When you want to advertise a business or create an effective marketing campaign, the first step is always to determine the target audience. While most business owners focus on reaching the widest audience possible, any experienced marketer will tell you that it is far better to reach the right audience.
Ideally, your marketing campaigns have to reach people that would perform the actions you want (i.e. buy something or sign up for a newsletter). You cannot do this if you do not properly determine the target audience of the marketing campaign you create.
Defining Target Audience
A simple definition of the target audience is:
“The demographic that is most likely to be interested in what is promoted.”
For instance, if you are a personal injury lawyer, the target audience is made out of people that were injured and that need the services of an injury lawyer. If you run a protein supplements brand, the target audience is made out of athletes that want to buy protein supplements.
The big problem is that the target audience can be really narrow or very wide. Usually, the best target audience to be used for a marketing campaign is the one that is very detailed. Examples:
- “Teenagers” – This target audience is too wide.
- “Teenagers that are fans of pop music and live in Toronto” – This is a far better target audience to use in marketing campaigns.
Why Is Target Audience So Important?
When you determine the target audience for your campaign, messages can be created so that they are very appealing to the identified group. Also, it becomes much easier to determine an appropriate budget allocation.
Related: Why Do People Buy Something?
As an example, let’s say you have $1000 to spend on advertising. If you properly determined the target audience, you know where people spend most of their time online. Do they spend most of the time on Facebook between 2 and 4 PM? You can use the budget to show your ads just on Facebook between those hours instead of also advertising on Twitter and Instagram while letting ads run for the entire day.
Proper use of the target audience in marketing leads to improved return on investment.
How To Determine The Target Audience
You can determine your audience through 3 simple steps:
Identify The Benefits You Provide
In order for the marketing campaign to be successful, you need to satisfy someone’s desires and/or needs. It does not matter what you sell or promote. Every single product or service has some specific key benefits that have to be identified.
A very common mistake in marketing is focusing on product features and what it does. For instance, “our store sells protein supplements”. When you build a campaign, you have to focus on benefits.
Let’s say you sell protein supplements. A product feature can be something like “25 grams of protein in every serving.” When you promote, you do not want to use this statement. You want to use something like “more protein to recover faster after strenuous workouts.”
The more benefits you identify, the easier it is to define the target audience. By using the benefit mentioned before, you know that your target audience is made out of people that work out very hard, use protein supplements, and can afford what you sell.
Determine Demographics and Psychographics
Demographics can be defined as a specific section of the population. It is a segment of the large target market that is narrowed down through demographics like location, age, family status, gender, education level, income level, and other such characteristics.
Psychographics are psychological attributes of people. This includes values, attitudes, behavior, lifestyle, and interest, among many others.
With the use of demographics and psychographics, you can define a clear buyer persona.
Remove Confirmation Bias And Validate The Information Gathered
This is the most important part of determining your target audience because it involves avoiding assumptions. We naturally make assumptions based on our personal experience. Due to this, it is really easy to include people in the target audience simply because we think they are a good fit, even if the data does not support our belief.
We should also mention that too much research can hurt your campaign. You can think that you did the best research and you identified a perfect target audience and still make a mistake. This is why you need to test the conclusions you got from the data you gathered. Using social media ads is the easiest way to do it.
Simply put, the only way to make sure that the target audience you identified is the correct one is to test it. It does not matter if someone tells you that they will use protein supplements like yours. Such information makes you think the individual is in your target audience. Once you start selling or you launch the marketing campaign, that person might not actually buy the supplement.
Tips To Identify A More Precise Target Audience
Identifying a target audience is usually a trial and error process. This means that you keep gathering data, you analyze it and you test campaigns. In time, you get more data and you use it to improve the campaign and refine the target audience you determined.
To help you out even more, here are some useful tips to help you:
- Get data from existing customers
If you already sell what you want to promote, you have access to a lot of information you can use. This can easily include factors like age, time zone, location, language, interests, and stage of life. Use this data to refine the ideal target market for your campaign.
- Use social media for information
It is a surprise to notice how many marketers advertise on social media but they do not use it to learn about potential customers. Most people are nowadays active on social media networks. They talk about what they like, what they do not like, what they want, and what they need. Monitor social media to gather extra data.
- Analyze the competition
Every single business has competition. You need to identify it due to various reasons. One of them is that it gives you more information about the ideal target audience. Learn from the mistakes the competition makes and from the best marketing campaigns they launch, but never copy anything because people will realize this is happening and your brand will be taxed.
- Keep revisiting your research
As time passes, the ideal target audience changes. For instance, years ago, the Game Boy was marketed to children and teenagers. Nowadays, almost nobody in the age group would buy it. However, those that did own one in the past might so in the demographics of the target audience, age changes.
It is impossible to launch a successful marketing campaign if you do not properly define the target audience for it. This is done through a lot of research, analysis, and testing. Use the tips above to help you make smart decisions and always be open to admitting that you made a mistake. Adaptability is a huge part of marketing, including anything related to target audience analysis.