When you’re just starting out with your business or project, finding your target audience could be the challenge of a lifetime. You might be over-concentrated on your product or service and be sure who it’s more fitting for. You might not have a huge marketing team who would think critically and put all their effort into market research and audience analysis. You might also want to give up after a couple of attempts to find your target audience but wait.
You can manage to find your target audience and boost your sales, having devoted some time for research and considered these tips when planning a small promotion or an entire campaign.
How to find your target audience
1. Clarify the difference between target market and target audience
Reading some articles on how to find your target audience, you have probably noticed that the terms ‘target market’ and ‘target audience’ may be used in the same context. However, both notions have key differences that need to be clarified before planning a promotion or a campaign.
Target market is a group of people who are your potential clients. Based on their needs, you tailor your products or services. For instance, if your target market is millennials – people who were born after 1981 and before 1996 – your offer should definitely fit the needs of tech-savvy and deliberate people. A company that does not have a website or social media is unlikely to get millennials as clients.
Meanwhile, the definition of target audience is narrower. It refers to a specific group of people within the target market.
Let’s suppose that your company’s product is reusable cups. It’s December and is time to run your holiday marketing campaigns. Appealing to all millennials even within particular geography will not bring a lot of sales. Some of them might already have reusable cups, while others might not be interested in this product in general. To make your marketing message hit the right people, you need to segment your target market into smaller groups.
Taking into consideration that millennials are one of the largest generations, you can come to the conclusion that they are using social media a lot. According to GlobalWebIndex infographic, 83% of millennials use Facebook and 67% have Instagram accounts. What this means is that a significant part or even your entire marketing campaign should take place on social media.
You can narrow down your audience even further. For example, to people who are eco-conscious, have recently been looking for Christmas gift ideas, and prefer online shopping. In short, target audience is the circle of people to whom you will deliver your marketing message.
2. Identify how your product or service is useful
All these target audience examples sound great but what if you don’t aim to hit eco-conscious millennials? How do you identify different types of target audiences?
After you have figured out the difference between target market and target audience, you should identify the key benefits of your product or service. You should remember that people are looking for a problem solution, so your aim is to point out how your company or service is useful. Keeping this in mind, you’ll be able to identify smaller groups of people which might be interested in buying your product or services.
3. Study the geography, demographics, psychographics, and behavior
The intermediate step between identifying your target market and your target audience is market segmentation – dividing all potential customers into smaller groups according to their demands.
You can segment your market by four different indicators:
Geography refers to a location and can be described widely (a continent or country) and narrowly (a city or a postcode). This is especially useful for companies that offer local services or products. Demographic indicators are age, gender, ethnicity, religion, occupation, marital status, and others. This data allows companies to better understand the behavior of potential consumers.
The psychographic indicator is even narrower than the first two. It is often referred to as a lifestyle segmentation, as it helps to identify the interests, activities, and values of a group. Behavioral segmentation divides people by their behavioral patterns. These can be purchase occasions and frequency, loyalty status, and attitude to particular types of products or services.
Market segmentations allow you to identify precise groups of people and, thus, make sure your future marketing efforts are not in vain.
4. Check out your competitors’ target audience
It’s highly unlikely that you’ve created a product or service the world has not seen before. Most of the companies out there have a large pool of competitors, and your brand is no exception. If you have not done it yet, you should check out your competitors’ target audience.
They couldn’t have grasped the whole market, all kinds of segments, and audiences. Thus, you have an opportunity to fill the gap here. The people who are not your competitors’ clients can become yours if your marketing campaign will target the right group.
You can choose a more complicated route and aim to conquer your competitors’ audiences. To do that, you should devote time for a profound analysis of what could be done better based on their strategy, the weaknesses in their campaigns, and what it is that could get their existing customers to switch to your product or services.
5. Survey your existing customers
Another way to find your target audience is to survey your existing clients. Ask them questions that would help you understand why, when, and how they buy your product or services. You can also find out some basic information to get a better understanding of their demographics and psychographics.
This approach can help you in two ways. Having analyzed existing audiences for you and your competitors, you’ll be able to see the bigger picture and find the gaps you can fill in with your product or services. You can also divide your target audience into smaller groups and personalize your messages for better results. For instance, a personalized approach to email marketing and ads can help you get to direct consumers with every campaign.
Way too many campaigns are vague because they try to target and appeal to ‘everyone’, but studying your existing audience can help you retain them if your messages are personalized. Moreover, you don’t have to spend much time designing the survey as you can easily create forms in Survey Monkey or Typeform.
6. Test your marketing campaigns
If your campaign did not succeed on the first try, it does not mean that you failed to identify your target audience. The reasons for that may be a wrong channel, a poor CTA, wrong copy, visuals or irrelevant timing. Thus, you should set a couple of small campaigns with different inputs and analyze which were the most effective different audiences. Based on the data you collect, you can see which groups of people are not interested in your product or service, who needs to be convinced, and who is ready to be converted into leads.
Having taken these tips into consideration, you’ll be able to find your target audience but also make sure the sales get a boost this year. This is particularly relevant at this time of the year when the web is flooded with holiday marketing campaigns and you have to fight tooth and nail to get your messages noticed.
Finding your target audience is an ongoing process and you’ll learn something new at every stage. Don’t settle for first results, and continue trying to reach new customers with all of your marketing efforts.
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