The most important element of marketing is to make sure you’re talking to the right people. The only way to know is to develop your target audience and understand who they are, where they are, and how they want to be communicated to. So let’s work through the development of your target audiences as part of your overall marketing strategy.
First off, you have more than one target audience
I’m yet to find a business, or even a product, that has ONE target audience. Of course there are business’ that target a certain type of person and persona as their main audience. But there is always a secondary audience that will affect the purchase of your product or service, if not buy it themselves.
It’s important to develop your target audience with this in mind.
For example, if you own a mountain bike store and assume that there is only one type of person that rides mountain bikes, you are sadly mistaken. I don’t mean to sound condescending, but you have elite downhills, weekend warriors, bike path commuters, and so on. So developing the details for each of those audiences and how they spend their time online and offline will identify new messaging and targeting tactics for each and most definitely generate more leads and sales.
Identifying Potential target audiences
The way I like to get the process started is by identifying current and potential customers. Pretty simple.
At this point we’re really just identifying potential audiences, we’ll define them later in the process. Here’s some tricks to identify your current and potential audiences as we work through the process and develop your target audience.
Current Customer Research
For current customers don’t just assume you know who they are. Do your research. Work through any customer records and details that you already have. Look for trends in demographics.
You will most probably find that you have multiple target audiences already. So work through them and start to group them in groups that makes sense. More on grouping later.
Don’t just look at customer records. Get in front of your customers and talk to them!
You can bring them into your shop, or communicate with them through email, or even over a Skype call. But make sure you select several of your current customers that on the surface are from different groupings. Make a diverse list, is what I’m trying to say.
When you’re communicating with these customers, don’t get them on the phone and have them answer a list of questions. Surveys suck (to take – not for research – more on that in future posts). So make it more like a conversation where you’re working to identity the following.
- Why did they buy from you?
- How did they find out about you?
- What was their feeling after doing business with you?
- How likely are they to recommend to their friends?
- What do they do for fun?
- Where do they hang out online and offline?
Bottom line is get to know them, and think about how you can define your current customer groups from each customers feedback.
To reiterate – do not ask these questions verbatim. Try to answer these questions through good discussion.
Finding potential customers
At this point you should have already spoken to your current customers, and through those conversations I guarantee you will have identified some addition target audiences to develop.
In the unlikely event that those conversations resulted in nothing new, try these brainstorming exercises:
- Look to your competitors and how their current customers differs from yours, and could you develop a new target audience from that.
- Work to identify if your product or service can be applied in a totally new sector. As in are there people who you know you could help that are not currently customer (an industry side step if you will)
Establish the numbers and marketing viability
Now that you have a list of current and potential target audiences to develop further, you’ll want to understand the numbers and make a decision on the viability of your marketing towards each audience.
What I mean by understand the numbers, is to do some research to identify how many people you can reach in each audience. Of course there are some factors here like marketing budget and tactical reach, and others. But at this point you should have a rough idea on how many people there are in each audience. Even if it’s from a gut feeling. This will help you prioritize your audiences for further development and tactical targeting.
Develop your target audience
Now that we have a rough idea of our target audiences let refine them and get them in our marketing strategy. TO help you with this process I’ve created a Marketing Strategy Template [Free download]. Under the audience section of the template you’ll see the following sections that you can easily fill out.
Step 1. – Give the audience a name
The first step to develop your target audience is to give them a name that will help you quickly identify each audience throughout the marketing strategy and also as you work through the execution of your strategy. You’ll find yourself talking to people using these names, so have fun with it. For example something like “Middle age dudes”, or “female teenyboppers”.
Step 2. – Give the audience a description
Write a brief summary on the audiences demographics to provide a quick overview of who they are. Include things like age range, sex, hobbies, professions, known hobbies, geographic, etc.
For example “Middle age dudes” – 45-55 year old males who shave and typically have white collar jobs in suburban areas, like to watch sports and drink beer!
Step 3. – Identify where they are
What I’m referring to by “where they are”, is where you can reach this audience with your marketing efforts. The more intimate you can be with the location and channel the more chance you have to convert. Through your earlier discussions with your current customers you should have some good Intel on where you can reach each audience.
Step 4. – How to talk to your audience
Developing a way to talk to each audience will help you when developing advertising copy, sales collateral, even the way in which you greet them in store or through email. The more personal you can be towards each audience the more chance you have of developing customers and sales. It’s that simple.
So what you want to do is develop the general tone and speech to use for this audience.
Some things to keep in mind when developing this summary:
- You are not developing copy to place in your marketing design right now, just figuring out the way to talk to this audience from a personal feeling point of view
- Remember your brand’s voice when developing this summary as that should come through regardless of how your audience would prefer to be communicated to (ideally they align)
- This is really to help you understand your target audiences better and come back to them during your marketing if you’re getting stuck on some copy writing for example.
An example for our middle age dudes is:
“Middle age dudes typically have a higher level of patience for communication, but still need the value proposition to be delivered quickly. Talk to them on their level in relation to their perspective of your product or service will go along way”
I know this may sound like good marketing in general but let me give you the teenybopper example:
“Female Teenyboppers have a minute level of patience, wow them will glitz and identity why they can’t live without your product or service. Potentially comparing to friends who already have would work well.”
See how different they can be. I put a lot of emphasis on this piece of the puzzle as you develop your target audience.
Through this process you’ll also want to employ your brands tone. But if you understand your brand it will come naturally as you create these summaries.
Your audience awaits
There you go that’s how to develop your target audience. You’re good to go.
During the process it’s ok to strip away potential audiences as well. Working through the process will help you identify the viability of each audience by virtue of how hard/easy it is to develop the details.
You may find that you have several potential audiences merge together during the process as well. And that’s all good!
Last step is to make sure that you have the marketing desire/time/effort/money to target your established audiences. This is a gut feeling decision more than anything at this stage as we haven’t developed our marketing mix or budget. But there is a certain volume you want to keep to to make it manageable as we execute your strategy.
As I mentioned earlier in the article I’ve developed a Marketing Strategy Template to help you with this process, and you can grab it below.
Good luck developing your audience and feel free to reach out if you have any questions by leaving a comment in the comment section below.
FREE 12 Page Marketing Strategy Template
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