Here are five steps that will help you better identify who YOUR audience is and HOW you can best connect with them.
Step 1: Acknowledge that you have a specific target audience
It’s important to understand that your products and services have a target audience that can be defined. As a marketer, your primary goal is to find ways to identify who these people are so that you can create marketing campaigns that speak to them directly.
This might sound pretty obvious, but too often marketers assume that what they offer the world has universal appeal and that their target audience is “everybody”! As much as we would all like to believe that, it’s never true and can get in the way of creating effective marketing campaigns that do talk to the right people.
Step 2: Determine what criteria you intend to use to identify the consumers you most wish to reach
An audience can be sorted any number of ways based on an almost infinite number of criteria. But your audience is unique to your brands, so you’re going to want to identify the factors that can be used to create a better connection between their potential needs and what your company offers.
For starters, are there some demographic points that you can use such as age, gender or geography to begin to refine who the best recipients are for your products? How about criteria that matches a prospect’s beliefs, opinions, attitudes or intentions with your marketing message?
The goal of this step is to eliminate the people for whom an offer won’t be relevant or important. With these people out of the mix, you can now focus your marketing messages to reach the remaining people who are most apt to be interested and willing to take some sort of action when they come in contact with your marketing message.
Step 3: Identify what your customers and prospects want most from you
One of the challenges that most marketers face is that they are too close to their own brands.
While you certainly want to promote your brands and services in a positive light, you also need to be willing to put yourself in the shoes of your target customers as often as possible. Chances are they don’t know much (if anything) about your brand or understand the benefits you offer nearly as well as you do.
By seeing your brand through new eyes, you can also look for potential weaknesses, areas of potential misuse or misunderstanding, and even things that consumers may object to or find offensive. Taking this step better allows you to create marketing messages and campaigns that fully address possible brand concerns and objections before they occur.
Step 4: Identify the best channels to use to communicate with these people
What’s the best way to reach your target audience? Again, there is no 100 percent right answer on the best channels you can use reach a target audience. For example a local business looking for a local audience isn’t going to need to run a nationwide online search campaign to reach its target audience. Instead, it might rely on an ad in a local directory or even a small local newspaper to get best results.
Start by thinking about how your target audience gets information. What channels do they use? Television? Radio? Newspapers? Webpages? Online search campaigns?
You want to make sure that when your target consumers are learning about the world around them that your messages are part of that information stream.
Step 5: Measure campaign results to determine if you actually did reach the right people!
Defining your target audience is just the first step. Now, you need to determine if you were correct.
It’s not uncommon for marketers to identify an audience they want to reach only to discover once the campaign starts running that a very different group of people respond to the marketing materials. Again, depending on the types of marketing channels you use, the feedback you will receive can tell you some very important stories.
The bottom line is NOT to assume that just because you have identified an audience and then determined the best criteria to select and reach that audience that your work is done. EVERY campaign you’ll run will teach you how to do a better job in the future. However, you need to be open to that feedback and be willing to continually tweak that information to optimize future campaigns resulting in more and more effective results!