In this piece, we’ll help you define your target audience so that you can kick start your next campaign armed with the right data.
What are you selling?
Before you start thinking about your target audience, jot down all of your services or products and their benefits. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a clear vision of your business offering. Use this opportunity to think about who you want to be targeting and what type of people would be interested in your products/ services.
Who are your customers?
The first step in defining your target audience is to look at those that have already bought from your business in the past. What information do you have about them? Collating this data will help you identify patterns and make it easier for you to personalise your marketing and target other prospects that fit the same mould.
If you’re B2C (business to consumer), you’ll want to know the following demographic factors:
- Income level
- Education level
- Marital or family status
- Ethnic background
If you’re B2B (business to business), you’ll want the same information, with the addition of:
- Buying Power
- Number of employees
If you can identify psychographics from the information you have about your clients, you should also make a note of these, as they’ll help build audience personas later on:
- Interests or hobbies
If you don’t already have this data on file, you’ll need to collect it using a survey. We recommend not using this as an opportunity to gain opt-in from your clients; instead, explain what you’re doing and why you want their data. If you can instil trust and build relationships, you’ll be more likely to receive large samples of accurate information.
Look at your social media analytics
Social media is an excellent place to gather data about your customers or those who are engaging with you online, even if they’re not buying from you yet. You can get this information from any of the social channels your business is currently using. All you need to do is access the insights/analytics section.
These reports will help you identify trends in your audience’s demographics. We recommend downloading them all and cross-referencing the data you collect from your customers to help paint a better picture of who your target market is currently and who it should be.
What are your competitors doing?
Now that you’ve got the big picture of your target audience. What are your competitors doing? Where better to get ideas than from those vying for the same customer. While you won’t see the exact demographics that your competitor is going after, this research will give you an idea of how they’re targeting similar audiences to help you refine your strategy.
To begin this process, ask yourself the following questions about each of your competitors:
- What products or services do they offer?
- Are they more profitable?
- Are they growing?
- Are they making redundancies?
- Are they recruiting?
- Do they have multiple offices?
- What marketing strategies have they adopted?
- How are they using social media?
- Register for their newsletter – what comms are they sending out, and how often?
- Are they using PPC?
- What positive or negative reviews are they getting online?
- How do they weigh in against your brand?
Once you’ve thought about this and taken a good look at their online presence, think about:
- Who are they following on social media?
- How often do they post?
- What social channels do they use?
- What kind of engagement are they getting?
- What keywords are they going after?
- What kind of content are they posting on socials and their blog?
Armed with this information, you’ll have a better understanding of your competitors and how they think. Use this to rate each one from a low to high threat, and then pick five of your biggest or closest competitors to perform a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). A detailed SWOT analysis will help you identify opportunities to fill the gap in the market with content or promotions that the other businesses in your industry aren’t yet doing.
Create your audience personas
The next step in defining your audience is to create a series of personas to help you better understand your prospect’s needs and wants. Audience personas are fictional character profiles for each customer you might expect to engage with your business based on the above research. This method helps marketers create informed strategies. To create these, you’ll want to include the following:
- Your market (is this B2B or B2C?)
- A name and the type of buyer (John – potential SUV buyer)
- What the person wants from your business (i.e. looking for a new car)
- Their demographics (age, family, hobbies, location, values, what they’re influenced by)
- Their needs/wants (looking for a family car that is economical and eco-friendly)
With this information outlined, you can then think about how you might target this buyer and which marketing channels to use (your competitor analysis will help here). You’ll also want to consider the copy and imagery you use and how you can align this with their demographic.
For example, John is a 45-year-old business owner with a family of five. He lives with his wife, children and their labrador. John enjoys vacationing in the UK and regularly goes golf with his colleagues and family friends. John cares about the environment and is often thinking about how we can reduce his carbon footprint.
Now imagine you’re an SUV company looking to target John. You might use Facebook to serve John a video advert that covers the benefits of your car, including dog-friendly access, an extendable boot, with an eco-friendly message highlighting why your car is both economical and efficient.
Defining your actions
Once you’ve done your research and created your audience personas, you need to think about how this will translate to your marketing strategy and, more importantly, your website. Think about how your audience will engage with your business and what actions you want them to take.
For example, John is looking for an SUV, and he values the environment and his family. When he lands on your website, what do you want him to do? Do you want him to request a callback, book a test drive, or download a product manual? Each audience persona will have a different journey when you’re creating them. Think about how your website will serve them and what you need to do to get them to complete your actions.
Hopefully, you now have a solid understanding of who your target audience is and what actions you want them to take. Supply this information to your marketing team or agency, who will be able to help you transform your user experience to start benefiting from increased leads and better-qualified conversions.
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