Defining your target audience is one of the marketer’s most important tasks. It’s the foundation of all elements of your marketing strategy, from how you develop and name your products or services right through to the marketing channels you use to promote them.
Here’s a hint before we dig in: Your target audience is not “everyone”. Your task in defining your perfect group is to identify and understand your niche so you can dominate it.
An audience persona
First step in this process is creating an audience persona, a fictional character (based on real data and market research) who is an ideal representative of your target audience. Developing an audience persona is a method marketers and content creators use to help them implement solid marketing strategies and create better content.
By presenting the research they’ve conducted on their audience in a way that brings that group to life, creators and marketers are better able to understand who they’re targeting. The idea is that when you can identify a real person to create content (or services and products) for, you’ll do a much better job of meeting their needs.
These semi-fictionalized profiles can be built from your target audience analysis also, but this kind of analysis was a time-consuming process that required you to hire an agency to help you complete it if you wanted to be sure of the information you were getting would be useful and properly sourced.
Audience analysis is the research of demographics, language, location, preferences, interests, and other metrics within a group. Thankfully the age of digital and social media analytics has also made gathering the information you need more efficiently. What would have taken months of work before can be completed in a few clicks- whether its data on your audiences or if you’re keeping track of your competitors’ performance.
People readily share massive amounts of information about who they are online, allowing you to know what they talk about when they are discussing your brand or product. While monitoring what is being said about a specific product of yours, you can discover what your audience thinks about the entire genre of that product. This can help brands refine their messaging and help push potential customers to become actual customers in the most effective way possible. It is one more level of understanding your audience, how they think, what they care about and what they want.
Research before reach
While it’s essential to reach as many people as possible, and it often seems like focusing only on specific segments of the population is limiting, you need to be “direct”. Directly reaching those interested in your product or service will ultimately put more money in your pocket. Therefore, before you decide what your message is and how to deliver it, you need to understand your target audience completely.
The more you work on your target audience insights, the easier it will be to customize your campaigns. The information you have will even lead you to the right channels and strategies for sharing your message. For instance, a highly visual audience may respond well to an Instagram campaign. On the other hand, an older audience may prefer email and Facebook. Tracking your campaigns will allow you to build on what you know about your target audience as time goes on.
As a brand, you want to be reaching the right people. So, be patient and remember – first research than reach.