How to Define Your Target Audience by Focusing on the Details That Matter
Do you have some or no idea of who you want to buy from you or book you? Are you unsure of just how to define your target audience? This post is going to help you do just that. You’ll find actionable steps to working out who your target audience is now, all the way to finding the people you really want to be connecting with.
WHY DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE:
- Finding your target audience is a key part of a successful business. Whether we want to grow blogs, build a brand or gain followers and be seen as an influencer on social media, the only way to do this with authenticity is by finding your ideal customer or client. It’s easy to be generic when defining target audiences, but the truth is that the more niche you go with the person or their problem, the more success you’ll have.
- You’ll connect with your people - the ones who are really interested in what you’re selling, writing or creating. They’ll be sharing your content, products and services, and become your own brand ambassadors because you’re doing something that meets their conscious or subconscious needs. These are the people who can help you spread an “ideavirus” [see: Seth Godin - Purple Cow].
- You’ll achieve higher engagement and conversion rates on all platforms, and develop recognizable branding through the support of your target market.
- Doing this helps you to price and package your offerings, choose your marketing channels and feel confident when talking about your business. It makes it easier to network, collaborate and pitch, it saves you time, energy and money and supports you to set the right goals.
- It’s going to give you the validation that your products/services are wanted and needed, and that your audience is willing to pay for them. Not only that, but you’ll identify up-levelling opportunities.
- It enables you to put yourself in their shoes — where are they and what do they want? How can you go to them in a way that will resonate? You’ll ONLY figure this out through your who and why.
When doing this, think of ONE person or ONE brand. This person/brand could be you or actually might share a lot of traits with you. But ultimately, they have a problem you know you can provide a solution for. This person/brand won't always look the same or have the perfect path to you, but breaking down what you can here will hugely support you in creating content. Your ideal client/customer will change over time, just as your business evolves and gets more experience too.
HOW TO DEFINE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
The General Details
- Age and Gender: We can use age as a complementary factor to something like whether someone is now in college, building their way on the career ladder or retired. We can use gender to help with our brand identity and any advertising we do. It’s good to have an idea of which age range and gender we’re developing our content/ products/services for, but will often discover someone significantly above, below or out of that range likes what we do too.
- Location: There are so many benefits of knowing where your audience are in the world such as when we’re thinking about timezones for posting (which is so important for algorithmic feeds), local advertising or the potential to have in-person events.
- Language: With the improvement of translation software, our online content doesn’t have to be restricted by the language(s) our audience can read, write and speak, but knowing that our target audience has X as their first/second/third language could impact on potential physical products we offer. (We could end up having such a popular product that your audience would love it to be printed in their language)!
- Ethnicity: For topics like beauty, some people choose to focus on finding products (i.e. foundation) for certain ethnicities to get more niche with their audience.
- Industry: It’s easy to find people in an industry, but finding people who have a specific role in that industry that complements what you’re offering will be the key. Your ideal client might be a certain brand but the person you need to be creating content for could actually be the PR Account Manager or Head of Social.
The Personal Details
- Income: While we should never assume what people will be willing to pay or that a higher income reflects the type of person someone is, having some insight into a person’s income can correspond with what stage of their career they are at or whether they would go for a luxury wedding or your signature coaching package for example.
- Education and Skill Level: If your audience is still in high school then it's quite safe to assume that they haven't had much experience, for example (if you’re a coach) with your topic of starting your own business yet. Whereas an audience member who has graduated from university, studied marketing and has sold things on Etsy will already have learnt a lot. While everyone's learning journeys are different, defining your target audience (e.g) to current Fashion Journalism students, can help you to work out what they may already know and how you can further meet their needs.
- Personality, Hobbies and Interests: I'm sure you're told all the time to be yourself, so connecting with people who share similar personality traits will help you to grow - they're your people. If your business values include creative freedom through quirky designs then finding your quirky creative audience is a must. Yes you can find your people through all of the other things in these lists, but you've got to connect in personality and be relatable to really take off.
Your Previous Experience (Or Predictions From Market Research)
- The pain points (challenges/problems) your clients faced were...
- What did they ask you (and people like you) about most often?
- What were their core values and own mission?
- How did they find you? (Was social media the first time they’d come across you?)
- What attracted them about your online presence?
- What did they want to achieve?
- What were their biggest “ah-ha” moments? (What was most valuable to them?)
- What concepts did they need introducing to?
- What did they already know about working with someone like you?
- The things about your previous clients that made them the “ideal” client were...
- Which conversations brought the biggest breakthroughs?
- What about their story and personality allowed you to do your best work?
- How did they work best with you?
- What was next for them?
- What was their feedback for you?
- What draws them in: think of things like design and branding, discounts and deals, actionable content, live Q&As, stock photography, good navigation, being about the user, unique concepts, contracts and a clear onboarding process.
- What puts them off: think of things like high prices with not enough value, patronising and assuming content, overly sponsored or keyword stuffed content, too many clicks or too much scrolling, copied concepts.
Here, think about what draws you in and puts you off. Remember, you're connecting with people with a similar personality. Everything else about your target audience might be different, and you may have a different eye (e.g) for design, but things like poor navigation, poor spelling and grammar, and inconsistent branding are things that bother us all.
Their Reading/Watching/Listening Habits
- How many blogs/newsletters/channels/podcasts do they follow? Which ones?
- How do they find new things to read/watch/listen?
- How often do they search for something new?
- What do they read/watch/listen as well as blogs/newsletters/channels/podcasts?
- How long do they spend reading/listening/watching?
- How far down the page do they scroll? / Do they always make it to the end?
- Which devices do they read/watch/listen on?
- Which apps do they use to read/watch/listen?
- Do they read/watch/listen more from the same person after reading/watching/listening to one?
- What makes them leave a comment?
Their Social Media Habits
- How often do they use social media?
- How long do they spend on it?
- Which platforms do they use?
- What do they use the platforms for?
- Do they use it for business or pleasure or both?
- What devices do they use?
- What apps do they use?
- Who do they connect with?
- What makes them share something they've seen?
- The kind of information your ideal clients are looking for is...
- They love to consume... (i.e. images, audio, text, video)
Their Spending Habits
- How much do they spend on what you’re offering already?
- How much extra are they willing to spend on your offering?
- Do they use their card online?
- Which methods of payment do they trust?
- Do they only purchase from secure, well known sites?
- Do they have to visit a store before purchasing a product?
- Do they wait for a discount or offer before purchasing?
- Do they use comparison sites or do their own comparing?
- Do they buy based on recommendations or reviews, or take a risk?
- What devices do they use to purchase?
- Do they check out returns or exchange policies?
- They trust you enough to hire/buy from you when...
- What would lead them to book/buy from you immediately?
- The concerns they have about handing over their money to you include...
- What journey do they go on before handing over their money to you?
- Why are they willing to invest money into what you do?
- Do they pay upfront, pay a deposit or pay at the end?
- How would they want you to deal with any issues like refunds and late payments?
Of course there are so many more questions under each that can be answered... the deeper you can delve with all of this, the easier it is for you to create what your audience needs!
Work through each of the above points, going into as much detail as you can. Now re- evaluate whether you’re using the best marketing channels for finding your audience - you have to go TO them. Brainstorm problems your target audience may have and come up with solutions in the form of content, products or services that you can create or provide.