How to Define Your Audience

“You can’t be everything to everyone.” That’s why you need to define your audience.

“You can’t be everything to everyone.”

If you’ve ever had any relationship, personal or professional, with another human being that didn't go perfectly, you’ve probably heard this aphorism. 

Well, it applies to your marketing as well. Not only is it just not true, but if you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll end up spending everything and reaching no one.

That’s why you need to define your audience.

What is Your Audience?

Your audience is going to be a specific group of people whose needs align closest with the products or services you offer. Because they will be the ones to purchase from you, they’re also the ones you want to talk to in your messaging, whether that be advertising, social media, or website content. 

How to Determine Your Target Audience

One obvious way to determine your target audience is to look at your current customers. Here are a few questions you can ask to start building a better picture of your audience:

These questions can vary depending on the market you serve but can help you get a clearer picture of how to talk about your business. 

You can also send out surveys, conduct market research, or analyze your competitors to develop your audience profile further!

Need help determining your target audience? Give us a shout! 

Determine Who Your Audience Isn’t

This may sound redundant if you’ve worked to identify your audience, but we have found that determining who your audience isn’t is non-negotiable when it comes to effective messaging.

Let’s say you sell surfboards. There’s a well-known market that lives near the coast, has plenty of free time for hobbies, can buy “just for fun” items, and loves being outside and near the ocean. Is this your audience?

What if we revealed one more factor about this group: they are primarily retirees between the ages of 60 and 85. 

While some of these people may have several surfing years left (Nancy Mehrn is still hanging ten at 92!), most are likely to be out of your target market. Knowing this can help you avoid spending advertising dollars in areas that won’t help you reach your business goals. 

Develop Personas

It’s normal if everyone in your audience doesn’t fit in the same box. They may have several things in common but are motivated by different things. 

Take a local sporting equipment company, for example. Half their customers are parents looking for what their kids need for the upcoming season, and the other half are schools and clubs looking to buy in bulk for their facilities. They are looking for the same products, but you wouldn’t pitch yourself to them the same way. 

This is where personas come in. Personas are a way to identify the different segments within your target audience. Let “Soccer Mom Sadie” represent the eager, safety-conscious, budget-conscious moms of athletes while “Athletic Director Adam” represents the competitive, knowledgeable bulk buyers. 

This will help you tailor each message to the right segment of your target audience! We recommend identifying anywhere between three and five personas depending on your business. 

Don’t let your message fall flat! Check out how to use CTAs to move potential customers down the sales funnel. 

If you want to know more about who you should be talking to, we’d love to help! We have developed a Personas Workshop to walk through these questions and create several profiles to help guide your marketing efforts. Reach out to us here to learn more about this workshop!

Meet Them Where They Are

Now that you know who your target audience is, you can use this information for more effective sales, marketing, and advertising. 

Your sales team should be able to use these personas to identify talking points when faced with each of these types of customers. Your marketing team can translate this information into customized content to speak to the right audience, at the right time, in the right way.

Remember, they don’t care that you’re “original and innovative.” They care that you understand their wants, needs, and problems and can show why you’re the best solution for them. 

See these “4 Foundational Marketing Elements Every Business Needs and Why”.

So what now? If you have questions about any steps in this process, we’d be happy to share more. Contact us today for a customized persona workshop!

Writer: Gabrielle Mingus
Editor: SK Vaughn

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