Who is my audience?
It’s natural to assume that those with similar interests to ourselves will be similar in persona to us, but in marketing, making any assumptions can be disastrous, costly and time draining.
Some of the worst offending assumptions are:
Our audience is like us
“Everybody” is our target customer
We designed a product/service specifically for…
Have you been guilty of any of these?
So how do we identify our audience?
If you already have a customer base this exercise will be easier as you can look at your existing customers for inspiration but it’s equally as important to do it if you have yet to acquire any customers as it will give you valuable insights into what to look for.
Who are your existing customers?
If you have any, look at what demographics they fall into; Gender, Age, Education level, Income ect.
Also, take a look at what customers are already buying, if you have 100 customers but 80 of them only buy from you when you have an offer on, you may want to look more specifically at the 20 who buy consistently and think about what would attract more customers like them.
Look for case studies or research that has already been done by fellow marketers. Whilst some may not apply to your business specifically, it can be useful to see what other areas have been explored and what has worked and what hasn’t, and more importantly, why! This could save you oodles of time and prevent you from potentially making costly mistakes.
Research your competitor’s customers
Competitors can be a valuable source of information on what to do and what to avoid. Google searches will bring up their news updates and you can also use Google’s Adwords, Alerts and Trends tools to check out who’s buying.
Tip – Don’t forget to consult their FAQ, Blog and Information sections on their website to see if they give you insights into their business processes.
Check out their social media
If your competitors are on social media (which is highly likely) check out their pages; who are their followers? what are customers talking about on their social channels? Are they engaging with their customers and if not, why not?
If in doubt, ASK!
You can ask your existing clients, your peer group or network, consult other industry professionals, or you could even create a survey on a free platform like surveymonkey to allow for anonymous responses.
Make sure that you let responders make comments and give you feedback that you can learn from.
NOTE: if you are asking friends and family they may be very agreeable as they want to support you, If you ask a question like “who do you think would be interested in buying x?” and you get the answer: “Everybody”, dig a bit deeper.
Create a Target persona
Once you’ve collected enough data on who your target customer is likely to be, it’s time to put together a customer persona.
This is basically a fictional character that you can refer to when promoting your product or service. You can create your persona based on the key demographics, age, gender, income level, education as well as insights into hobbies, lifestyle, health concerns and marital status.
Creating a persona allows you to understand the buying habits from the point of view of a real person rather than just a collection of data. What do they buy now, and why? What problems do they have that you could solve with your product or service? what can you offer to make them buy from you instead?
Allow wiggle room
Once you have your target persona you have a great idea of who to target your marketing efforts towards. It’ll never be perfect but it allows you to have a greater understanding of your audience.
As with everything, we need to allow some room for expansion, as our products and services evolve, so will our audience and don’t forget that just because our target persona is one thing, other may be interested in what you can offer; so be open to everyone.
Keep listening to feedback and comments.
Look out for behavioural shifts
Be able to back up your data with research
Take your time