Who Are You? - Finding Your Target Audience
Jonathan founded a start-up. It’s an app called Budget-In that helps businesses track their outcomes. With a few simple clicks, owners can have full reports delivered straight to their pockets.
“It’s genius!” Jonathan says. “My app should be on every business owner's phone!”
Jonathan builds what he thinks is a marketing strategy, takes out ads and speaks to journalists - but to no avail. After five months, Budget-In still only has a few thousand downloads. Knowing he needs help, Jonathan schedules a meeting with a local PR agency.
The young woman he meets doesn’t have solutions, though – she has questions.
“Who’s your target audience?” she asks.
Jonathan laughs. “Business owners!”
The woman shakes her head. “Get more specific. Are they male? Female? Young? Old?”
“Sure!” Jonathan answers. “Every business could benefit from money management.”
“But does every business want to?”
Jonathan looks at the woman. Surely, everyone wants to be smart with their money. Right?
“There is no such thing as everyone,” the woman explains. “First of all, ‘smart’ with money means different things to different people. You need to know your audience like you do your friends. What are their likes, dislikes, wants, needs? Get personal!”
Jonathan takes time to think and then asks for a pen and paper. Two hours later, his target audience is born.
Conscious Cathy and Cole
- They are between the ages of 27 - 45
- They are extremely disciplined people
- They are always interested in a good sale
- Business casual is their favorite style
- They are middle to upper class
- They have extensive knowledge of finance
- Many are wealthier than they appear
- They tend to live in well-off neighborhoods
When Jonathan then revisited his strategy, his approach had completely changed. Instead of selling money saving tips to brand chasers, Jonathan has managed to zero in on who he should be talking to, where he can find them, and what he should be saying to them.
Seven months later, Budget-In hits 100,000 downloads!
Stop trying to sell to everyone. If you are speaking to everyone, then you are speaking to no one. Overarching messages don’t create the emotional connections that successful brands rely on today. Think of the extreme loyalty Apple users show when it comes to buying electronics, or how women tend to remain faithful to the self-care products they started using as young girls. This type of devotion can only be achieved through emotional attachments. Knowing your audience is your first step toward letting them get to know you.
Today’s consumers are hyper aware of ”marketing language.” People are sick of being sold to. Therefore, it is more important than ever that we develop relationships with our audiences. However, to do that, we need to know them, really know them!
Getting to know your target audience on an intimate level will help you speak and relate to them in a way they’ll connect to you. By personifying them, you will have a better understanding of who they are and what they believe in.
To personify your audience, ask yourself:
- How old is your audience?
- What are their job titles?
- What are their real job responsibilities?
- What are their key identifying personality traits?
- What do they believe in/support?
- What are their professional pain points?
- Why would they be interested in my technology?
Make it Actionable
Knowing your target audience is only half the battle - the other half is successfully using that information to find and target your audience. Once you know that Conscious Cathy likes to read professional finance blogs, you’ll have an easier time accessing her through her preferred channels. Build connections with journalists and thought leaders to get your business placed in content that Cathy consumes. Use social media to feed Cathy information that will get her hooked on your brand. Gathering data is important, but how you use that data is even more crucial.
How to Get Started
The best way to ensure you're targeting the right audience is by speaking to experts. Just like Jonathan, finding help from the people who create connections for a living can only work in your favor. They will ask you the right questions, discover the best angles, and help you find the best times, places, and messages for your audience.