target-audience

The Quick & Dirty Way to Define Your Target Audience

Today we want to take a few minutes to discuss the Quick and Dirty way to Define Your Target Audience.

Now I’m sure that you already have some form of a target market in your mind already, but I don’t you want you skip this one because you may find a piece of the puzzle your missing that can help you improve your marketing efforts.

Defining your target market can be an arduous task that could include a team of people conducting a lot of in-depth research resulting in a lot of decision making. Typically, this exercise is done as you build your brand. However, a lot of people pretty much skip this process as they already have some form of target market in the back of their mind which naturally comes out as they move forward in their business.

I don’t want to lead you through some massive exercise of research but rather help you get on track quickly with a minimal amount of work. So let’s get started.

Who Does Your Product or Service Help?

A great place to start is to think about who does your product or service help. When I ask clients about this It’s common for me to receive general answers like “anyone with xyz,” But let’s be honest. That’s not specific enough. As a web designer, I can build virtually any kind of website, but everybody is my target market, then I’m targeting nobody. It can easily appear that way however when I receive referrals and word of mouth starts kicking in. But to effectively market a business, there needs to be clarity around who your serving.

Start with some basic demographics such as age, gender, location, and income level. Are you targeting small business owners or corporate clients?

Do you have a friend or know someone who could be your ideal customer? You can use them as your target audience model. Take into consideration the variables as they relate to your business. For example, age might be more appropriate as opposed to the type of business they’re in. Write down the commonalities of that person in relation to your business.

Research the Competition

Taking a look at your competitors can be a huge help in defining your target audience. You may be able to find gaps in the market place that you can fill. You may also be able to alter your offering in order to build uniqueness into your products or services.

While you may not be radically different from your competitors, sometimes it’s a first come, first serve basis. As of this writing, there are so many people talking about how to build and create waterfalls of cash using Facebook Ads. And while I see so many e-books and webinars on the topic, I don’t know who any of the people are providing them, but when I see a quality headline that peaks my interest I might just check it out. If they’ve done a good enough job, I might just buy what they’re selling.

Its good to see what the competition is up to for inspiration as well as where you fit in, but being a good marketer will help you get the cash in the door.

What’s Their Stage of Awareness?

We know that business is built around solving a problem, and while I assume you’re consciously aware of the problem you’re solving with your product or service, you also need to know what stage of awareness your prospect is at. There are four primary phases of the stage of awareness.

Education Stage:

The first stage involves educating the prospect that they actually have a problem that needs solving. Do you remember when the microwave first came out? Now I realize I’m dating myself a bit here, but I remember my friend had one in their house. It was pretty slick. But when I told my mom about it she said, I don’t need that, I can just heat things up on the stove. Fast forward 10 – 15 years and virtually everyone has one and would tell you they can’t live without it. This all came about because of the marketing of the features and benefits of a microwave.

Awareness Stage:

In this phase the buyer is fully ware of the challenge or problem they face, but also considers the level of priority of that challenge. I get up in the morning and turn on the Keurig for a cup of coffee, open the fridge and realize that I forgot to buy cream the day before. Crap, time to run across the street to grab some. That’s a high priority. Or I could make the decision to wait and get it later in the day. Obviously, the more the challenge has a direct impact on a persons life, the higher the priority it is. If the features and benefits of something are demonstrated to have a high impact on their life, they’ll be more likely to prioritize the purchase.

Consideration Stage:

The prospect has committed to addressing the challenge they’re facing, Now they consider how they go about addressing that challenge. They may do research online, If your product or service has peaked their interest they may go searching for testimonials or other credibility factors outside your website to learn more about you. Prospects will weigh the pros and cons on various factors such as price vs benefits and features. Can they afford to buy now, or are they forced or choose to wait.

Decision Stage:

The final stage is the decision stage. Here, the prospect is made aware of the challenge they’re facing, weighed out all the pros and cons and now they make a decision what option best suits they’re particular situation. A Prospect may opt out of a seemingly good option because there was no free trial, or video that shows how it works. (I’ve done that many times btw.) It’s important to have the right information available and easily accessible in order to get the prospect over the final hurdle.

How This All Fits Into your Website

In short, it helps to determine the kind of content that’s written as well as the style of content that’s being written. If your targeting women aged 18 – 35 who care greatly about how they look and present themselves, the content would be vastly different to targeting men 18 –  35 who want to buy gifts for those women 18 – 35 who care greatly about how they look and present themselves. The product is the same, but the market is different how you approach that market needs to be adjusted accordingly. One way to accomplish this approach would be to create a landing page that targets men specifically with a special offer.

When it comes to addressing various stages of awareness, there’s a couple different approaches. Using both can be an option.

The first way is create landing pages based on each stage of awareness that’s required. Depending on your business, you may need only the education stage to get them thinking along the right lines and then continue to market from there.

The second and more popular option is writing articles. This is where your blog comes into play as it’s easy to right a whole plethora of posts that revolve around your product or service. As blogging is free form content it allows you to create such a variety of options such as writing a comparison blog post that discusses the difference between your product and the competitors offerings. It allows to discuss benefits and features in a more in-depth way than what a simple, short landing page might accomplish.

The beauty of writing blog posts is that you can market them independently or email links directly to them based on where your prospect is at in their buying journey.

Understanding your target audience can have a big impact on the content style of your website. Is your writing style more corporate or more casual and fun? Do you use photos or clip art?

In Summary

To identify your target audience in a quick and dirty way, first be clear about the basic demographics such as age, gender, location, income level etc. Then spend a little time doing some research on your competition to gain inspiration and insight into who they’re targeting, and what they’re doing to attract their target audience.

Give consideration to the stage of awareness your target audience is in while finally, think about the writing style that best suites your target audience as well as the look and feel of your site.

All this really speaks more to branding, but it’s an essential part of building a website that attracts your target audience.

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