Getting the most out of your marketing budget is important for any business, regardless of industry or size. Whether you have a few hundred dollars to spend on your marketing or millions, no one wants to waste money.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re effectively using your marketing budget is to clearly define your target audience and market to that audience. Your target audience consists of the people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer. Targeting your message to your ideal audience will help maximize your return on investment.
Determining your target audience will inform all elements of your marketing strategy. With a specific audience in mind, you will be able to craft content and ads that resonate and drive people to take action. The goal here is to find your niche and dominate it!
Keep reading to find some steps you can take to define the target audience for your business.
Start With the Benefits of Your Business
Think about the products or services you provide for your customers. Go beyond the basic features of your business and dig into the benefits. In other words, what outcomes do you provide, or problems do you solve?
After you’ve listed the benefits you provide, think about the types of people each of those benefits could help the most. It can be as broad as demographic categories like gender, age group, profession, or geographic location, or as narrow as an individual. These people will be the foundation of your target audience.
For example, a feature of an HVAC service would be they are on call 24/7. The benefit to their customers is that they can continue to live comfortably with minimal disruption no matter what time of day or night an issue occurs. Broad categories of people who will appreciate this benefit are homeowners or business owners in your service area.
Analyze Your Current Customers
You can learn a lot from looking at the customers you already have. Examine the characteristics of people who have previously purchased from you and look for similarities. You can organize them by demographics such as:
- Life Stage
If you’re not already collecting this type of information from your customer base, now is a great time to start. There are a few ways for you to accomplish this. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a helpful tool in data collection and organization. You can also use Google Analytics to track demographics and other information about your website visitors.
Need help getting started with a CRM or Google Analytics? Our experts at The Time Media Company can help you harness the power of your first-party data.
Surveys are another valuable way to gather information from your current customers. Send out a survey and ask them to rate their experience and share feedback to help you understand your business from your customers’ perspective. If you have a physical storefront you can also ask customers to complete a survey during checkout or after their purchase is complete.
Use Social Media for Research
The people who are already following your business pages on social media and engaging with your content are a great source of information about who your target audience should be. Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have in-depth demographics as well as psychographics about their users such as:
- Education Level
- Marital Status
You can also use social listening in your audience research. There are tools available to help you monitor what is being said about your business specifically, which can be very beneficial. Learning what people are saying about your industry, in general, can also be constructive.
To do this you can check out keywords and hashtags applicable to your industry. You can also join relevant community forums on sites like Reddit and Quora, or groups on Facebook. These channels allow users to ask questions, share experiences, and respond to each other, which can give insight into the types of problems the public is facing. The goal here isn’t to sell to these groups, but to immerse yourself in the community your audience is in to better understand the world through their eyes.
Look At Your Competitors
Keeping a close eye on your competition can be particularly fruitful when trying to define your own target audience. Start by reviewing their website and take note of the imagery and language used to understand who they are trying to appeal to most. Next, check out their social channels to see what content they are posting and who is engaging with it. Read customer reviews on different review sites like Google and Yelp to get an idea of what is being said about them (and your own business while you’re at it!).
As you comb through their online presence you want to not only look for information about their customers and audience, but also areas of opportunity. Perhaps you can fill in a gap they have left open, whether that’s an audience they haven’t targeted or a tactic they aren’t utilizing. Thinking outside of the box can help you find your niche audience.
You May Have Multiple Audiences
While gathering information about your target audience you may find there are multiple audiences available. Using the steps listed above try to narrow it down to three or four segments. From there you can design marketing campaigns that target each segment separately. You may find that you have more success with one audience over another or one campaign over another. Experimentation is key.
Identifying your target audience before designing a marketing campaign can mean the difference between mediocre and stellar results. Whether you’re just getting started with your business plan or you’ve been at this for a while, The Times Media Company can help get you to the next level. We have the know-how and experience to help you define the best audience for your business. We also have the tools to help you gather, organize, and utilize your customer data. Message us today to learn more about what we can do for you and your business!