The Why and How of Identifying Your Audience-Featured.jpg

The Why and How of Identifying Your Audience

Digital marketing is multi-faceted. It can also be complicated, time-consuming and difficult to do effectively. However, there are plenty of simple, basic concepts that can help you get it right.

One of the first rules every marketer should learn is that knowing your audience is key for creating an effective campaign.

Why identifying your target audience is critical to success

Want your marketing to be as effective as possible? Here’s why knowing your audience is vital to your success:


You can’t speak to everyone

Meredith Hill
once said, “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.” And, Seth Godin echoed the same sentiment when he said, “Everyone is not your customer.”

If there’s one thing we can take away from this last presidential election it’s that we don’t all see the world the same way. The same message can be interpreted in many different ways depending on who is receiving it.

No matter what your message is, it’s never going to be enough to win over everyone. And, if you try, you’re only going to end up wasting your own time and money.

Knowing who your audience is will help you determine what the right message is, as well as the best way to get it across.


Understand your audience’s pain points — and how to solve them

Every service or product is designed to meet a need and/or solve a problem.

No one calls a plumber out of nowhere. They call a plumber when they’ve got a clog or are remodeling their bathroom.

Effectively marketing your products or services is about understanding what problems you can help solve, and in order to do that, you need to understand the problems your audience is facing.

We all see the world through our own lens. What might be a huge problem for one person isn’t even a blip on the radar for someone else.

Understanding your audience is knowing what their specific pain points are and how to solve them.

When you truly understand the obstacles your audience needs to overcome, you can fine-tune your offerings to provide better solutions.


Know where — and how — to connect

Not only do different audiences connect with different messages and have different pain points, but they also spend time in different places.

One easy way to see the clear divide between groups of people is to look at age:

Pew Research has found that 68% of 50-64 year-olds use Facebook, but only about 23% use Instagram. On the other hand, 67% of 18-29 year-olds use Instagram.

A big part of getting to know your target audience is learning where they spend the majority of their time online.

When you get your message out, you need to know that you’ve done so in the right places. But it’s also important that you use the right language to get your message across.

To truly know your audience is to truly understand how they talk and which words they connect with. The best way to show them that you understand and care about their concerns is to talk about those concerns like they do.

How to identify your target audience

It’s easy to see why it’s so important to really get to know your audience. Here’s how:


Look at your existing customers

The best place to start getting to know your ideal target audience is by taking a good look at your existing customers.

Start by creating a profile for each of your very best customers, and listing out their characteristics (having the right CRM will make this a lot easier). Then, start looking for trends.

Are your best customers mostly male or female? Are the majority of your best customers in a specific age group? Where do they live (and does it matter)? Do they own or rent their homes?

If you’re active on social media, it’s a great place to start learning about your customers. On Facebook alone, you can learn about customers’ age, location, work history, education, interests and more.

Not all of your customers will be on social media, and you might not know a lot about your customers. That’s OK. It’s never too late to start getting to know them, and one easy way to do so is by simply asking them!

Sending out a customer survey is an easy, effective way to show your customers that you care, and to get to know who they are and what they need.


Figure out who benefits the most

Often, marketers make the mistake of focusing too much on features when, what they should be focusing on, are benefits.

When you’re identifying your target audience, an important step is to understand the benefits you’re offering, as well as who gets the most out of those benefits.

Let’s say you have a carpet cleaning business. Stain removal is a big benefit of choosing a professional carpet cleaning service. Your task is to determine who most likely would benefit from stain removal.

A couple of obvious examples of the types of people who might benefit the most from stain removal include parents and pet owners. Some other potential beneficiaries could include apartment complexes and property rental companies, as well as college kids and young adults who may be worried about getting their security deposit back.

When you know who benefits the most from your service, you can get your message to the people who are already looking for it!


Pay attention to feedback

Figuring out who your customers are and what matters to them can sometimes feel like investigating some great mystery that has been unsolved for decades. But, it really doesn’t have to be that complicated.

The fact is that many of your customers will come out and tell you what they care about when they write reviews for you or give you feedback. It’s up to you to take that feedback seriously, pay attention to it and learn from it.

Feedback, even if it seems petty, can give you a lot of good insight into products or services your customers are thinking about. It can also give you clues as to what you can do better to meet their needs.

Not getting a lot of feedback? All you have to do is ask. According to a BrightLocal survey, 76% of consumers who are asked to write a review do so.

One great way to do this is by sending a follow-up email after a purchase has been made or service has been rendered. This way, you automatically request feedback after every interaction.


Look at your competition’s customers

When you already have existing customers, you have a big headstart because you have existing data to study. But, when you’re just starting out, you don’t have the benefit of a customer base to get to know better.

When you’re starting a new business (or when you’re looking to expand your existing business), it can help to look at your competitors’ customer base.

You may not offer the exact same products or services as your competitors, but even still, you can get a good idea of who benefits from them and what their needs are.

You may even be able to convert some of their customers to your business if you are able to identify the needs your competitors aren’t currently meeting.

There’s a lot that goes into digital marketing, even for small businesses. But, that doesn’t mean that it has to be complicated. Simple ideas, like getting to know who your target audience is, can make a world of difference.

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Originally published on 11/16/20