We carried out a survey in our business community, asking founders about the challenges they encountered when they first started their businesses. And 50% of the respondents stated that they didn’t know how to identify their target audience.
And seeing how this was a major problem, we decided to answer the burning questions about this topic. So, in this article, we discuss what target audience is, why it is important to identify your target audience, and a step-by-step approach to identifying your target audience.
Let’s dive in.
What is a Target Audience?
A target audience refers to a group of people who you focus on selling your products/services to.
They are individuals who fit the description of your ideal customer. And while some of them may already be in your customer base, your target audience can also be individuals who you aim to expand your reach to.
Now, identifying your target audience is one of the first steps you must take when launching your business. This is because if you don’t know who you want to sell to, you won’t know how to sell to them.
And everybody cannot be your target audience. Because targeting everyone would equal targeting no one.
For example, if you make dresses and suits for women. Here, women are your target market. However, not all women are your target audience. This is because, while your target market is on a broad spectrum, your target audience is more niche and specific.
In the example above, your target audience could be ladies between age 20-35, works in the corporate world, and earns at least #150,000 monthly. This description is more specific, and increases your chances of reaching the specific group of people that want and can buy your product.
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Why is Identifying Your Target Audience Important?
Identifying your target audience is not just a fancy activity to tick off in your business to-do list. It is actually an important task that would yield positive results for your brand, in terms of business growth, sales, etc. when done well.
Here are the reasons identifying your target audience is important:
Helps you to tailor your product/service to ease your audience pain points:
Knowing your specific target audience helps you tailor your product/services to meet their specific needs.
For example, if you sell female dresses for working professionals, and you intend to expand your reach to pregnant working professionals. Then you should bear in mind that comfort is important to pregnant ladies. And this knowledge would help you tailor your product to meet that key need.
Helps you create the right marketing strategy:
Clearly identifying your target audience would also help you create the right marketing strategy that would appeal to and attract them.
Different things appeal to different individuals and target groups. So, if you don’t know who your audience is, how then would you know what would appeal to them?
Thus, identifying your target audience helps you know the marketing channels to focus your marketing efforts on. It helps you determine the social media platform to focus on, whether to make use of email marketing, write blog posts, etc.
Helps you craft your messaging appropriately:
Having a clear understanding of your target audience also helps you craft your messaging appropriately. The way you communicate to a business owner who sells thrift clothes differs from the way you would sell to a CEO of a conglomerate.
This is because they have differing ways of seeing things. Also, one person makes more weightier business decisions than the other person.
Yields targeted leads:
Having a clear understanding of your target audience also helps you generate better leads who want your product and can afford to pay for it. Now, while some people may want your product, they may not be able to afford it. And this shows that they are not your ideal customer.
However, when you have a clear understanding of your target audience, you would be able to target them well. Thus, helping you generate good leads that have a high chance of being converted into paying customers.
Steps to Identifying your Target Audience
Carry out Market Research:
The first step is to research your market and think of the broad category of humans that can benefit from your product/service. Here, you would have a large group of people that fit the description, and that is totally fine.
Afterward, write down the specific pain points that your product solves. This would then help you niche down and identify your target audience.
Conduct Competitor Analysis:
Conducting competitor analysis would also help you identify your target audience, since they would also be targeting the same individuals as you.
To do this, examine the kind of content that your competitors create, and the individuals these content are directed at. Also, examine their product/service, and find out the existing gap that they are missing that your product/service can fill.
Talk to existing customers:
You can also get much information about your target audience by speaking to the customers you already sell to. You can do this by creating a survey form, where you ask questions related to what you do, the pain points your product solves for them, etc.
This gives you deeper insight into the set of individuals that need your product that you may not already be targeting. And with the information gathered from the survey, you can then expand your reach to those individuals.
Research your customer demographics and psychographics:
After defining the kind of customers that would benefit from your product/service and getting more information from existing customers and competitors. It is now time to niche down to a specific group of people that would serve as your target audience or ideal customer.
Here, you would need to research the demographics and psychographics of this group of people, for you to be able to identify them, when you see them.
For demographics, you need information on:
- Marital status
- Income bracket
- Educational level, etc.
This information is key to help you niche down, and target people that fit into your ideal customer profile.
For example, if you sell shoes for males, your niche audience can be men between the age of 25-50, who earn at least #200,000 per month. Thus, they can afford a pair of shoes which costs #30,000.
After knowing the demographics of your target audience, you should also consider their psychographics. This would help you know how they think and what influences their decision making.
Here, you would need information about their:
- Social status
- Where they spend most time online, etc.
Create a buyer Persona:
Creating a buyer persona from the information obtained from the previous steps is the next step to take.
For example, if you bake cakes, your buyer persona can be stated thus:
Mary, age 35, married, lives in Abuja, mother of two children under 10 years old. Earns #250,000 per month, has a sweet tooth, and loves to throw birthday parties for her children every year.
In this description, you already have important information that would help you craft your marketing message well. And this would help you attract “Mary” to purchase cakes from you for her children’s birthday and to satisfy her cravings.
Identifying your Targeting Audience for Business Growth
Identifying your target audience has a lot of impact on how you run your business. This starts from the marketing strategies you employ, the social media platforms you advertise on, the picture you use on your graphics, other marketing channels you use for advertisement, the tone of communication, etc.
So, to succeed in your business, you need to clearly define who you want to serve, and analyze the information you have about them.
And in defining your target audience, you should also be able to define who your target audience is not. This would help you stay focused on who you really want to serve, without trying to serve everyone.
Now, defining who your target audience is not, doesn’t mean that you can’t expand your reach to target those individuals later on. It only means that you are focused on the individuals you are targeting presently and sending out well-targeted marketing communications that meet their needs and solve their pain points.
At Triift Africa, we are passionate about helping small businesses in Africa reach their target audience, increase sales and grow from hustle to portfolio.
Also, if this article answered your questions on how to identify your target audience, then tell us what stood out for you in the comment section.