How to Identify Target Audience in Two Simple Steps

Are your sales down? Website conversions low? Are you simply struggling to get people through your business door? Perhaps your brand is trying to be everything to everybody. Maybe your messages aren’t resonating. Or maybe the customer journey on your website is too complex. It may be time for a refresher course in how to identify your target audience to alleviate these challenges.

Here at Philosophy, we spend A LOT of time thinking and talking about our client’s target audience. Why? Because if we don’t define our client’s target audience and where they are in the buying cycle, we can’t provide the best marketing and public relations recommendations to our clients. AND the same goes for you fellow business owners. You may think you know who your target audience is, but methods used to evaluate those groups of people have evolved over time. There are a number of new ways to identify your target market beyond just asking questions about who you think it should be.

What is a target audience?

Before we discuss methods, lets all get on the same page with who exactly we’re talking about. A target audience is a group of individuals that have a need for the kinds of products and services you have to offer. Perhaps they’ve purchased something similar from a competitor or have interests in the kinds of issues your company helps address. Whatever the characteristics, defining a target audience will help your business focus on a specific group of people versus trying to shout to your message to everyone in the stadium. You’ll be much more effective in communicating to a small, more engaged group of people already seeking your business products/services.

How to define your target audience: Remember to R&R

And we’re not talking about rest and relaxation (though that’s important, too)…  

Reflect: Think about who currently buys from you. What profession are they in? How old are they? What are their pain points? Where do they live? How did they hear about you? Reflecting on your current customer base will help you get a broad sense of your “typical” audience group using real data and experiences that you have right in your back pocket.

In addition to doing this research, you could host a formal focus group or conduct a customer survey to understand current customer behavior and why they chose your company over a competitor. These efforts will also tell you how to stay connected to your target audience.

Research: If you have Google Analytics set up on your website, (and if you don’t learn how to set up Google Analytics here), you’ll be able to see where your customers are coming to your site from (referrers), the kinds of keyword queries they’re searching for to find you and much, much more.

For example, if 50 percent of your traffic comes from your blog, perhaps you dive deeper and determine ways to provide informative downloads, e-books and how-go guides to capture lead information.

Knowing this valuable information will allow you to tailor your marketing and PR efforts to reach audiences where they are and eventually encourage them to share your product or service with their friends, family and on social media. These are your evangelists.

To determine your target audience:
Download Target Assessment Worksheet

Now that I’ve targeted my audience, what next?

Now that you have a deeper understanding of your target audience, you can leverage your customer data even more by creating content that speaks to your customer pain points.  Create how to guides, blog posts, e-books and best practice guides centered around the things that your customers care about the most. One of the biggest mistakes we see clients make is crafting their content to be all about them and their brand. When in reality, a majority of potential customers search for solutions to pain points first, before searching directly for brands themselves.

So, the more information you know about a customer, the more relevant information you’ll be able to provide.

A customer wants a product or service that is a good fit for them as much as you want a customer that will appreciate your product or service. Remember, the phrase “everyone is my customer” is not always the case, so it’s best to do the research upfront so you can spend your marketing dollars and time wisely.

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