We often find when we begin talking with a brand that they are hesitant to define their target audience too closely. Many small businesses have the attitude that casting their net far and wide and reaching as many customers as possible will have better results than niching down.
It makes sense in theory, but in practice, it's a totally different story!
Finding your audience is the key to making your business stand out in a crowded market. When you know your target market, you're able to form deeper connections with the right customer base - leading to more brand awareness and sales!
It will save you time too
For starters, we’re all too busy these days to be speaking to everyone. Seriously, who has time for that? It doesn’t make sense to be wasting valuable time and energy on creating content that isn’t targeting potential customers. Targeting your audience will help you use your time more efficiently, because you know you're only creating the material that works.
When you know who your audience is, you can understand their needs and wants, allowing you to better serve a community that can use what your business is offering.
Start with your audience vision board
A useful starting point for nailing your target market is considering who you actually want to be reaching, and letting that inform your strategy. Evaluate your business and your products and narrow your search. Who is most likely to be your customers? What need is your product fulfilling?
Your next step is to note these people down and embed them in your goals. Consider a wide range of demographics - gender, age, interests, religion, ethnicity - be as specific as you can!
It might also be worth evaluating your competitors and their customer base. To find your audience, you will need to differentiate yourself. Perhaps there is a need they are failing to meet, or a niche they aren’t targeting as specifically. Find these gaps and you’ll be on the money!
The cold hard statistics
When trying to discern your target market, it’s crucial to know who you are already reaching. Analytics from email data, social media insights, website traffic, and actual customers provide a wealth of information on your current landscape.
This can be particularly helpful in working out whether you’re making contact with the right people. For example, if you’re a bikini brand and the statistics say that your customer base is largely 40-year-old men, you may want to think about switching up your strategy! Tailoring your content to people who need your business is essential to making the most of your social media dollar.
Connect with the right people
Once you’ve decided on an audience, it’s time to figure out how to connect with them. Start making content they will truly find useful - whether it’s a handy pep talk, poignant life advice, practical hot tips, or just some human connection.
To do this, consider the demographic you’ve chosen and delve more deeply into their (collective) personality. Write down what you think are their pleasure and pain points, hopes and dreams, wants and needs. These goals will inform the content you are producing.
Also - you can ask them yourself! Use polls, comment boxes, emails, and generally encourage your followers to comment on what things they’d like to see from you. It’s always good to create interaction with your audience by calling for a response and using a personal, conversational tone.
Refine, refine, refine
It’s important to be flexible here - and be kind to yourself! Don’t be surprised if you are wrong about your audience and the content which suits them at first. It never hurts to adapt part (or all!) of your strategy to better suit their needs. In fact, we recommend you keep observing and testing how your posts are performing and continue adjusting your audience in response.
WORDS | Hannah Steele, TLSE