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Five steps to finding your target audience

Five steps to finding your target audience. Now that you know why you need to understand your target audience, let’s go through each step of finding it.

1. Determine the characteristics of your products or services

Audience targeting starts with a close look at your business’s product or service offerings. The goal is to determine who’ll most likely benefit from it.

Here are three steps for getting your answer:

  1. Determine what problem your goods or services solve. For example, a meal-kit delivery service like HelloFresh solves the problem of not having time to prepare nutritious meals (or wanting to order takeout).
  2. Think about who’s most likely to benefit from your product or service solution. In the case of HelloFresh, the ideal customer might be a busy professional who doesn’t have time to cook or go to the grocery store.
  3. Define your unique selling proposition (USP). What’s your USP? For HelloFresh, the brand focuses on nutritious ingredients and easy-to-make meals for busy professionals.

With this information, you have some idea of the specific audience your business should be targeting. Following the same example, you know the people who’ll most benefit from your offering are health-conscious, busy professionals with limited time.

2. Research your market

Next, look beyond your business with external market research. Start with a competitor analysis — the odds are that your competitors have similar target audiences.

Scope out the competition and answer these questions:

  • Who are they targeting?
  • What demographics do they appeal to?
  • What gaps in the market can you fill that your competitors aren’t?

You can research competitors by looking at their websites and social media platforms. There are also tools you can use to check a competitor’s website traffic, like Ahrefs and Semrush. Your audience targeting could involve seeing what search keywords they rank for and incorporating them into your content marketing.

3. Create buyer personas

Use the information gathered in the first two steps to create buyer personas — profiles of imaginary people who are your ideal target audience.

These profiles can include demographic data like:

  • Age
  • Profession/job title
  • Education level
  • Income level
  • Marital status
  • Goals
  • Pain points (problems that need solving)
  • Media consumption
  • Hobbies
  • Habits

Another technique you can use to gather demographic information is to survey existing customers. Or, consider who your target audience isn’t and create an “anti-persona” to help illuminate your desired persona.

Next, organize this data in a buyer persona profile. You can then consider how your products or services could possibly meet each person’s needs.

4. Consider your marketing channels

Once you’ve established your customer personas, examine their habits. Think about consumer behavior and consider where your potential customers spend their time, like what websites they visit or platforms they frequent. Within that process, consider what type of messaging makes the most impact on them.

Younger consumers tend to flock to social media platforms like TikTok, while older consumers generally prefer more traditional news outlets or platforms like LinkedIn. Once you know which marketing channels will be most efficacious for your campaigns, you can start creating your marketing materials.

5. Test and refine

Defining a test audience isn’t a surefire science. It’s important to conduct market research to validate your defined audience. One tried and true method is to gather customer feedback through surveys.

You can then refine your target audience as needed. This can help you make even more personalized, detailed marketing materials that resonate with the people who could be helped by your goods and services.

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