Targeting a broad audience that isn’t interested in your products or services – or can’t afford them – might boost website traffic on paper, but it won’t add any money to your wallet. To ensure your business is more than just a hobby, you’ll need to pinpoint your brand’s target audience to hone in on people who will engage with your product and ultimately make repeat purchases.
Once you’ve found your target audience, save time and money by performing proper keyword research. Getting your new product or service in front of consumers where they hang out, whether through online channels or social media, can help you gain new customers quickly and keep repeat customers anticipating your next offering.
Let’s break down what a target audience is, how to identify it, and how to reach these consumers.
What is a target audience?
A target audience is a segmented group of consumers that want to buy your product or service. A target audience can refer to general followers of your brand or a specific group of followers interested in one or more products or services.
You can identify a target audience by age, gender, geographic location, social media engagement, repeat purchases and other information. For example, if you sell spa services, your target market might be people who frequently purchase facials or pedicures. If you provide a specific service such as pedicures for men, segment your target audience by gender and even by men who have purchased services within the last six months.
How to identify your target audience
Communication is vital to identifying your target audience. To effectively analyze the buyer data you receive consistently, implement the following best practices:
1. Use the data from your best customers.
What makes a buyer love your products and make repeat purchases? Look for patterns in information such as when additional purchases are made, as well as the buyer’s location, age and preferred social media platforms. You can also survey your customers if you need specific data reference points.
Manage your online reputation to see what people are saying about you and whether they trust your business. Take steps to strengthen your company’s reputation if necessary.
2. Follow competitors, and track your industry.
Stealthily watching your competition can help you find ways to improve your services. For example, if your competitors are lacking in the customer service department, invest in additional ways your customers can contact you, such as via online live chat or a Facebook group.
Track industry trends to find ways to improve and add to your product line. For example, does your industry sell better in a brick-and-mortar application or an online store? Being proactive is essential for staying ahead of your competition.
3. Narrow down your target audience.
If your business caters more to men than women, it’s vital to market to men. Even if your customers are already predominantly one gender, you can further narrow your market by age group, location, interest and buyer type.
The more you can narrow your target audience, the less money you will spend (or waste) trying to acquire the right customers.
4. Invest in marketing tools.
Going through your customer data to find patterns, customer analytics and other pertinent information can be daunting. Fortunately, marketing tools can help you collect and analyze the business data you need to be competitive in your industry.
For example, Google Analytics provides in-depth data regarding website traffic, and Facebook business tools include engagement insights. Instagram business tools can also provide valuable data. If you already have a CRM tool for your business, use its CRM reports feature to analyze pertinent customer data.
Most e-commerce platforms store customer data, which allows you to access customer wish lists, abandoned shopping carts, loyalty behavior, and other online purchase habits to gain deeper insights on customer interaction.
5. Be consistent.
It’s essential to determine your target market, but once you hone in on your customer base, don’t stop. Your target market can change from month to month and year to year. Be proactive about engaging your target audience so you can do your best to prevent an unexpected slump in sales.
How to reach your target audience
Once you’ve defined your target audience, refine your marketing methods and choose effective mediums to engage profitable traffic. With a target market in place, business owners can plan digital marketing strategies and campaigns more effectively.
Here are five ways to reach your target audience.
1. Establish a strong network.
To gain valuable information about your target audience, establish a strong professional network. For example, follow industry leaders through relevant blogs and social media, and become an active participant in business campaigns, seminars, and conventions – platforms that give you a golden opportunity to highlight your presence in the market.
Also, network with industry leaders in your areas of weakness. For example, if you don’t know anything about using SEO to boost online traffic, start following people who specialize in it. You can glean a great deal of free information from YouTube videos, blogs, podcasts and newsletters. Specialists will often allow their followers to email them with questions, access an exclusive Facebook group, or sign up for affordable one-on-one consulting sessions.
2. Locate relevant micro-influencers.
Influencer marketing has become a standard in social media marketing. Partnering with influencers can be a quick way to reach a broad, targeted audience in your niche.
For example, if you own a beauty brand, partner with a well-known makeup artist to promote your brand and products to millions of followers on Instagram. The influencer’s massive following can become your qualified lead source and help you narrow down your target audience.
However, you don’t need the biggest influencers to achieve the best marketing ROI. Your business needs to generate qualified leads, and micro-influencers (those with fewer than 10,000 followers) can help. Plus, influencers with fewer followers can be much easier to contact, have fewer projects on their plate, and are less expensive to attain.
You can negotiate fees with any influencer. Stay true to your budget and provide a written employment contract with clear deadlines and brand guidelines.
3. Use a referral system.
Customer referral programs are popular with brands that want to incentivize their customers to share their products and services with others. Using a referral system, you can expedite a large target audience without the investment needed for traditional marketing efforts.
The best part about referral marketing is that you control the incentives. Most companies incentivize both the referrer and the new customer to double the sales potential, but you can A/B test incentives to see which one gives you the best ROI.
Plus, referral marketing is prevalent in social media channels. Those who want to join your referral program can create social media ads targeting your potential customers to increase their referral rewards. If you don’t know how to set up social media ads or are low on funds, referral marketing is a straightforward way to get the word out about your product.
4. Use content to connect with your audience.
While your end goal is to sell consumers a product, focusing too much on sales can make your business fall flat. Forge a relationship with your audience so they’ll listen when you need to do a sales pitch. To connect with them, provide relevant content that solves problems, and offer them information they couldn’t easily find anywhere else.
There are many ways to connect with your audience, but you can provide relevant information in the following ways:
- Video marketing
- Blog posts
- Guest posts on authoritative websites
- Social media posts
5. Use hashtags to help leads find you.
In most cases, businesses will find that their target market spends a great deal of time on at least one social media platform. Whether that platform is Facebook, YouTube or LinkedIn, use analytics to find out where your target market is hanging out.
Once you narrow down your target market’s preferred social media platform, use specific hashtags to engage your audience on social media and help new leads find your page. For example, if you have a catering business based in Atlanta, you might use the hashtags #atlantacatering or #instafoodatlanta.