Do you know your audience?
Before any strokes of a digital pen hit the webpage.
Before wire-framing, mockups, or design.
Back to the inception of the thought: I need a new, or updated, website.
Maybe you looked at your current website and knew it could work a little harder on your behalf. Or, you've arrived at a new business idea and you think, "I've got to get a website up, stat!"
It is at this very moment that you need to be honest with yourself: Did you sit down to define, and then write down, your target audience. If so, did you cast your net too wide?
This group of people should...
- ...be narrow.
- ...share a similar pain point or values.
- ...be in need of information you can teach.
- ...have the desire and means to buy something from you.
Defining your audience is arguably the most valuable step in your entire process. Why?
Because doing the brave thing and narrowing a target will make or break your ability to build an audience.
Unless you are a mega enterprise with nearly unlimited marketing resources at your disposal, then you need to be strategic about your message to grab the attention of the right people.
The frustration is real.
If you have not found the task of identifying your target audience arduous and frustrating, you may not be doing it right. And, that means you have not narrowed the scope of your search enough.
It's frustrating because the process feels unproductive—all this thinking without initial action. It's contrary to our "results now" mentality.
It can take a couple of weeks to write down ideas, let them simmer, and then come back to refine, refine, refine.
Over time, we've seen what happens to websites lacking a target:
- Deer-caught-in-headlights mode sets in when it comes to writing content for sales pages or your blog. Without a clearly defined target audience, who do you write to? What do you talk about?
- The words on the webpage are not nearly as powerful as it could be because you are trying to talk to too many people.
- The lack of clarity often plays itself out in the organization of your site's contents.
Don't feel bad. We did it too.
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 the process either.
We had to press in and force ourselves to define our own target audience.
Turns out, we like content creators — those who are actively building an audience online using content marketing and need a high performing website with a dose of marketing advice and tech savvy to make that happen.
Ignore the voice of fear.
The prevailing fear that keeps us from setting our sights on just one audience is loss of business. The voice of fear may sound something like this:
What if a perfectly good candidate comes along, they read my website, see they are not in my audience, and I lose the sale?
That could happen.
However, the ramifications for keeping the audience unclear are far worse financially. And ironically, by talking directly to your target, you likely will attract people outside of your defined niche.
Even if you've already got a website, you can still go back to the beginning and discover your target audience.
I say "discover" because I am confident there is a target audience that makes sense with your organization's personality, skill set, and experience, but you must do the hard work to excavate it.
Steps to Excavating your Target Audience
- Sit down and list your favorite clients. What are their goals, values, and needs? What is it about that working relationship that is so rewarding?
- Next, write out what your business does best. It can be a product you develop or a service you provide, but it will also have to do with what you are able to teach to others.
- Ask yourself, where do these areas align?
Here’s to your victories big and small!
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