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Defining Your Target Audience

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Knowing who you need to be talking to and how you should be talking to them is one of the hardest, but most beneficial things you can do for your marketing efforts. You can’t be all things to all people, so you need to have a narrow gaze.

To the inexperienced marketer this might sound counterintuitive. Many people want to cast the widest net they can buy and see what sticks. While a wide net will absolutely catch a lot of fish, you also waste a lot of money in the process.

The problem with this strategy is that it’s terribly inefficient. You need to limit your audience and then speak that limited audience’s language to really stretch your dollar.

Here are a few steps you can take to define your target audience.

  1. Demographics- Look at your current list of clients and see what they have in common. Are they all the same gender, age, socioeconomic level, ethnicity and live in the same part of town? Looks like you just found your key demographic. Even if your client list isn’t very homogeneous, try to find common themes that stand out.
  2. Psychographics- Once you’ve figured out the ideal age, gender, average income, ethnicity and location of your potential customers, think about their likes and dislikes. There some great online tools that can help you explore how this target audience ticks. Some important psychographic factors to consider are: hobbies, interests, perceptions and preferences.
  3. Need- Based on the services you offer, you should have a good idea of why your customers come to you and what their needs are. Take some time to think about how these needs present themselves. Is it a preventative or reactionary need? Is it a major need or minor need? Are there any emotional connections to this need?
  4. Put it all together- Use all this information to come up with a target audience. Sometimes it’s helpful to even give this audience a name and write a brief bio for them. You can give them a person’s name like Joe or Liz or you can create a name that encoupases the essence of your target audience like “up-and-comers” or “city slickers.” Depending on your industry, you might have more than one target audience, which is fine. Just be sure to clearly define each one so you can develop a strategy to connect with each audience.

Whatever tools or methods you use to define your audience, just make sure it’s specific and precise.

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