What is a “target audience?” This is a specific group of people, with shared characteristics, who are most likely to be interested in your products or services. These shared characteristics could be based on demographics, age, gender, common interests or all of the above. Businesses have a defined mission and services that they offer, but they don’t always know who is after those specific services or products.

Why is it important to define your target audience? Business owners need to determine who their target audience is in order to provide valuable marketing and content. If you are writing content that doesn’t interest your target audience, or you are producing marketing materials that don’t strike their interest, you are wasting your time and resources.

When it comes to finding your target audience, here are the keys you need to get you started:

 

Know Your Current Customers

It’s important to recognize who your current customers are, so you know the “shared characteristics” that were mentioned above. For example, are your customers mostly homeowners? If so, you likely don’t want to target college student with your marketing and content. Are your current customers mostly young adults? If so, you don’t want to waste money on yellow pages and money-mailer ads, because those outlets target a much older audience.

You can get to know your customers by researching your data and connecting the dots between your customer and your business. This is the key to finding out why they are using your business, and who else, like them, would benefit. Most business owners don’t have an extra 15 hours in the week to do their research and evaluate their customer data, which is why useful technology would come in handy.

 

Evaluate the Competition

If you want to know more about your business, start by looking at your competition. Check out their online reviews and see if you can find the similarities between their happy customers. Researching your competition is a great way to find out what you’re doing right and what you could be doing better in regards to your business. Look at what your competitors are posing online and what content is getting their customers to engage with them, and then determine what you need to do to your online presence

Evaluation of your competition is easy and doesn’t take much time. If your competitors have a storefront, it’s never a bad idea to go in and check it out first hand. Look at their prices, how busy they are, what the customer service experience is like, etc. All of these things will help you to find out what their target audience is like, and in turn will help you find out about your own.

 

Analyze Your Product/Services

This is the easy part! You know what you offer as far as products or service, and it CAN be common sense to determine who is in need of your services. However, sometimes it will take some research to seek out those potential customers who may not be so obvious. What does this mean? If you’re a carpet cleaner, you want to target people who own homes, apartment complexes and businesses, which means you can cut out teenagers in your marketing. However, what about those young college students who are renting apartments and need a cleaning? It’s important to ask yourself these questions when you’re trying to determine who you should be marketing to, and how to market.

If you’re a landscaper, you are probably wanting to target homeowners and maybe even contractors. As previously mentioned, this is the easy part. You know your products and services better than anyone, and you know who would utilize your business and who wouldn’t have a need.

 

Cater Your Content

Once you have determined who your target audience is, it’s time to incorporate what you’ve learned into your content. When you’re marketing to the older generation, consider that they’re more likely to be on Facebook than Instagram. Keep in mind that no matter who you are targeting, almost everyone will perform a google search when they’re trying to find a business like yours.

When you’re writing content for your social pages and tailoring your content to fit your online presence, take everything you’ve learned about your target audience and make it meaningful and interesting to them based on their common characteristics. Always focus on keeping a personality and sticking with your branding when it comes to your online presence. If you’re running Facebook ads, be sure to set your target audience and demographics so you only pay for views that actually matter to your business.

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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