How to Discover Your Target Audience

How to Discover Your Target Audience

Before you spend any advertising dollars, you have to determine who your target audience is. Without doing so, chances are you’ll waste money, miss sales opportunities, and possibly lose customers and market share.

Knowing your target audience helps you make some critical decisions, like which marketing channels will likely reach your target. Your marketing dollars should go to advertising on marketing channels where you can reach your potential customers. A Chicago business owner would best spend their marketing dollars on ads in crucial Chicago neighborhoods where their target audience is likely to reside, or where they work. Rather than spending additional money to blanket the entire city with ads. Learn what your target audience watches, listens to, views online, and more to determine where it makes sense to buy ads.

Understand Your Ad Goals

Another decision you’ll need to make based on understanding your target audience is what purpose you need your ads to serve. The consumer purchase decision-making process is not a simple one. A variety of ads may be necessary to convert consumers into paying customers. If you know that many in your target audience are relatively unaware of your business, you may need ads that build brand awareness. Perhaps your likely consumer isn’t aware they have a problem your product solves. In this case, your ads may need to educate them about your product’s benefits. In crowded markets with a lot of competition, design your ads to distinguish your product as the best voice among the available alternatives.

Knowing the kinds of marketing messages that will likely appeal to your audience helps you craft compelling creative. The difference between a winning ad and one that actively pushes consumers into the arms of your competitors can be as little as a few ill-placed words or phrases. Drafting compelling marketing copy starts with knowing who your audience is.

You can determine who your target audience is using these methods and a little bit of time and effort.

Survey Your Past Customers

If you have contact information from your existing and past customers, you can survey them to find out more about them. You’ll want to ask for basic demographic information like their age and gender. You’ll also want to ask them about why they purchased your product, why they bought it from you, and what they think of your brand or competition. You may find some striking patterns in the responses. Use these patterns to distinguish distinct audiences who may resonate with different messaging.

Survey New Customers

If you don’t already have one, build a post-purchase survey into your daily operations. The moment a customer completes a sale, text or email them a simple survey. You want to capture additional demographic data and learn more about why they made their purchase and what other items they might purchase. You should also ask them their thoughts on your brand and what they think about your competitors. Ask where they heard about your business to help you understand what channels are working for you and where you may attract even more customers.

Review Social Media

When assessing social media, you’ll want to look in a few different places for a few different things. Look at your branded social media channels to better understand who your customers are, how they’re engaging with your brand, and what they think of it and your products. Review their feedback and determine if there are shared paint points you’re not (yet) addressing.

You’ll also want to look at your competitors’ social media channels. Ask yourself if their customers, who are buying the same products you sell, are similar to your customers. Have they identified and tapped into a different audience that you haven’t? Find out what marketing messages are they using and why are their customers finding those messages compelling.

Also, look at other social media spaces your existing customers frequent. Do they have common interests, and if so, could you tap into those common interests in your creative to make your marketing messaging more effective? Are there other distinct subgroups in those shared spaces that may be likely customers with the right marketing push?

You’ll also want to take a look at social media data to identify emerging trends. Are new demographic groups starting to talk about your product more on social media (or are existing customers talking about it less)? Are new pain points emerging — and with those pain points, ideas for new products, new marketing approaches, and new potential consumers?

Create a Target Persona

Using the information you’ve gathered, you’ll want to construct a target persona, which is a profile of your ideal customer composed of their behavioral and psychological characteristics, pain points, needs, and buying process. Your target persona helps guide your marketing decisions. As you consider different marketing channels, ask whether these are channels likely to reach your target persona. Does your creative speak to their pain points and needs? In your research, you may have discovered new and potential customers with sharp differences. If so, you may need to develop two or more target personas to form your marketing strategy.

Matching Your Target Persona(s) to Different Channels

Diving deeper, different channels are designed for different audiences and have specific ad buying opportunities. Some radio stations cater to older listeners, while others offer programming blocks that appeal primarily to women or other groups. Some offer ad opportunities based on common listener interests, which may align with your target persona’s interests. Along with interests, consider when your audience will likely be able to hear it. Base the programs you advertise through on how they overlap with your audience’s work commutes. Consider if your audience will have morning or evening commutes, or if they’re likely to work on the weekends and will be out and about then. Determine which programs may be better suited for delivering marketing messages about your specific products than others. To help sort through your options, you may need to rely on an experienced media partner or digital agency with radio experience if the information is not publicly or readily available.

Knowing your target audience is necessary to determine which channels you should use and how to craft your ads to extend brand awareness, provide product education, and drive sales. Without this vital piece of information, you’ll waste your marketing budget on ineffective marketing tactics that won’t increase your sales or cost you customers and market share. However, by surveying new and existing customers, evaluating social media data, and developing target personas, you can better understand and reach your target audience to grow your customer base, revenue and profits.

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