Any effective digital marketing strategy starts with knowing who your target audience is.
Every business needs a digital presence in this day and age. People don’t ask for referrals from friends or family members anymore when they need a local service, and many of them would much rather shop online than go into a brick and mortar store.
Even if everything you have to offer is in high demand, you still have to contend with all of the competition online. Staying ahead of your competition online means staying visible and maintaining a better online reputation, which means that you need the right digital marketing strategy.
There are all kinds of channels you could choose to advertise on and all different kinds of strategies you could adopt to market your brand, but no matter which route you choose to go, you’ll need to know one very important thing — your target market.
Whether you’re running pay-per-click ads, marketing on Facebook, writing blogs on your website, or creating videos on YouTube, knowing who your target audience is will help you create content that will get their attention the most.
How to Identify Your Target Market
#1. Analyze your products or services.
The first step toward determining who your target audience is involves taking a close look at what you’re offering, figuring out the benefit of it, and what problems it could solve. Once you know what the benefits and solutions of what you’re offering are, you can figure out who might need them.
For example, let’s say that you are a dentist who wants to highlight your teeth whitening services. The benefits of teeth whitening is that it gives people a brighter, more confident smile that looks great in pictures, and teeth whitening solves the problem of discolored teeth that can shake someone’s self-esteem.
Take a moment to think about who might benefit from having a brighter, more confident smile. We would all love to have more beautiful smiles, but the people who might be most interested in teeth whitening services might be people who are about to get married or go on vacation.
#2. Start with a broader focus, and then narrow it.
When determining who your target market is, don’t make the mistake of trying to get too specific too quickly. You’ll be better off if you start with a bigger, broader group, and then work your way down to more specific, smaller groups.
Taking a few minutes to think about your products and services is a great place to start when narrowing your audience. For example, let’s say that you offer men’s grooming products, like beard oil, mustache wax, aftershave, etc.
Obviously, you can pretty much eliminate women as your target audience. That’s not to say women will never buy your products, but it’s probably not a good use of your marketing dollars to target them in your marketing. You can probably also eliminate certain age groups.
#3. Analyze your current customers.
When you know who your current customers are, it goes a long way toward knowing who to target in your marketing campaigns. Chances are, your customers probably have a few very important things in common, and once you identify the commonalities, you can target more people who share them.
Here are a few data points to keep in mind while looking at your current customer base:
- Age – Are your products or services geared toward people of a certain age group? Don’t get caught up in getting too specific when it comes to age. It really doesn’t matter if you’re targeting 27 years olds if most of your customers are 25. Think of it more in terms of decades.
- Life stages – In addition to age, it’s also important to consider the life stage of your customers. Are your customers mostly new parents, or possibly new homeowners? Are they college students? Are they retirees?
- Interests – Do your services or products appeal to people who have certain interests? For example, if you sell knitting needles, crochet hooks, and yarn, you’ll obviously want to target people who are interesting in knitting and crocheting.
- Location – Could people in a certain geographical location benefit more from your products than people in other geographical locations? For example, you probably wouldn’t want to target people who live in the mountains with umbrellas and beach towels. Location is also important if you have a specific service area you work in.
- Income – Are your products or services appropriate for people at a specific socioeconomic level? To put it bluntly, there’s no point in advertising to people who cannot afford your products or services.
Where can you find all of this information? There’s a strong possibility that, while you may know the broader data points for your customers, you may not know the specifics. Luckily, Google Analytics offers tons of valuable data that will help you determine who your target audience is.
With Google Analytics, you can learn all kinds of things about your customers, including their age and gender, interests, location, and more.
#4. Check out your competition.
If you’re unsure about what audience you should be targeting, a great way to figure it out is by checking out your competition. There’s a good possibility that you’ll want to target a lot of the same people that they are, and, at the very least, knowing who they are targeting will give you a jumping-off point to determining who you should target.
You don’t need to see every ad or get a behind-the-scenes look at your competition’s target audience; you can probably get a solid idea of who they are by simply looking at one of their social media profiles or their website.
Every successful digital marketing strategy starts with targeting the right audience. Once you know who your target market is, you can gear everything from social media posts and videos to blogs specifically to their needs.