In previous posts, I’ve talked about the importance of knowing your target audience, but I’ve never actually explained how you can do that. There’re tons of information about this topic, but I’ve always found it so confusing, which is why it took me so long to define my own target audience.

When I first started my design business, I thought I’d just target any and every business, because I thought they’d all want design. But I just faded into the background amongst the countless other design companies trying to get their attention.

It was only when I went to a business advice meeting with Ignite Business, that I found out how important it is to focus on a specific audience.

By defining your target audience and getting to know them well, you can cater your services directly to them and it’s much easier to market your business and make sales.

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Narrow your focus to have a bigger impact

You might think that your product or service appeals to everyone, and maybe it will, but by focusing on a specific target audience, or niche, you can tailor your marketing to target them, which will be more cost effective and more time effective.

I’ve talked about this in my post “4 ways doing less can grow your business”. By narrowing your target audience, you can focus your efforts on particular tasks and marketing campaigns that cater to your audience, rather than spread yourself too thin and not being noticed at all. Narrowing your focus creates more of an impact. And a bigger impact means more customers.

Value grows businesses

Whether it’s social media posts, blog posts or some simple advice, providing value grows businesses. By offering information for free, you’re building relationships and proving your worth. But this works best when it’s targeting the right people.

By defining your target audience, you can provide value catered specifically to them, which will then gain interest in your business.

For example, if I wrote about my beautiful new 50’s style flamingo print dress, I may get young women interested in 50’s or quirky fashion style reading my post, but the chances are they won’t want any design work. Whereas if I write about website design or offer information to help my target audience, hopefully they’ll find value in what I write and sign up to my newsletter and work with me someday!

 

Are you an established business?

If you’ve been in business for a while, evaluate your existing customers. Are there any trends or similarities?

By looking at the people who are already attracted to your business, you can start to figure out why and amplify those features.

For example, maybe your painting and decorating business attracts more high-end customers who are interested in your marble style paint finish. It looks fancy and impressive and makes any room look like a palace! And maybe it’s also expensive as it takes a lot more work. You may then decide to target people with a certain income bracket, type of house and type of interior design taste, using a portfolio that appeals to that target audience and focusing on the unique style of painting that you do.

Find the problem, fix the problem!

Have a brainstorming session with a couple of friends or members of your family. Try to pick apart the product or service that you’re offering, or planning on offering, and figure out the unique features.

Think about the problems that this service or product could solve. That’s essentially what you’re offering your customers – a solution to their problem. By finding the people who have these problems or goals, you’re one step closer to defining your target audience and shouting from the rooftops that you have the answer they need!

Topics to consider

Really get to know your target audience. What do they enjoy doing? Where do they live? How old are they? Below are some topics to think about. Some will be relevant and some won’t be, so focus on the things that relate your target audience and their problem or goal, to your product/service (or solution!).

  • Location
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Job
  • Income
  • Interests
  • Family status
  • Marital status
  • Language
  • Education

Let Facebook help

Facebook Audience Insights can provide a lot of information. You can search a competitor or a specific interest, and find out information from Facebook Audience Insights like gender, age, etc.

Hubspot has a great article on using Facebook Audience Insights.

Simple Google searches can also help too! You can find statistics, case studies or simply a member of your target audience asking a question online.

Chat to your target audience

If you can, it’s always good to speak to your target audience and find out from them directly what they think about your product or service, and what problems they have that need to be solved.

You can do this with surveys, at networking groups, in forums and on Facebook groups for example.

Before you settle on a target audience, evaluate it

You have to make sure that you’re not being so specific that your target audience doesn’t actually exist! By doing market research, you can find out whether this market is big enough to sustain your business and what your competition is like.

Bear in mind that your target audience might change and develop with your business (or just with time). It’s something that you have to keep an eye on and evaluate regularly.

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