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How do I choose my target audience

Let’s get one thing straight: if you’re reading this, the chances are high that you have (or will have) a product or service to offer consumers. But who are you selling your product to? And do you even need to know who you’re selling it to? Yes, absolutely. Ultimately, you have a product or service to provide that fulfills a particular need for the consumer. It’s crucial to target the appropriate consumer; otherwise, your resources and time go to waste. So, what do you do? How do you find your target audience?


What is a target audience, and why does it matter?


Your target audience is best described as prospective consumers most likely to engage with and purchase your product or service. This group contains your ideal consumer and is the primary receiver of your advertisements. A variety of factors can be used to pinpoint your target audience — age, gender, interests, dislikes, location; honestly, the list is infinite.

A target audience increases your chance of making a sale. By joining on characteristics found in your ideal consumer, you can adjust your marketing strategies to efficiently and creatively target that prospect specifically. This ultimately increases your ROI and lets you build a deeper understanding of your consumer and how to target them appropriately.

To simplify it, let’s apply it to the example of women’s perfume. If you know that your target audience consists of women in their late teens to early ’20s, you will most likely shift gears when it comes to your marketing strategy. Instead of displaying commercials during prime-time news, you might focus on targeting women via specific platforms like social media, billboards, and upscale fashion and beauty magazines.


Ways to segment your target audience


We briefly brushed upon specific categories that allow you to pinpoint and segment your target audience, but let’s jump into them a little deeper.



Location

Location matters. If your product caters specifically to individuals in California, you should not be utilizing your resources to target individuals in Australia. You have to choose to be as broad or as specific as you want. Maybe you want to focus on particular zip codes, or particular states, or an entire continent. But by selecting the location of your target audience, you are on the path to marketing smarter.



Purchase intent

Is your consumer ready to purchase a product? What product or service are they looking for? By focusing on purchase intent, you hone in on specific needs that your consumers need to have met so that you can create advertising aimed at satisfying those needs. By understanding their mindset, you analyze and determine how ready they are to complete a purchase, which you can then use to create marketing content that helps push them into the next phase on their path to closing a sale.



Personal attributes

Is your ideal consumer a college graduate? A single-working parent? Does your perfect consumer make over $100,000 or work only in the hospitality industry? These are personal attributes that allow you to target particular people based on the characteristics you choose. This is where you can focus on age, geography, education, income, interests, dislikes, or any other elements to help you get specific and find your niche.



Target audience roles

It’s not enough to know your target audience. You need to see the role they play in decision-making and purchasing; by understanding what role a consumer plays and the responsibilities that come with that role, you can create an even more specific and strategic marketing plan aimed at appropriately targeting them. This helps you target particular leads and enable your sales staff to take a holistic approach to sell to the entire account.



Key stakeholder

The critical stakeholder calls the shots. They are the decision-maker when it comes to completing a purchase. Sure, it’s most likely that the key stakeholder is also the individual who wants the product from the get-go. But there is also the probability that the stakeholder might not be the one that wants the product. Take, for example, children’s toys. While the child might be the one that wants the product, the ultimate person completing the purchase is the parent or guardian. A toy based on a mature R-rated movie might not be a convincing sell to a parent like it would to the cold requesting it. It’s essential to keep this in mind so that advertisements cater to the one in charge of making the ultimate decision.



Internal champion

Think of an internal champion as a product’s biggest fan or supporter. While this person might not have the ultimate say in purchasing a product, they hold immense power in influencing the appropriate party to engage with the brand. Think back to the example from above — the child might not get to be the one that decides whether or not the product is purchased, but they do have the ability to ask their parents for the toy.



Understanding your target audience

Okay, so you’ve pinpointed the specific characteristics you want to find in your target audience. But that’s not enough — you need to understand them, what drives them, what motivates them, what they like and dislike. This way, you can be better equipped to carry out your advertisements.



Interview your current customers

Take the time to analyze your current customers. Ask them questions about their age, location, their interests, and dislikes. Try to pinpoint what it is they have in common, where it is they differ. You create a more detailed picture of your current customer by asking these questions and learning what to look for or target future customers.



Use third-party data to understand market trends.

What does your target audience engage with? Do they only watch online streaming platforms, do they watch prime time soap operas, do they shop only on Instagram and Shopify? Consider utilizing third-party sites that provide you with these types of analytics. Consider using governmental data, such as census data or market statistics, which can help understand the context and broader market forces influencing purchase decisions.

Take time also to study when consumers browse your website. Study what content generates the most engagement, what times are the busiest, where they come from. Understanding the path your consumer takes can help you determine the best strategies so that your process can gain traction. You can access numerical data that can limit the bias in your understanding of your customers for all of these categories.



Map your purchase path

You are ready to venture out with your ad campaign. But don’t miss the vital step of learning and understanding your customer’s purchase path. You’ve studied their purchase intent, but what is the approach to purchasing? Of course, a tremendous amount of research might go until they find the product that best fits their needs. Consider the timing of your marketing content. If you’re airing during prime time T.V., will your audience stay to watch? Will they let the radio advertisement play in between songs?

By understanding your target audience, you can plan and beat your competitors. Anticipate the needs of your target audience as they come to their conclusion on whether or not to complete a purchase and create content that caters to them every step of the way. Different content at various parts of their purchase journey can not only build brand awareness but can put your product or service at the forefront of your target audience’s mind.


Bottom line

You created a product or service for a specific audience in mind — your target audience. Take the time to learn who this group is, their attributes, where they are from, and what they like and dislike. This data can help you hone in on how to appropriately and effectively target them with your marketing. Marketing is a time-consuming field that requires money and resources. Don’t utilize it on prospect consumers that won’t even give you the time of day. Know your ideal consumers, study them, understand them, cater to them, and close that deal!