When you start a business, you need to understand your target market at a fundamental level before you can do anything else. Creating products, building a loyal customer base, and producing ROI can't happen if you don't understand who you're marketing to. That's why you need to identify your target audience.
Your target audience is the specific group of people your business caters to. You can't fulfill every customer's needs, but you can focus on a smaller target that's easier to satisfy.
The importance of finding your target audience
Imagine starting a business without knowing who you're marketing to. It would be impossible to craft relevant campaigns, products, and services that boost your conversions and expand your brand.
Defining your target market allows you to create content and marketing messages that speak specifically to your customers. It gives you information about their pain points, interests and wants so you know what they need from your business. With so much competition around, knowing your audience inside and out puts you ahead.
Knowing your customers builds brand credibility between your business and its visitors. If they sense you know who they are and what they're after, it's easier to trust you and move through the conversion funnel.
Narrowing your target audience and knowing them well means that you can:
- Craft targeted, personalized campaigns
- Predict upcoming trends
- Create content that provides solutions
- Produce products and services relevant to their needs
- Build a loyal customer base
Speaking to a general audience rarely drives conversions, because it lacks personalization and fails to provide specific solutions. Around 73% of customers prefer to do business with brands that personalize the shopping experience.
That's why your business must pinpoint its target audience and know precisely who it caters to. Its success depends on its customers, so it's your responsibility to figure out who they are and what they need from you.
Let's dive into a few tips guaranteed to help you pin down your target market and drive conversions right away.
1. Define your ideal customer.
When you picture your customer base, what does it look like? Who is buying your products and services? You likely already have an idea of who your target customers are but need help narrowing down the specifics.
Think back to your products and services and who they're meant to help. It's easier to build a persona when you correlate the product with its buyer. Who needs your services the most? What group of people can your business provide solutions to?
Consider demographics such as location, age and income level. Tap into what issues your ideal customers face that your brand can help them with. Figure out where they spend time online and what content keeps them engaged so you can apply it to your marketing strategies.
You can only cater to your target market when you understand the problems they face. Defining your ideal customer and turning the information into buyer personas helps you pinpoint your audience further.
2. Send user surveys.
If you have existing website visitors, subscribers or customers, you can use them to collect valuable information about their needs. People love talking about themselves and are usually more than willing to divulge you with their opinions about your business.
Send user surveys to gain insight into your existing customer base and further identify your audience. Use email marketing to post questions as part of your campaign. Pose questions on social media that encourage replies and comments from users.
Since 75% of customers are willing to answer one to five survey questions, you'll likely get more responses than you think. The more information you collect, the better.
Asking your audience questions also helps you build a meaningful connection with them. It shows you care about their preferences and experiences with your brand which can go a long way. Many businesses don't bother checking in with their customers, which sets you apart from the competition.
3. Practice social listening.
To know what your customers are thinking and saying about in real time, you need to be active on social media. Well, actively listening, that is. Around 58.8% of marketers consider social media a significant platform in carrying out their marketing strategy and for good reason.
Seeing as people spend, on average, more than two hours on social media a day, there's a ton of information you can collect from different platforms. And around 37% of users say they use social media as inspiration before purchasing, which can tell you a lot about where their heads are at during the buying process.
Social listening uses social media to gain insight and collect data from users. Monitoring their discussions, hashtags, brands they interact with and more will help you determine if they're in your target market or not.
Actively track your brand's mentions including its comments, replies, likes and keywords. You should track anything dealing with your industry so stay on top of the latest news and how people respond to it.
When you gather information, use it to identify your specific audience. Pay attention to repeat complaints and praise. If multiple people have the same thing to say, it matters. This lets you improve your current process to drive conversions and build a successful brand.
Through social listening, you can spy on your competitors to see what their customers say about them. You can learn from their mistakes, as well as their successes, and apply what you know to your marketing strategy.
4. Scour Q&A forums.
When people are curious, they turn to the internet to ask questions and receive answers. Q&A forums are great for businesses pinpointing their audience because it tells them who needs their services.
Q&A platforms like Quora give businesses insight into what questions their audience is asking right now. Marketers and entrepreneurs use the platform to position themselves as thought leaders, show authority in their industry and answer users' questions. Did you know that 92% of customers are willing to engage with a professional who is a known industry leader?
You can use Quora to search for relevant keywords and see what questions pop up. Those who pose the questions are part of your target market. Pay attention to recurring questions that multiple people have as you can use this to identify pain points.
If you're willing to pay for ads, many forum websites and most social platforms provide targeting options based on location, activity, device, mobile use and much more. Around 71% of businesses use paid advertising including boosting social media posts, Google ads and others. This helps you further pin down your audience on social media so you can start creating relevant campaigns and content.
5. Create buyer personas.
When you finally have enough information about your target market, you can start to create fleshed-out buyer personas. Buyer personas are customer profiles that put all the information about your audience in one place. It's easier to create suitable campaigns when you have their wants, needs and interests in front of you.
When you imagine your ideal customer, what are they like? What are the details about them that make them your target audience? What day-to-day issues do they face that your business could help them with? How do they research the products and services they need?
You'll want to collect specific information to craft relevant, useful buyer personas, such as:
- Income level
- Education level
- Pain points
Back to you
When you know who your customers are, it's easy to create content and campaigns that cater to their needs. Pinning down who they are doesn't need to be challenging, nor should it stop you from producing conversions, driving sales and building strong customer relationships. How will you pinpoint your brand's target audience?