Marketing to the right audience is more important than ever. With today's global e-commerce market, it’s easy to see very little return on your marketing efforts. It doesn’t make sense to target everyone, however, so how do you know who the correct audience is for your business?
One way to answer that question is to create a target audience profile. This can be a powerful marketing tool for any business. A useful profile will give you a structured look at the needs your audience has that your products or services can meet, the features and content that matter most to them, and the messaging that will resonate.
In this article, we’ll talk about what a target audience profile is and why it’s important for your business. Then we’ll explain how to create one in just four steps. Let’s get started!
An Introduction to Target Audience Profiles (And Why They Matter)
Your target audience is a group of potential customers for your business. It encompasses all those who are most likely to respond positively to your promotions, products, and services.
To understand those potential customers, you can create a ‘target audience profile', which is a description of their most common characteristics. This often includes key demographics such as location, age, gender, and income.
Trying to sell without knowing your audience is like driving with your eyes closed. Analyzing your customer base and determining commonalities among the many individuals enables you to more specifically target your marketing efforts, which can result in more sales.
Target audience profiles (also known as ‘personas'), offer direction for your marketing and make it easier to achieve consistency in your messaging. If your products match with what your audience is looking for, you are much more likely to drive conversions.
How to Build a Target Audience Profile (In 4 Steps)
You probably already have some idea of who your customers will be. You may use customer feedback, testimonials, or other social proof as part of your marketing efforts already, which is a good place to start.
However, having a comprehensive target audience profile will help you to better define what your customers are looking for, and decide how you can serve their needs. Fortunately, creating a useful profile isn't hard, and simply requires a bit of time and research.
Step 1: Create Broad Descriptions of Your Ideal Customers
Before you look at specific demographics, you'll want to consider what is important to your customers, and what makes them want to do business with you. This is where customer reviews may come in handy, as well as any existing data or analytics you have on your current customer base.
First, consider your customers’ attitudes toward your product. How do they feel about it, and what problems does it solve for them? Some other questions to think about at this stage include:
- Why have they chosen your product over your competition’s?
- Do your customers need coaching to understand the value of your product, or is it clear upfront?
- Do they care more about the product or its features?
For example, let’s say you sell help desk software so businesses can better manage employee and customer communication. Consider the following profile:
Larry is a small business owner. He currently uses Gmail to communicate with his employees and customers, but his business is growing and he finds it increasingly difficult to manage his emails. He wants to continue to provide personalized support for customers.
Based on this broad profile, we can assume that some important selling points for Larry would include pricing and scalability. Since Larry’s business is small, he needs whatever product he chooses to be affordable, but he also wants it to be able to grow with his business.
Step 2: Research Your Potential Customers’ Demographics
Now that you have some broad descriptions of your potential customers, you can begin to add in further detail. Including demographic information in your target audience profiles will help you to better understand your customer base.
Some basic demographics may be easy to identify. If you sell beauty products, for example, your audience is likely to be primarily women. Other demographics may require more research to identify, such as:
- Job and income
- Family status
- Preferred social media sites
Once you have this information, you'll be better able to understand the motivations of your target audience.
Step 3: Identify the Needs and Problems of Your Target Audience
By now, you have a good idea of who your ideal customers are. Next, you'll need to identify their needs and ‘pain points'.
Put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers, and look at your products or services from their point of view. What motivates them to buy? Some other things to consider include:
- What concerns might they have that your product helps them feel better about?
- How does your product solve a problem they're facing?
- What are they worried about that might prevent them from buying your product?
Consider your customers’ needs based on this information, and you'll have a much better idea about how to present your products in a way that makes them appealing. Knowing your target audience may also help you to better define your niche in the market.
Step 4: Determine Where Customers Will Find You
Last but not least, it’s important to think about how customers will find your company or offerings. It doesn’t matter how great your products are if your customers can’t find them and don’t know that they exist.
Think about how your customers are likely to stumble across your business. This requires finding out where they already spend their time online, and asking questions such as:
- What websites do they visit?
- What blogs do they read?
- Which social media sites do they frequent?
- What are the likely search terms they use?
- What content appeals to them?
For example, if you sell professional products, you may consider using LinkedIn as a part of your marketing efforts. If you sell entertainment products, on the other hand, you may consider a site like BuzzFeed.
What matters is to reach out to your audience in spaces they're already familiar and comfortable with. This increases your odds of finding the right people and grabbing their attention.
Without knowing who your target audience is, much of your marketing efforts may fall on deaf ears. Building a target audience profile will enable you to create more meaningful content that resonates with potential customers.
To build a target audience profile, simply follow these four steps:
- Create broad descriptions of your ideal customers.
- Research your potential customers’ demographics.
- Identify the needs and problems of your target audience.
- Determine where customers will find you.
Do you have any questions about how to create and use your target audience profile? Ask away in the comments section below!