Find your audience
Do you really know your audience?
When starting a new campaign or creating a brand personality, one of the first questions we ask is “who is the audience?” Clients are often unsure or overly broad in their answers (everyone is not a valid answer). During the brand research phase, we often find that the real target market is quite different from who the client might think they should be targeting.
It’s so important to answer this question before any marketing or brand work begins because it’s impossible to create content without knowing who will be viewing that content. Defining an audience will help focus on creating a brand image and content that connects with the right people and fulfills your objective (increased traffic, sales, visibility, etc). Effectively communicating to a tightly defined group is much more effective than trying to reach everyone and getting lost in the shuffle of marketing noise.
There are a few key questions to ask of your company:
1. Who are our current customers?
While everyone wants new business, we can’t forget about an existing, solid client base. These customers may need segmented based on location, products consumed, or budget, but should be the baseline for an existing company. Leveraging employee knowledge as well as customer surveying can be great sources of information.
2. What problem or need does my company solve?
Determine who it is that has this problem or need, and you’ve found your market. Any content created should reflect this purpose and be relevant to the great service or product you have. When communicating with your customers, talk about what your audience cares about and they’ll want to listen.
3. Who are we dying to reach?
Are there particular business or consumers that you want to target for strategic or financial reasons? Is there a crucial customer segment that you’re not reaching today, but would benefit from your product/service? If so, be specific about who that is.
4. What is our social media telling us?
If you’re on social media, you already have a trove of information about your followers, and probably some kind of feedback from them. Facebook Insights is a great (free) tool that helps you understand just who those people are. You can also look at your competitors’ accounts to see who their clients are and how they are interacting.
It can be really useful to create personas for your newly identified audience to help understand who they are and how to reach them. These usually include demographic data, behavior, motivations, and objectives/goals.
Putting a name on your client base (Entrepreneur Erica, Big Business Ben, Retired Rhonda) makes it easier to identify with those targets and understand what they want to see and hear. Entrepreneur Erica is on LinkedIn and Facebook, and listens to podcasts aimed at business owners. Big Business Ben is active on Twitter and reads industry blogs to keep updated. Retired Rhonda keeps up with friends on Facebook and listens to talk radio.
These three are very different consumers, but equally important potential clients. Each one’s online habits provide great opportunities for advertising and reach. Thinking about each separately while targeting the content and delivery method to best reach your buyer personas will have huge dividends in customer conversion.
Make sure the time and money you’re spending on marketing is tailored to your exact audience, so you can get the most out of your marketing efforts. Now that you've identified who your target market is, go get 'em!