How To Find Your Target Audience: Your Data's Valuable
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Your journey of building a successful business begins with an audience. If you’re wanting to know how to find your target audience, you’ll need to accurately know who they are inside and out. Only then will your chances be HIGH at gaining potential leads and sales.
Imagine trying to have a conversation in a crowded room of loud talking attempting to get everyone’s attention. It’s draining, isn’t it? The same applies to businesses that market to everyone rather than a specific group. By honing in on a target audience, you’re channeling your efforts to engage EXACTLY WHO are most likely to be interested in WHAT you offer.
Having accurate data you can easily access allows for a more tailored approach to your service offerings. By knowing their needs, desires, and pain points, you can design offers that truly resonate, leading to their satisfaction and loyalty.
As a result, after you experience the magic of what your data brings, it’s easy to see that your marketing dollars were spent effectively, reaching those who are genuinely interested in becoming customers.
So, if you’ve ever wondered how to ensure your marketing efforts aren’t wasted on the wrong crowd or how to tailor your products or services to meet the needs of those who truly value them, then keep reading.
How do you define your target audience?
By targeting an audience, you can tailor your marketing efforts and brand message to communicate effectively with this group, leading to:
- Increased engagement
- Customer acquisition
The researching process of how to find your target audience is a crucial component of a successful marketing strategy. We cover that vital process, here.
“Only 31% know the online communities their target audience is a part of and even less know the challenges they are facing.”
What are four 4 key ways to identify a target audience?
Primarily, there are 3 types of target audience, but as consumer markets have expanded exponentially, it’s grown to four. Regardless whether it’s 3 or 4, researching your target audience with these types is required to FULLY UNDERSTAND, CONNECT AND RESONATE with them.
Based on demographic characteristics such as age, gender, income, education level, marital status, or occupation. For instance, a photography company selling wedding photoshoot packages might target men and women, aged 20-40, with a medium-high income level.
Based on their attitudes, values, interests, lifestyles, personality traits, and motivations. A company selling veterinary pet services might target people who value pet health/nutrition, are environmentally conscious, and lead a fit lifestyle.
Based on their behaviors, particularly concerning the use of various products or services, and their response to different marketing strategies. This includes their purchasing habits, brand interactions, spending habits, and product usage rates. For example, a speech coach deciding to launch an app might target heavy smartphone users who regularly download and use apps.
Based on the process of examining and interpreting data on geographic or spatial factors. For example, a coffee shop is wanting to expand their services to another city.
Keep in mind, these are not mutually exclusive and a comprehensive marketing strategy often involves a mix of these types. How to find your target audience accurately allows you to personalize your marketing efforts, resulting in better customer engagement and SALES.
The Difference Between A Target Audience and A Target Market
Although the terms “target market” and “target audience” are often used interchangeably in marketing, they do have slightly different meanings.
This refers to the ENTIRE group of people or businesses that you want to sell your services or offers to. It’s a broader term that includes everyone who might be interested in what your company offers, not just those the company will focus its marketing efforts on.
This is on the SUBSET of that target market AND WHO EXACTLY you’re deciding to direct your marketing and advertising efforts towards. The target audience is more specific and is the group most likely to buy the product or service and respond to the company’s marketing messages.
For example, a company might sell nutrition coaching for all adults (target market), but decide to focus a particular service offer to women in their 40s who are interested in creating a dietary meal plan (target audience).
So while the two terms are closely related and sometimes used interchangeably, the target audience is a more specific subset of the broader target market.
5 Ways To Understand Your Target Audience
By understanding how to find your target audience, you can lead to more effective marketing, better services and offers, a competitive edge in standing out, and increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
1. Efficient Use of Resources
Focus your marketing resources where they are most likely to generate returns. By knowing WHO IS MOST LIKELY to be interested in your service or offer, you can direct your marketing efforts towards those individuals, reducing wasted time, money, and energy on those who are unlikely to convert.
2. Improved Communication
Craft a message that resonates with them (psychologically and behaviorally), increasing the effectiveness of your marketing and communication efforts.
3. Product Development
Create services and offers of real value to them. The more value you put in them, the more you’ll see increased sales and customer loyalty.
4. Competitive Advantage
Discover the niches or segments that your competitors may have overlooked. By serving these niches well, you can have a competitive advantage.
5. Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
Enhance your customers’ satisfaction. Satisfied customers are more likely to be loyal to your brand and become repeat customers, leading to increased customer lifetime value.
“Just one-fourth of marketers know the social causes their target audience cares about – a huge missed opportunity when it comes to expressing your brand’s values, especially when marketing to Gen Z and Millennials.”
How To Find Your Target Audience By Connecting And Resonating With Them
Step 1: Analyze Your Products and Services
Before diving into your target market, it’s best to start internally within your own business. Analyzing your services and offers is about understanding what 1. problem it solves or 2. need it fulfills. It’s an introspective and comprehensive assessment of your offering’s features, advantages, in relation to the unique value it provides.
1. Clearly define your services and offers (put this all into a worksheet) –
- What are they?
- How do they work?
- What sets them apart or how are they different from similar offerings in the market?
2. Identify the key problem they solve or ‘need’ they meet. This requires a deep understanding of your customers’ challenges, desires, and lifestyle.
NOTE: You can come back to this as well since the key to this part is finding your target audience. It’s important to assess what you offer first and answer these as best as you can.
3. Gather information on customer feedback, conducting surveys, and facilitating focus groups that can help you understand:
- How well is your solution working and where can improvements be made?
- How do your services and offers fit into the larger context of their daily lives? Meaning, how do they integrate with their daily routines, support their goals, or improve their quality of life?
Understanding the problem your services and offers solve also involves identifying what makes you stand out – what makes your offering better or different than alternatives available in the market. This could be superior quality, innovative features, better pricing, excellent customer service, or other differentiators that add value for your customers.
Once you land on what makes you stand out, you can articulate a compelling narrative about your services and offers that speak directly, authentically, and boldly to your target audience’s needs and wants, positioning them as the IDEAL solution to their problem or need.
This in-depth understanding forms the foundation for all your marketing efforts, enabling you to communicate effectively with a potential right audience that drives business growth.
Step 2: Conduct A Comprehensive Audience Audit
A comprehensive audience audit is a DETAILED examination of your EXISTING and potential customers to understand their demographics, location/culture, preferences, behaviors, and motivations.
NOTE: researching audience information is not easy, it requires time and effort, AND with some useful tools, you can gain useful insights into how they interact with your services and offers. We recommend setting aside batches of time and gathering this information on a worksheet.
Here’s what typically goes into a comprehensive audience audit:
- Demographics Analysis: Include the basic information about your audience such as their age, gender, income, education, and location. It can also include elements like marital status, number of children, and profession.
- Psychographics Analysis: List their interests, values, attitudes, and lifestyles. Examine if they have hobbies, shopping habits, social media usage, and the brands they currently engage with.
- Behavioral Analysis: How do they interact with your brand? Look at things like purchasing habits, online browsing behavior, email engagement, and customer journey patterns.
- Geographical Analysis: Identify where potential customers or audience members are located, understanding regional variations in their tastes, needs, or consumption patterns.
- Customer Needs and Pain Points: What do they need or what is their pain? This could involve surveying your audience, customer interviews, or reviewing customer service interactions.
- Competitive Analysis: Look at who else your audience is buying from or engaging with. What other brands are in their consideration set? How does your brand compare?
RELATED ARTICLE: What Is Market Competition? Your 3 Part How-To Rivalry Breakthrough
- Segmentation: After gathering all the data, it’s important to segment your audience into distinct groups based on common characteristics or behaviors. This can help in delivering personalized marketing strategies and messages for each segment.
- Persona Development: Create detailed personas to bring your audience segments to life. They will make it easier for your entire team to understand and target your key audience groups.
- Channel Preferences: Identify the communication channels preferred by your audience – email, social media, print, TV, etc. – to optimize your marketing strategies.
- Trends Analysis: Keeping track of changing trends within your target audience’s behavior, preferences, and external influences.
Review and Update: An audience audit isn’t a one-time thing. It’s important to regularly review and update your findings to account for changes in your audience and the broader market.
Step 3: Gain Situational clarity
Situational clarity is an essential component in how to find your target audience, as it allows for an accurate depiction of their current lives, how they form their decisions, and their engagement with a brand.
Knowing their situation gives clarity to their everyday experiences, environment, and unique circumstances in shaping their lives. Consider these factors of their:
- Living arrangements
- Professional situation
- Financial status
- Social responsibilities
- Unique challenges they face daily
For example (if you’re a business coach), understanding your customers’ situational clarity could mean knowing that a significant portion of them could be:
- Busy working parents who are also pursuing building their side business and need help.
- Early Retirees managing the nuances of a fixed income and starting a business to get additional income.
Acquiring this TARGETED AUDIENCE DATA could mean recognizing that some of your consumers live in high-paced urban environments while others could reside in remote, rural areas (Geographic).
All this data aids in personalizing your offers, services, and marketing messages to better resonate with them. You can tailor your solutions to meet their specific needs and address their unique challenges, creating a connection between your brand and your customers.
This connection not only fosters loyalty, but also empowers your customers to live and work better AND at the same time, leading to your sustained business growth and roaring success. Therefore, having a clear picture of your customers’ situation is not just advantageous – it’s vital.
STEP 4: Learn Their Fears, Challenges, Desires, and Emotions
Comprehending your audience’s fears, challenges, desires, and emotions forms an integral part of forming a deep connection with your audience, enabling you to craft messages that resonate with them profoundly.
Every customer harbors certain fears or anxieties, whether it pertains to making a poor purchasing decision, facing financial uncertainty, or navigating through social pressures.
Their challenges are associated with their everyday situation. (STEP #3)
Similarly, they hold desires, which can range from wanting to attain success in their career, longing for convenience and comfort, or aspiring for a healthier lifestyle.
Also, your audience’s emotions play a pivotal role in influencing their attitudes and behaviors towards brands and products.
By understanding these emotional triggers – happiness, sadness, fear, surprise, anger, and others – you can mold your communication strategy effectively.
This process involves:
- Tapping into their fears by offering them reassurance.
- Aligning your services and offers with their desires to provide solutions they crave.
- Weaving emotional narratives that move them.
For instance, if you know your target audience fears wasteful spending, you can address that fear by highlighting the cost-effectiveness and value-for-money aspects of your offer or service. If they desire convenience, you can showcase how your services will simplify their lives. By tuning into their emotions, you can craft compelling stories that evoke feelings of joy, warmth, empathy, or excitement, thereby creating a stronger emotional bond with your brand.
By understanding and addressing your audience’s fears, challenges, desires, and emotions, you not only enhance our communication efficacy, but also foster deeper relationships, driving brand loyalty and engagement.
STEP 5: Connect Through Personality
Understanding the personality traits of your target audience can significantly enhance your ability to create a brand persona that resonates with them and attracts their interest.
If you’re asking, “How do you find and attract your target audience?” You’ll want to delve into the specific characteristics and behaviors of your audience.
- Introverted OR extroverted
- Traditional OR open to new experiences
- Spontaneous OR meticulous planners
- Risk-averse OR risk-takers
These personality dimensions, among others, can give you crucial insights into how they think, what they value, and how they typically behave. Once you have a clear understanding of their personality type, you can leverage this information to shape your brand’s personality to be more appealing and relatable to your audience.
For example, if your audience consists largely of innovative, forward-thinking individuals, your brand personality can reflect traits such as creativity, curiosity, and a pioneering spirit. If your audience is more conservative and values stability, your brand can embody dependability, trustworthiness, and a strong heritage.
Crafting our brand personality in this manner allows you to establish a deeper emotional connection, as your audience sees traits in your brand that they value in themselves or aspire to possess. This personality connection makes your brand more appealing and relatable to them, leading to greater brand affinity, customer loyalty, and a stronger market position.
RELATED ARTICLE: What Is Brand Personality? Your Best Character Relates Better
Therefore, defining and connecting with your audience’s personality type is a potent tool for creating an attractive and resonant brand personality.
Step 6: Create Audience Personas
Creating audience personas is a critical step in how to find your target audience. Personas represent your ideal customers, painting a vivid picture of
- Who they are
- What they want
- What challenges they face
- How they make decisions
All of the information you have gathered conducting market research, the demographic data, psychographic data, and behavioral data, you will want to put this information together in an organized manner like a spreadsheet.
The goal is to identify patterns and commonalities among your customers. Group these similar characteristics together to form separate personas. Each persona should include all of these details, creating a comprehensive profile that brings to life a segment of your audience. The more detailed and specific, the better. You can even give each persona a name to make them feel more real.
After defining these personas, integrate them into your marketing strategy. Use them to guide your messaging, product development, content creation, and more. Remember, personas are not static – they should evolve as you gain more insights about your customers and as market conditions change. Continually gathering feedback and updating your personas will ensure they remain relevant and valuable for your marketing efforts.
Creating audience personas allows you to empathize with your audience on a deeper level, leading to more personalized and effective marketing strategies. It allows you to walk in their shoes, understand their needs and desires, and ultimately create an offer or service they can connect with.
Step 7: Document Your Data In Your Guidelines
This is where you put the data results into a document that will guide you time-and-time again in creating marketing ads, social content, emails, newsletters, webinars, printed material, and much more.
Keep your information brief, in short 1 sentence summaries. Bullet points and short sentences work best as you will want this information easily accessible.
Everything you have reported in your guidelines is accepted as your brand. AND, since your brand is considered HUMAN, meaning it’s got personality, you’ll want to periodically update your data and that means, updating your guidelines.
Need help in finding your target audience?
We get it, gathering audience data isn’t easy. While you possess the passion and vision for your business and its services and offers, would you consider partnering with the expertise required to accurately and effectively identify and engage your target audience?
Doing it all on your own might be exhausting and complicated. If you’re thinking your time is better spent elsewhere on your business, then partnering with us could be to your advantage.
As brand strategists, we are equipped with 20+ years branding and marketing experience, resources/tools, and methodologies that dive deep into brand strategy (target audience included). We work alongside you focusing on gathering this vital research while you’re working on the parts of the business that demand your attention in moving it forward. Together we uncover the findings as we give all that data to you in the guidelines we mention above.
To get started with the process, we welcome a conversation with you. Please fill out the form on our contact us page to schedule an appointment.
Nicole Andrew is a 20 year brand designer, Level-C certified brand strategist, educator, and co-owner of 28Lions, a branding & marketing agency that helps service-based entrepreneurs turn their expertise into powerful brands.