As you may have noticed, it’s been getting harder and harder to capture the attention of an online audience. Thanks to social media, on-demand streaming platforms and the thousands of ads we see on a daily basis, our attention spans have gotten progressively shorter.
At this point, you may already be wondering how you can rise above the noise. Do you have to shout louder than everyone else? Do you need a prettier, or flashier website? To you need to be on social media 24/7?
As it turns out, it’s (fortunately) none of the above!
The secret to standing out is to a segment of the population that will naturally connect with you, and focus on fulfilling the needs of this specific audience.
Let me show you how to define your target audience so you can focus on creating powerful, authentic connections that will truly transform your business!
what exactly is a target audience?
The term target audience may seem confusing at first, but it’s a crucial part of business development. Knowing who you want to engage or sell to is a cornerstone of the foundation upon which you are building your business.
A target audience is the thinnest slice of the market that you can focus on. It’s the focal point of your marketing decisions. By defining your audience, you’ll find it much easier to clarify your business decisions and make sure that your efforts are tailor-made to find your ideal customers and draw them in.
A target audience is the ideal customer or customer avatar that you have in mind when you are creating and selling. They are the image in your head when you imagine the perfect person or scenario for your product or service.
how to create your ideal customer avatar
Creating an avatar sounds complicated, but it’s actually pretty simple when you take the time to ask yourself specific questions about your target audience:
- Are they a man or a woman?
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What do they do for a living?
- How do they spend their time?
- What is the need that you provide a solution for?
Here’s an example of an avatar created for a podcast for entrepreneurs:
Bob is a 31 year-old male who commutes 40 minutes to work, five days a week. He is bored with his commute and his current work assignment. He wants to start his own business but doesn’t know where to begin. He wants to be inspired by other men and women who have taken the risk to open their own businesses and are making it happen.
In this scenario, Bob is the target audience. By knowing exactly who the podcast is designed for, the podcast host and website owner can create an experience specifically for Bob. The colors of the website, the content of the interviews, the coaching, the resources, and the sales that come from them can all be designed for Bob.
Having an avatar doesn’t mean you won’t sell to a wider variety of customers; you absolutely will! Having an avatar means you are clear and defined about who your ideal customer is for this product or service at this time. This allows you to create marketing materials that are on target for your client.
The key to having a successful sales experience is knowing exactly who is buying your product. Even today, understanding and defining your target audience is one of the top marketing strategies you can use to save valuable time and money in developing your business.
the importance of understanding your target audience
Creating content and bringing potential customers into your funnel is key to beginning the sales conversion. Having a clearly defined target audience is a crucial step towards making that sale. It’s important to have a firm understanding of who your target audience is so you can create content that speaks directly to them.
For example, if your business is focused on selling designer clothing for toddlers and children, it’s crucial to know who is buying the clothes. You’re not selling to toddlers and children. You’re selling to parents, grandparents, and other adults who hold a high value for designer clothing.
Peeling this back further, we see hidden elements that must also be considered when understanding this market. So, if we dig a little deeper, we can understand more about the ideal customer for designer clothing for toddlers and children.
- Middle to upper income
- Places high value on their kids’ appearance
- Likely shops online or at designer boutiques
- Has discerning tastes
- Has high potential for repeat purchases
What does knowing this information do for you as a business owner? This valuable information helps you make crucial decisions about where to advertise and how to engage the audience. Instead of casting a wide net and hoping to find a few discerning parents or grandmothers ready to buy, you can apply targeted and focused ads and content directly to men and women who are looking for your designer clothing.
The sale is made effortlessly because there are no roadblocks to the purchase. By finding and plugging into the market who wants you, you are right there, ready to solve a problem that they had and are willing to pay for: finding quality clothing for their tastes and budget.
Knowing who you are selling to is especially important for your marketing decisions. It comes in handy when creating Facebook ads, posting to Pinterest, or using SEO for blog posts or online content. Being able to narrow down your market creates a bigger pool of potential customers. This saves your money and gives you a bigger ROI for your marketing investment.
Now, I know you probably read the last sentence several times and thought: “Uhhh, how exactly does targeting a narrower slice of the market create a bigger pool of potential customers? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”
My friend, it’ll all make sense in a minute.
the minivan: a short case study to understand the power of a target audience
Imagine you’re in charge of marketing the all-new minivan from your favorite brand. If you’re unaware of your target audience, how are you going to create and pitch your ad?
To appeal to the widest audience possible, you might showcase the minivan, spin it around a few times and list its awesome specs, and end the commercial with a general call to action along the lines of “Buy the All-New Minivan Today!”
How many sales do you think you’ll make with this commercial?
If instead, you define your target market, you may focus on marketing to busy moms of middle-class families who have children in various clubs and sports, and who need a roomy vehicle to accommodate all their family activities.
You’re going to showcase a smiling mom getting her children into the minivan with their friends, everyone geared up in their soccer uniforms, and fast-forward to watch as one of the children scores the winning goal and everyone celebrates.
While this commercial will absolutely not appeal to fans of sports cars and SUVs, you don’t need it to. These people will never buy a minivan from you. However, suburban moms with children who need a roomy and reliable vehicle for their children and their friends, their pets and sports equipment will easily relate to the woman in the commercial, leading to a large pool of potential customers.
With this scenario in mind, think about your marketing ROI (return on investment). You have $100 to spend on ads for the minivan. Without a targeted audience, you’ll might decide to spend $10 on 10 different channels to try and get “as many people as possible”. You run your commercial on a news network, a cooking channel, a natural history channel, and so on.
With a defined audience, you’ll spend your entire budget on the ONE channel that your audience is most likely to watch. As a result, your ad is only seen by people who are likely to buy from you, and who can relate to your ad. Can you practically smell the dollars coming your way?
Being able to sell your products or services is easier when you know who your target audience is, where they live, what they need and what problems they’re facing. Once you know these crucial pieces, you can make valuable marketing decisions, speak directly to your best customer base, and rest assured your business will thrive!
how to find information about your target audience
Finding your target audience and creating an ideal customer avatar to focus on is the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. As we saw in the last section, knowing who you are selling to and what they’re like is the key to effortless sales.
An avatar is a specific person who perfectly embodies the elements of your ideal customer. If you were to create a poster of your ideal customer, the avatar would be front and center. They are likely the inspiration for your business when you created it.
In this day and age with Facebook ads, SEO and other algorithms, it’s possible to hone in on the market in such a way that you’re able to fine tune your advertising so specifically that you’re sure to get a return on what you’ve invested in your messaging.
But how do you do that? How do you hone in on the market so precisely?
First, spend time thinking about your product or service:
- What does your product do?
- What problem does it solve?
- Who is it designed for?
- Who makes the decision to purchase your product or service?
Next, think about who benefits the most from your product or service:
- What problems do they face?
- What are their frustrations?
- What solutions are they looking for?
- What words and language do they use?
- Where do they shop?
- How do they identify themselves in the marketplace?
- What do they do for a living?
- What rationale do they use to make decisions?
- How do they spend their free time?
Asking yourself these types of questions helps define your target audience. The defining factors can be translated to the categories available to you for sponsored ads, or the language you use when you write content. The more you know, the better you can speak directly to your audience.
Once you have asked yourself these questions, test out your theories. Social media is an excellent way to screen your tribe to see who is a potential customer. Ask questions, create scenarios and see who bites!
Use tools like:
- Surveys: Post a survey on social media to test a theory or ask a question in Facebook groups.
- Contests: Gather data by holding a contest that collects information about your target audience’s habits.
- Split Testing: Create several graphics or titles for your products or services and test which ones get more traction.
- Forced Choice Testing: Create a dynamic where one of two choices must be made and see which gets the most attention.
- Observation: Pay close attention to your surroundings and see what behaviors your customers have in common.
These tools help you define your target audience and your avatar in no time at all, speeding up the process for marketing and sales.
marketing directly to your target audience
Once you have created and defined your target audience, it is time to engage them, establish a relationship, and give them useful information that sells. This is where the real magic of defining your target audience happens.
The more you know about your audience, the better you can speak to them in their voice with their preferred language and examples. The higher your credibility, the easier it is to convert them into paying customers who come back again and again for more.
Here are a few ideas to get you started on marketing directly to your target audience!
create content specifically crafted for your audience
If your audience is made up of dog owners who love Poodles, it’s easier to create meaningful content that meets their specific breed’s needs, solving problems that Poodle dogs face.
You can offer products that are unique to Poodles and their owners. This saves both you and the customer time and money. Because your net isn’t cast wide and far hoping to find a Poodle owner in a sea of dog breeds, they can trust that you have done your homework about the needs of their Poodle, effectively getting them to trust your product and buy it.
use your knowledge to speak directly to them in sales copy
Online marketing is highly effective and converts if you have clear copy that speaks directly to your market. Knowing your market and creating a tribe that knows, likes, and trusts you will increase your ability to write copy that they connect with and accept.
When there’s alignment between your voice and their ear, the conversation is effortless. You aren’t in the mode of convincing them to buy; you’re simply affirming their desire to do business with you.
Use your knowledge about the subject to speak directly to the customer in your sales copy, opt-in pages, emails, calls to action and other promotional material.
tap into your knowledge about people to write highly converting emails and social media
We all have friends from different walks of life. We speak to our family in one voice and our business associates in another. When we get together with our personal interest groups, we likely use phrases and energy we wouldn’t in any other venue.
When you know someone, you know what will draw them in because you speak the same language given the context.
Knowing your audience well makes it easy to speak to them in the language they use and understand. This makes writing emails personal and authentic. Social media posts are effortless and get the clicks and engagement that create momentum and spread the word about your business.
Your goal is to know your audience well enough to reach out confidently and engage them in a way that showcases your expertise and enthusiasm for them and your business.
take your audience on a journey
Make sure to regularly review your products and services to make sure they’re still in line with the needs of your target audience. The more your offers align with your audience’s natural evolution, the more loyal they’ll become to your brand as you grow with them.
Think about your customer’s journey – where are they now? What information or service will they eventually need? Will you be the one who can provide it for them? Once you get really clear on your target audience, you can blow their minds by having the solution they need as they progress!
time to take action!
Now that you know all about your target audience and why you should take the time to truly get to know them, here’s a useful exercise for you.
Sign up below to download your own copy of the “Marketing to Your Target Audience Worksheet”.
Print and fill out the worksheet with everything you know about your ideal customer. Make sure you eventually get everything filled out; this is the key to truly understanding your ideal customer!
This worksheet goes beyond most other “customer avatar” worksheets you’ll find online. Not only will you define your ideal customer avatar, you’re going to dig much deeper and relate your offer to their needs.
Doing so will give you a huge advantage over other entrepreneurs who didn’t take the time to tie their avatar to their marketing plan!
Get excited about finding your ideal customer and providing them with what they need!