Attracting the right people to your brand is key to your success. In fact you could say its the whole point. The right people get it. And they’re into buying from you. But who are they you wonder, and where are they hiding?
They’re your “target audience” and a subset of your “target market”.
Here’s an example. You may have a target market of “Mom’s Who Buy Groceries” with a target audience of “Mom’s with Teenage Kids”. They’re similar but Moms with teens shop differently than Moms of 8 year olds.
Why this level of granular detail? Well, when we can get specific about who we’re talking to, we are more appealing to them. And the more appealing our messaging, the longer customers will continue to engage. And that leads to higher conversions and more sales.
So, yes. It’s worth the trouble.
How can you find the specifics about your audience?
There’s some sleuthing to be done folks! Start by poring over the websites and marketing materials of your competitors. Look at their website messaging, their social feeds and the comments and feeds of their followers. Check also with your own sales records and your inside sales staff. Then ask staff who deal with your customers on a daily basis.
Next, do some research.
If you’ve got the funds, then by all means, hire a specialized marketing research firm like Neilson, Ipsos, or Gartner. They can help with surveys, focus groups and more, but if your budget doesn’t like their prices, create your own research surveys. You can use inexpensive online survey builders like Tally, Google Forms, GoZen or JotForms*. All of them have free plans that will be more than sufficient for you, and their paid plans will hardly break the bank, either.
You can also do interviews. Either in-person on the phone or online. I’ve tried this in a shopping mall with a clipboard and it’s really awkward and difficult, so I’d strongly recommend an online interview and an incentive of some sort for participants. Gift cards, for instance, are an easy choice and popular with a wide range of people.
As you start to compile information, look for commonalities among these audiences. Demographics for sure, but also their psychographics (ideals, beliefs, biases, fears, goals etc.). And if your product is for sale some places and not others, consider their geography as well. (nobody’s going to pay $30 shipping for your jar of jam).
Here is some helpful demographic info to gather:
- Age — People outside a certain age range may not be interested
- Gender — Gender is still a factor in some buying decisions
- Income Level — Premium products may never appeal to lower level incomes
- Marital Status — Unmarried people often shop differently than married ones
- Familial Status — Families definitely buy different things than singles
- Occupation — People with some jobs might want smaller to-go packages
- Ethnic Groups — Ethnic and religious groups may have dietary restrictions
- Hobbies — People who love to bake or cook may be much better customers
- Interests — People with active lifestyles may be better customers
Keep your target audience(s) in mind whenever you’re working on your brand, your website or your other marketing. A more defined target audience like this, will allow you to segment your marketing efforts and save money by only delivering the messages to groups that want them.
Keep profiles for each significant subset of your overall audience. You may discover that you have a significant number of single men 18-24 and another completely different group of Mom’s of young kids. Each group buying your product for different reasons.
To work with this information, you may want to look into creating “Customer Avatar” or “Buyer Persona”. It’s a model customer based on the information you’ve gathered. The folks over at Hubspot have a free Persona Making Tool you may want to try out.
Knowing who you’re speaking to can completely change the nature of the conversation for the better.