If you want to build strong customer relationships, you need to know what makes your audience tick. While the first instinct for small business owners is often to reach as broad a market as possible, finding your target audience is often a better approach. Honing in on your target audience helps you make smart decisions on how to approach all aspects of your business, from marketing to product design.
Benefits of Having a Target Audience
Even if your product doesn’t fill a specific niche, there’s probably a specific type of customer who uses your product or service. When you form a profile of your typical customer, you can do a better job creating marketing campaigns that really capture the viewer’s attention and get them interested in what you’re selling. Additionally, you can cater your products or services directly to these customers, increasing your chances of standing out from the competition.
Another benefit of knowing your target audience is that it becomes easier to form connections with your customer base. Instead of potential customers and clients having to seek you out, you already exist in their world. Your goal should be to establish your brand as an authority in your field. That way, your company becomes the go-to resource for people who are already interested in what you’re doing, as well as those who are new.
For example, if you sell exercise apparel, it’d be a good idea to learn about various online forums and social media pages where the fitness community interacts, as well as local gyms where people may be interested in what you have to offer. When you know where your target audience hangs out — online and offline — you can establish your company as a member of that community.
Finally, knowing your target audience helps with gaining referrals. Word-of-mouth advertising goes a long way, so it’s important that your audience is able to describe and even sell your business to other people. When you know your target demographic, you’re able to portray your company in a way that makes it easy for like-minded people to spread the word.
How to Identify Your Target Audience
A great way to find your target demographic is to simply form a profile of your typical customer. Try to identify common interests and characteristics that make them unique. Using the fitness apparel example, a typical customer would likely be a young adult who is interested in athletics and goes to the gym on a regular basis.
Another way to find your audience is to analyze your competition. You can see what type of advertisements they use, what types of people comment on their social media pages, and what types of people promote or review their products or services.
Separate Your Audience Into Groups
You may want to break down your target audience into two categories: primary and secondary audiences. Your primary audience is the people who are most likely to spend money on your company’s product or service. Using the aforementioned example, your primary audience would be gym regulars. Your secondary audience is the people who may be interested in your offerings, but are less likely to buy, such as a person who is thinking about getting a gym membership. Both audiences offer sales potential, but you may want to take a targeted marketing approach for each unique demographic.
Besides categorizing your audience as primary or secondary buyers, you can try a market segmentation approach. Market segmentation is a fancy term that simply means dividing your audience into categories, such as location, income, and education level, as well as more intangible factors, including shopping habits, values, beliefs, and lifestyle. After all, selling to just one market can be difficult, especially if your product doesn’t fulfill a very specific niche. Keep narrowing down each audience into smaller groups so you can hit the mark for each one individually.