Part 1 – Assuming You Know Your Target Audience
Do you REALLY know your ideal customer? What are their demographics, motives for making a purchase, and preferred communication channels?
At GRIT, we often say “you are not your target audience.” This means companies and marketing professionals should not assume they are just like their customers and consequently develop and execute marketing strategies that appeal to their own personal preferences and interests.
To successfully reach and market to your target audience, you cannot assume that because your most used social media app is Facebook, so is your customers. Or that because you watch the local news every evening so does your target audience. It is best to dig deeper into who you are trying to target and learn about their unique habits and preferences. Consider asking yourself the following questions about your customers:
- Who are they influenced by?
- How do they learn about new products and services (e.g., online, in-store, word of mouth, etc.)?
- What social media channels are they active on?
- What types of content do they prefer to consume (e.g., blogs, videos, etc.)?
- What brands are they currently loyal to?
- What motivates them to make a buying decision?
Knowing who your ideal target audience is, where they go to gather information, and how they consume content can all lead to successful marketing efforts, including increased leads, conversions, customer loyalty, and more.
Stop Assuming, Get the Facts.
Target audiences are determined through comprehensive research, not assumptions of who you or your team members think your customers are. As a business, being able to adapt and connect with the people who really want to utilize your products or services (even if they are not who you expected) is key. Identifying your primary target audience and knowing where to find them and how to communicate with them through the right mediums will help your marketing efforts succeed.
If you are ready to dig deeper and gain insightful information about your ideal target audience, consider the following initiatives.
Examine Your Current Customers
When identifying your primary target audience, current customers can provide a wealth of knowledge. Think about long-term, repeat customers who you have success with. What characteristics do they possess? Consider demographic factors like their age, race, gender, income level, and marital status as well as psychographic information like their values, attitudes, and motives for making decisions.
Knowing this information about your current customers who have demonstrated brand loyalty is key as it can be utilized to determine your ideal target audience and what is important to them.
Monitor Online Engagement
Individuals who are interested in purchasing or learning more about your products and services are more likely to engage with your company’s online content. By monitoring social media comments and messages, customer support chats, website form submissions, and more, you can gain a deeper understanding of who your ideal customers and target audience are as well as what they like and dislike.
Additionally, using tools such as Google Analytics, companies can track new website users, the source through which they came to your website, top visited pages, and demographic information (e.g., location). Insights gained through monitoring online engagement can help determine not only who your target audience is, but also their actions.
Conduct Your Own Research
Once you have an idea of who your primary target audience may be, it is important to conduct your own research to expand your knowledge. Take time to interview both current and prospective customers who you believe to be a part of your target audience. Online surveys could also be distributed to create efficiencies in gathering and analyzing data. Ask general questions such as their age, race, gender, educational background, income level, marital status, and more. From there, dig deeper into specific questions such as what motivates them to make a buying decision, how they use your product or service and what value it provides them, as well as how they get their information.
After conducting your own research, it is important to analyze the results and look for themes and similarities between the responses. Identifying the similarities will be key to creating a customer persona.
Create Customer Personas
Customer personas (also referred to as buyer personas or avatars) are fictional representations of your ideal target customer. Customer personas outline the nitty gritty details of your target audience based on themes uncovered during research. The visual sheets include a fictional name and image of your ideal customer along with demographic and psychographic information, preferred communication channels, goals and motivations, challenges, and more. Some companies may have more than one customer persona based on the number of themes and ideal target audiences discovered during research.
Once developed, customer personas can be distributed to team members throughout different departments so they have a solid understanding of who they are trying to sell to and develop long-term relationships with. Customer personas help ensure consistency and can guide the development of marketing and sales materials.
To get started creating your ideal customer persona, check out the templates available online, including the Make My Persona tool offered by HubSpot.
What Comes Next?
Once you have identified your target audience, the next step is to reach them with messaging that resonates through the communication channels they prefer. But how do you successfully do that?
From crafting attention-grabbing messages that showcase how your product or service can make customers’ lives easier to connecting with them on a personal level and building credibility, using the right words and distributing them through the right channels will be key to ensuring your brand resonates with those who have the most impact on your organization.
For more tips and tricks, be sure to check out our blog Digging Deeper: Identifying & Reaching Target Audiences.
Get Support Defining Your Target Audience
Defining and reaching your target audience takes time and research. As an award-winning marketing communications agency located in York, Pennsylvania, our team of marketing professionals have years of experience helping clients of all sizes across an array of industries identify and connect with members of their ideal target audience.
If you are ready to stop making assumptions about your customers and discover the nitty gritty details that will lead to marketing and sales wins, get in touch with our team today for support. Then, be sure to stay tuned next month for part two of The 7 Sins of Marketing blog series, which will focus on visual branding!