It might seem like a mistake to limit your marketing initiatives to a specific segment of potential customers. However, defining a particular target audience is exceptionally advantageous for most businesses.
By establishing a clear audience of potential customers, you can refine your message and make it much more meaningful for those who receive it.
What is a Target Audience?
When you have identified your target customers, you should have a reasonably clear idea of any pain points they might have. That, in turn, will help you tailor your marketing and sales efforts specifically to them.
Conversely, if you were to issue your message to the whole world, it would be much more costly, and your message could fall on deaf ears. And even if you managed to reach some of your ideal customer base, the return wouldn’t justify your investment.
Keep in Mind: Not Everyone is a Target Customer
That’s why you don’t want to include everyone in your marketing efforts. For instance, if you are a manufacturer of men’s suits, it doesn’t make much sense to pitch your products to children. Since you can expect no sales from those demographics, you should leave them outside the audience you want to target. Even with products of general interest such as food items, there is probably a specific segment of the grocery-purchasing public that you’ll want to appeal to.
5 Ways to Research Your True Customers
There are several ways that you can learn much more about your real target customers, once you’ve identified who they are.
1. Consult Existing Case Studies & Research
If it’s in your budget, you can purchase audience research, or take advantage of free audience research. For example, Pew Research Center has both free content about specific audiences as well as paid data.
Image source: foremostmedia.com
2. Do Your Own Research & Case Studies
Create a survey and ask customers on your email list to fill it out. Large scale surveys are a great way to find out about customer preferences and desires and will provide you with some solid insights into customer perspectives. If possible, learn about other products and services being used by your audience(s), even if they have nothing to do with your specific industry.
You could also survey your employees about the customer questions they encounter most and who the customers are who visit or contact your business.
3. Learn From Competitors
There’s no shame in monitoring and learning from research already done by your competitors since they will probably have the same target audience as you. Read comments people post on their blogs and social media profiles. Read their reviews. What made customers happy? What did unsatisfied customers say? Identify the kinds of messaging which were used in pitching these products to your potential customers, because you may want to use something similar.
4. Leverage Social Listening
Another great way of researching your target customers is to take advantage of social listening. Hang out on the same social media channels and online forums. It will put you in tune with their thinking very quickly and accurately, and give you ideas for marketing and sales messaging that addresses their concerns.
5. Create Customer Personas
You can create a fictional character known as a customer persona (see the next section), which includes many of the traits of your ideal customer.
Keep reading to find out more about how to create target customer profiles in the next section.
How to Craft Customer Personas
A customer persona does not exist as a real person. Instead, it’s a kind of model which describes your typical customers, and which has been developed by researching customer behaviors and attitudes.
The purpose of developing a customer persona is that it will allow a marketer to personalize a campaign on a large scale by humanizing key segments of the target group.
This kind of personalization is essential in marketing, because it helps you to develop the right message for the right consumers. Here are the steps necessary to craft a strong customer persona:
- Conduct audience research into your current customer base, your website and social analytics, and even your rival’s approach;
- Identify customer pain points, i.e., problems they need to solve;
- Identify customer desires and needs;
- Figure out how your products and services can fulfill those desires and solve those problems;
- Convert research into customer personas.
Identifying your target audience is a significant component in marketing these days. Virtually all companies have a limited market spend available to them and that means they must make the most effective use possible of those funds. That means it will be necessary to target a marketing campaign at those individuals most likely to purchase your products or services. The best way to find out who you should be targeting is by building a customer persona and doing all the necessary research to discover your ideal customer.
Are you interested in learning about targeted marketing for your business? If so, click here to contact BizIQ today to discuss how we can help.
As the daughter of two serial entrepreneurs, Lexi grew up in and around small businesses and the people who make them tick. She joined BizIQ in March of 2015, bringing over ten years of experience in social media, content marketing, and online community management to the team! Lexi has a passion for helping small businesses grow through online marketing. She currently works to help get the word out about BizIQ as the Director of Marketing.