Target Audience (© vege / Fotolia.com)
A target market refers to a group of consumers that would be the most inclined to purchase the products or services that a company offers. Since it is highly likely that this audience will want or need what a company offers, this is the audience that the company should focus most of its marketing efforts on reaching. In this article, we will further define a target audience and its significance for marketing and success.
A target market refers to the audience that would most likely be interested in your products or services that a business has to offer. By conducting market research and paying attention to the interests of a target market, companies can device a marketing campaign that will boost their ability to make sales and ultimately boost their success.
The Importance of a Target Audience
It has been proven that marketing to a specific audience rather than marketing to everyone is a much more successful marketing strategy. Why? – Because when a business markets to a wide audience, it is virtually impossible to determine if those who are the most likely to be interested in the products and services they offer will actually be met. By narrowing their focus and pinpointing the segment of the market that would be the most interested in a company’s offerings, a business can increase its leads and its overall success.
In other words, narrowing your focus on marketing to a core audience will allow you to develop a more effective marketing strategy. It allows you to create and implement a strategy that appeals directly to the consumers who are the most likely to convert into customers. Additionally, target marketing allows for a greater return on investment than marketing to a broad audience, making it a much more cost-effective option. For example, instead of sending out direct mail flyers to every local household, it would be far better for your marketing budget and success to send out flyers to the households of consumers that may already be interested in the types of items you are selling, or the types of services that you offer.
How to Find Your Target Audience
The key to developing a successful marketing campaign is defining the target audience which the marketing messages will be delivered to. Doing so will help you make more informed decisions for every marketing deliverable, from posts delivered via social media marketing to blasts that are sent out in email marketing.
So, how can business owners determine who their target market is? While it might sound like a complex process, it’s actually much easier than it appears. To pinpoint the best target audience, start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Does your product or service solve a particular problem? Does it help ease back pain? Does it make it easier for small business owners to do their taxes? Does it simplify child rearing for young parents? These are just some of the examples of the ways in which a product or service could solve the problems that specific consumers might be facing.
- Who would most likely have this problem? Are there specific groups of people that would be more likely to have the problem that your product or service can solve? This is where demographics come into play. For instance, would men or women more likely be dealing with the problem that your offering could solve? Or, would a specific age group or people in a specific socioeconomic status be facing the type of problem you could potentially solve?
- Are there multiple groups that you could help? Your business might have more than one target audience. For instance, a furniture shop might be able to provide products for young children, families, single people, and even small businesses.
Defining Your Target Audience
Once you determine what audience will most likely want or need the products or services your company offers, the next step in the process is to get even more specifics about them. There are multiple ways in which you can define your target market, and these methods focus on different characteristics. Consider the following methods to determine which approach would help you describe your ideal customer with the most accuracy:
- B2B or B2C. Does your business offer products or services that would better suit a business (business to business, or B2B), or does your business offer products or services that would better suit consumers (business to consumer, or B2C).
- Geographic location. Local mom and pop or brick and more businesses might find that their customers are most likely going to be located within close proximity to their establishment, within a certain amount of miles or a certain zip code, for example. This target market is defined geographically.
- Demographics. Demographics refers to the age, gender, socioeconomic status, marital status (single, married, divorced, etc), level of education, or any other pertinent element that would impact their lifestyle, interests, and ability to purchase a product or service.
- Generational segmentation. A lot of business owners find that defining their target market according to the generation they were born in helps them meet their marketing objectives; for example, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, millenials, etc.
- Behavioral factors. You could also consider the frequency at which a group of people use a product or service. This would be a good factor to consider for businesses that offer specific services, such as nail salons, hair stylists, landscapers, or vacation rentals, for example.
- Life stage. Some companies find that it is best to define their target market based on the stages of life they are in; recent college graduates, new parents, retirees, divorcees, etc.
Once you have a clear understanding of your target market, you can start to develop a marketing message
that will appeal to that particular group and figure out what channels will be the best to deliver your messages on to reach your audience.
How to Reach Your Target Audience
Defining your target audience is the first piece of the puzzle in target marketing. But once, you define who your audience is, how do you reach them? While you may have determined the audience that is most likely to be interested in purchasing your products or services, if you aren’t reaching them, then defining that audience – and your marketing efforts – will be for naught.
- Pinpoint the right channel. There are multiple channels that you can use to reach your target audience, such as email marketing, social media marketing, direct mail, on so on. Figure out which channel your audience is most likely to interact with. For example, are they more likely to check their social media profiles than their regular, physical mail? If so, at what times are they the most active on social media? If they do check their physical mail, what type of mailers would capture their attention the most? By knowing the best way to reach your market, your marketing efforts will be much more effective.
- Create compelling content. If you want your audience to read your marketing messages, you have to create content that captures their attention and piques their interests. The layout and design, and even the colors and fonts that you use can make a real difference in the success of your marketing campaign.
- Make use of multimedia. Research has found that people retain significantly more information when they receive that information via a variety of mediums; for example, text that is accompanied by videos, large images, or audio. For instance, a status update on Facebook is will make a much greater impact when it is accompanied by a video or music than just text.
- Be mobile friendly. Today, more and more people are interacting with various online channels via their mobile devices. By making your content mobile friendly, your target audience will have an easier time connecting with it. You should incorporate a responsive design that can easily be modified for viewing on a desktop, as well as a smartphone or tablet, for example. Slower load times or content that doesn’t load properly on a mobile device can lead to higher bounce rates and less conversions.
- Be consistent. Consistency is extremely important in marketing. No matter what channels you are using or how you plan on engaging with your target audience, it is always important to remain consistent with your message. In doing so, you will create greater brand awareness, establish your authority, and become the first company that your target audience thinks of when they need a specific product or service. In short, consistency will help to boost your overall success.
It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, what size your business is, or what types of products and services you offer; if you want to get the most out of your marketing campaign, targeting your market and focusing your marketing efforts on that audience will provide you with a greater return on your marketing spend and enhance your success.