Every company has an ideal customer who’ll be excited about what you have to offer, and finding these customers is essential to business growth. To make sure that you’re developing products for the right group, you have to develop your target audience, which is a group of your ideal clients that you’ll base your future marketing decisions on.

Think about who exactly you’re trying to influence, then follow these five simple steps for identifying your target audience:

1. Create SMART goals

Have SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) goals in place that’ll drive your decisions. With these goals set, you can brainstorm an initial idea of what your target audience is. Think about the benefits of your product or service. What problem does it solve? What about it will drive someone to make the purchase?

2. Host focus groups

Focus groups give you the opportunity to hear from people who potentially make up your target demographic. These groups come together to give their opinions on a certain topic. According to ESOMAR, $809 million is spent on focus groups in the United States, a testament to their effectiveness in understanding audiences.

At the very beginning of your research, it’s a good idea to gather a wide range of people. You can learn a lot by doing this rather than focusing on a small subset.

3. Check-in on your competitors

Your competitors can give you an idea of what is working for their business, and you can take inspiration from their successes. Your competitors may have already developed their target audience, and it’ll be helpful to you when you start your own marketing campaign.

One way to check-in on your competitors is by viewing their current Facebook ads. To do this, visit the Facebook Ads Library and search for your competitor’s business name. If they have active Facebook ads, they’ll display here. Take note of the ad copy, image, and call-to-action. Pay attention to how long they’ve been running the ads—a longer-running ad likely means it converts well, which is good information to have.

Once you’ve identified your target audience, create your own Facebook ads. According to WebFX, Facebook ads have an average conversion rate of 9-10%.

4. View your analytics

Data-driven marketing has a high success rate so start by installing Google Analytics on your website. The benefits of Google Analytics include knowing how your visitors are moving through your website, the demographics and interests of your website visitors, and what terms someone is searching online before landing at your website.

Having all of this information and so much more can help identify your target audience and understand their needs.

5. Develop personas

Once you have taken the time to research your target audience, start to develop buyer personas. A persona is a profile you create of an imaginary buyer based on the research you’ve done up to this point. Buyer personas can be developed with standard demographics such as age, ethnicity, or level of education. Demographics can also go a little bit further to include their occupation, household income, and buying behaviors.

Knowing your target audience is important to make the most of your marketing budget. You’ll also feel more comfortable knowing that your offerings are on the right track for success.

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