life and life events. To attract them to your business offering and entice them to buy, subscribe to a newsletter, or contact you for services, will require you to stay present and aware of their needs and concerns.
Why does defining your target audience matter?
Before any strokes of a digital pen hit the webpage, any designs are finalized in a marketing campaign, copy is written for a Google ad, or content for your website is created, you need to know your audience. Defining your audience is arguably the most valuable step in the entire process of marketing. Why? Because knowing your audience first allows you to mold and share your story in a way that resonates and inspires the viewer to take action. Your goal any time you create a piece of marketing material is to speak directly to the needs and interests of the viewer and take them along to the next steps of your product or service. If you don’t know who your target audience is, you’re making the mistake of marketing to everyone, and while this may get you the reach you need, it will also lead to a large percentage of your reach never paying attention to your efforts and winding up wasting time or money.
As a web design agency, we’ve seen what happens to websites that lack a target:
- Visitors spend less time on a website and are prone to leaving quickly.
- Visitors get confused as to how they can use your product or service.
- The words on the webpage are not nearly as powerful as they could be because you are trying to talk to too many people all at once.
- The lack of clarity often plays itself out in the organization of your site’s contents.
This can be a frustrating ordeal.
If you have not dived headfirst into the process of narrowing down your audience then you are in for an awakening. It can take a couple of weeks to write down ideas, let them simmer, and then come back to refine, refine, refine. You’ll have to find the right questions to ask yourself to help you further narrow the audience scope. It can feel unproductive—all this thinking and planning without initial action. It’s contrary to the “results now” mentality we often have. If you aren’t feeling frustrated, we would argue you are doing something wrong. It’s a considerable amount of work.
We’ve walked through this ourselves.
We walked through the same predicament with Magnified Web. Knowing what I know with my marketing background, I still wanted to jump into a new website to get lead generation going ASAP and realized: I can’t magically bypass this pivotal step in the process.
We had to press in and force ourselves to define our own target audience. Hopefully, the below ideas will help you in your process of defining your audience.
How to identify individuals who will appreciate what you do.
Alright, let’s get into the meat of it, shall we? There are several ways to find people likely to love what you do and become your ideal audience.
1. Start With Your Current Customers
Don’t overlook them. These are the individuals who directly fall in line with needing what your business offers and benefiting from your business’ solutions helping them achieve their goals and interests.
Create Personas of Your Top 3 Customers
Think of the top three customers that you currently have, these can be the top buyers or even just the ones that you like to work with the most (we went with the customers we enjoy the most). Create a persona for each person by making a list of these questions and answering them for each of those three people:
- What problems do they have that you solve?
- How does your product or service make their life better?
- What does success look like for your customer when they buy your product or work with you?
- What’s their age and gender?
- What do they do for work?
- What kind of lives do they live outside of work?
- Do they have hobbies?
- What is their outlook on life and family?
- Do they have family or are they singles who are braving the world on their own?
- Why are they one of your top 3?
Answering these questions will allow you to understand who they are and why they may be interested in your products and services.
Ask your customers
Ask them, yes directly ask them why they are interested in your business. What brought you to buy from our business? What problems did we solve? What keeps you coming back? Why did you choose our business over anyone else? How did our product or service improve your life?
2. Think Benefits not Features
This is a little game of reverse engineering. You have a product or a service and you know its features like the back of your hand. You believe that once people understand those features they will love this product you offer but for some reason, they just don’t seem to get it. This is because consumers don’t care what features you have to offer, they only care about how it’s going to solve their problem and improve their life or work. What exactly does your product or service do to solve your customer’s problems and help them succeed in their goals? What kind of individuals need those benefits? Who needs those benefits the most and will find success when they use your product or service? That’s your audience.
3. Research Your Competitors
There is no time more appropriate to do competitive research than right now. You’re already interested in the market, so take a deeper dive into your competitors and learn about them. You can do this by
- Reading their websites
- Visiting their social media and reading the comments they receive
- Viewing the social media profiles of those that follow and interact with them
- Reading reviews and comments they receive on review websites
Ask yourself these questions when comparing:
- What do you think your competitors are doing right?
- What do you think your competitors are doing wrong?
- What problems do you solve that they do not and visa versa?
- How are you different?
- What is unique about you, your business, your services, products, and programs, your background, or even the way you work?
All of these things will help you understand your competitors and give you an idea of who their ideal audience is. Knowing who your competitors are and who they market to, will help you better understand your own target audience.
4. Frequently, your target audience is a previous version of yourself.
While we were going through the process of rebranding and rethinking our service offering here at Magnified Web, my partner and I went through some brainstorming about what problems we solve, the kind of client we would want to work with, and what kind of website that client would bring with them. We found as she and I created three personas each, that they all seemed to be past versions of ourselves. They were people that were having the same problems that we were once riddled with. They were people that had the same outlook on their future and on business. Do you remember what made you excited and fueled your passion? What was it that you wanted? Why did you start your business? What problem were you trying to solve for yourself?
To add to this point, I want you to think about your favorite musician. Why do you like their music so much? It’s probably because you can relate to the music, you can remember being in similar positions or having similar emotions that the artists allude to in their songs. There’s no better customer than yourself.
5. What Frustrates you?
In relation to the last point, another way to find your ideal audience is to think about what frustrates you in your daily life. What are the things that consistently annoy you and cause you frustration? Your product or service probably solves some of those frustrations, right? So, who are the types of people who share your frustrations?
6. Your Ideal Audience May Not Be Your Only Audience
I know, I know. I stressed how important it was for you to understand your target audience, and while this is important, they may not be the only audience that will resonate with you. You need to consider that there may be multiple groups of people who are interested in your brand, products, and services. This lends itself to opportunity. You can focus on these different audiences by creating different marketing campaigns and messages for each group. While your ideal audience is the group you want to focus on most, it’s important to remember that there may be other audiences out there who would also be interested in your business.