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Imagine going to a Starbucks where they didn’t take your name to call when your drink is ready. In this Starbucks they only served generic drinks that come in one size. Periodically someone would just yell “coffee!” or “cappuccino!”. Additionally imagine this Starbucks wasn’t a coffee shop, but an impossibly large place of business which housed other types of services for food, retail, and places for news on politics and entertainment. Each of these businesses also yelled about the goods they provide: “pizza!”, “65 in TV!”, “information that may or may not be important to you!”. Worse yet all of these were yelled at the same time and to no one in particular. Finally imagine everyone in Starbucks had headphones listening to music or their favorite podcast.

What you just imagined wasn’t Starbucks but a fair, if not limited, description of the internet. An impossibly large place where an innumerable amount of businesses vie for the attention of an equally innumerable amount potential customers. To succeed in this environment a business must find the best way to earn and keep the attention of potential customers. This means getting to know who you should be targeting.

Setting The Parameters For Your Target Audience

Marketing your business is about creating a deeper connection with your potential customers. To do this you have to do a little homework.

  • Define your UVP – Your UVP is the one thing your customers get from you that they cannot get anywhere else. Having a deep understanding of this means you are in tune with your target audience’s pain points.
  • Look at your current client base – Learn from your current clients to see what is and isn’t working. This would be a great opportunity for a survey.  
  • Review competition – Your competitors are targeting the same potential customers. A competitive analysis gives you insight on positive tactics you can emulate or negative ones you should avoid.
  • Outline demographics – Knowing the age, location, gender, etc. of your target audience gives you a much deeper understanding of who they are and how you can reach them.
  • Outline psychographics – Another way to better understand how to reach your clients is to familiarize yourself with how they think.

Defining your target audience takes some time and will need to be reviewed/updated periodically, but the benefits can help you make the most of your marketing time and money.  

Benefits of Defining Target Audience

The benefits of knowing who your audience is and how they think have an obvious positive effect on how you market to them. It also has a positive effect on how your entire organization functions.

  • Narrow your focus – Chances are you offer more than one service or product. Understanding your target audience allows you to focus on the services/products that means the most to your potential customers.
  • Opportunity for segmentation – Along the lines of narrowing your focus, you will be able to put your potential customers into segments and target them based on the factors listed above.
  • More effective messaging – When you know who your audience is and what drives them, you are able to craft messages which speak to their unique pain points. As illustrated above, this is a lot better than simply yelling into proverbial void.
  • A deeper connection – When your customers believe you understand them they become more loyal.
  • Stand out from competitors – If you demonstrate an understanding of your customers that your competitors don’t, you automatically set yourself apart.

There is one last thing you can do to get an ever better picture of who you should be targeting.

Take It One Step Further

Once you have completed the steps to defining your target audience; go further by imagining who they really are. Imagine a person with a name, job, lifestyle which fits into the demographics you outlined. Give them thoughts and fears inline with the psychographic description you assigned to them. Picture a live person, maybe someone you have done business with in the past. Doing this allows you to craft messages that speak to a specific person as opposed to a group of people. Create several personas or avatars to truly round out your messaging and create content that invites engagement.

Don’t Yell Into The Void

An undefined target audience means you are competing with countless other businesses who are all trying to yell over one another. Knowing your target audience allows you to speak directly to the people most likely to buy your products and/or services. Additionally because you appear to know them so well, your customers will develop a stronger bond and recommend you to people who have the same needs.