Let’s start with the basics. What is a target audience?
A target audience refers to the specific group of individuals or demographic that a product, service, or message is created to reach. A target audience can be divided by gender, age, income, geographic location, interests and many other details.
For example, imagine you have a business selling premium, ethically-sourced office furniture. With that in mind, how would you answer these questions?
- Who do you think will be most likely to buy your furniture?
- Will you be selling to businesses and organisations or individuals, or both?
- Where are they located?
- What would your buyers' income look like based on the high quality and premium price point of your furniture?
- Who must you speak to in those target organisations if you're selling to businesses?
- What roles do those people hold?
Once you look at the basics, you can drill down into the finer details like age, gender and interests.
What’s the big deal?
Every year, $37 billion is wasted on ads that fail to engage the target audience.* That’s $37 billion invested in advertising that doesn’t result in a return on investment. That’s shocking!
Put simply, if you don’t know who your target audience is, how will you sell to them? How do you know what keeps them awake at night and what problems you’re doing to solve for them with your fantastic product or service?
Let’s add to our example of an ethically sourced office furniture business. If your furniture has premium pricing to reflect the high quality of craft and ethically sourced materials, it’s no good applying bargain-basement-style branding. You’ll attract people shopping on a tight budget, but they’ll be shocked at the premium prices, so they won’t buy. Equally, you’ll alienate your target audience, those willing and have the cash to buy your premium product. They’ll take one look at your website or advert and move on, mistakenly thinking your furniture is not of sufficient quality. The bottom line here is if you don’t consider your target audience, it will hit your business’s bottom line!
How do you know who your target audience is?
First, do some market research. This can be done by analysing your existing buyers, using focus groups, surveys, interviews, customer feedback or a mix of those methods. You can also study competitors and industry trends to bolster your data pool. Digital analytics and social media metrics provide valuable data on online consumer behaviour.
Look at demographic factors such as age, gender, income level, and geographic location. You can also explore psychographic elements, including lifestyle, values, and interests. Identify the pain points, challenges, and aspirations of your target audience.
Once collected, you can go one step further and use this information to create a customer persona or avatar.
An ideal customer avatar is a detailed and semi-fictional representation of your perfect customer. The avatar includes:
- A name
- A picture to help you visualise this person
- Demographic details such as age, gender, education level, income level, marital status and geographic location
- Their goals
- Understanding their story and background gives valuable insight into where your client is coming from and what needs to be done to satisfy their needs.
- Their pain points and challenges
- Their sources of information such as books, magazines, blogs, websites, etc
How do you use this information to your advantage?
- Strategic branding and marketing decisions When you understand your target audience, you will know where they hang out and where they are most likely to encounter your brand. You can allocate your resources wisely, using only the channels they use, such as social media platforms, magazines and websites they are most likely to read. You can demonstrate your understanding of your ideal audience’s pain points by crafting compelling content that addresses those points directly. Your visual branding can be tailored to appeal to your perfect audience – even your colours, fonts, whether you opt for illustration or photography, and other visual elements can all be carefully selected with your audience in mind. This targeted approach ensures that your branding and marketing efforts yield maximum impact and resonate with the people who matter most to your brand. In addition, taking this strategic approach will help your audience build an emotional connection with your brand, meaning that they are more likely to buy from you and more likely to come back and recommend you to friends and colleagues.
- Differentiation A clear understanding of your target audience helps position your brand uniquely in the market. You can highlight those differentiators in your branding efforts by identifying what sets your audience apart from others. This distinctiveness not only attracts your target audience but also sets your brand apart in the minds of consumers, fostering brand recall and preference.
- Foster further loyalty through continuous monitoring dAs your business evolves, so too may your target audience. Your brand can adapt and grow alongside these developments by continuously monitoring and understanding the demographic shifts or changes in your ideal audience’s behaviour. This new information can be used to tweak and adapt your visual branding style and marketing strategy. You can also use it to influence innovation within your business to develop products and services that best suit these changes. When your audience can see you are growing and changing with them, they are far more likely to stay loyal to you and keep buying from you and referring you.
Understanding your target audience is essential in building a solid brand for your business or organisation. It ensures maximum bang for your buck in branding and marketing. Taking a strategic approach means your visual branding isn’t just something that looks great but actually helps you land sales by speaking directly to your target audience. If you can show your target audience that you understand their challenges, you can show them why your product or service is the solution and keep them coming back to you and referring you over and over again.
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