You’ve heard the saying that you can’t be all things to all people. Whether it’s personally or professionally, you simply can’t be everything to everyone, so stop trying. In business, this is especially true. Before you can build a successful marketing campaign, you have to define who your target audience is, why they need your products or services and determine how you are going to reach them. It is no easy task to define and reach your target audience, but a very important phase in order to build a better, stronger business, especially if you have a limited marketing budget.
Define your target audience. The first step is deciding who your audience is, with whom you want to connect in the hopes they will buy your products or services or even just resonate with what you do. A lot of marketers want to say “everyone,” but that is not an appropriate answer if you want to be successful in your marketing efforts.
When defining your audience, it is important to consider demographics, psychographics and behaviors. Demographically, who are they? What is their age range, gender or profession? Depending on your company goals, it may not matter where they are physically, as you may want to focus on a national audience. However, in some instances, you may want to focus on a specific part of the country or drill down to specific zip codes. From a psychographic standpoint, how do they think? What are their interests, likes/dislikes, values? Finally, how do they typically buy things? Do they go the online or brick and mortar route? How do they consume their media? This may help determine how you reach them.
Once you think you have defined your audience, you want to evaluate your criteria. Consider these questions:
- Will my defined target audience really be able to benefit from my product or service? How will it benefit them?
- What drives my defined target audience to make decisions?
- Will I be able to reach them with my message? Will I be able to influence them?
Reaching your target audience. Once you have identified your target audience, you will then need to determine how you are going to reach them. Remember that defining your audience is the hard part, but once you have profiled them and learned a little more about them, reaching them should be a lot easier.
In order to successfully reach your target audience, you need to develop an integrated, strategic marketing plan. Just make sure you are keeping your audience in mind when deciding tactically how to achieve this next step. For example, if your target age range is 25-35-year-old professionals, then you may want to focus heavily on online tactics, specifically social media. However, if your target is 55-65 years old, then you may want to consider going the print and direct mail route. In today’s day and age, there are many different media strategies to consider from print to online to out-of-home to event marketing to guerilla/experiential tactics. The key is figuring out which one works best for your audience.
Remember, it’s all about knowing your audience and understanding their behaviors to effectively define and reach your target audience. When you really understand who they are, then you can ensure all your messaging is on-point with whom you are talking to, so you can really resonate with them. By nature, people want to feel special. They want to feel like you know who they are, like you are speaking directly to them. This is true in business and in life. So do the research up front, you’ll be happy that you did.