So you started a new business… You filed for your LLC, you have your tax ID number and your bank account is active! Your website looks professional and clean – Your Instagram following is growing… sorta. You have a product ready to ship. Now what? When do the orders start coming in?
The number one mistake to avoid when starting a new business venture is spending too much time, money and resources catering your marketing strategy to EVERY customer. “Everyone” is not your customer.
No matter how long you have been in business, some companies still struggle with defining who their ideal customer is. Keep reading to learn how to define your target audience and ultimately create a more intentional and personal marketing strategy which will lead to purchases of your products or services. These Pro Tips we’ve learned along the way will help build a relationship between you and your customers that will keep bringing them back for more.
1. So What is a Target Audience?
Simply put, a target audience is a group of people you identify as a potential customer, follower or subscriber to your brand or service. The following categories are often used to help identify who your target is:
- Age, gender, education, marital status
- Country, City, region
- Behaviors and Interests
- Photography, hunting, travel, College football
PRO TIP: It’s important to have a thorough understanding of who your person is, beyond just demographic information. Figuring out who your target audience may seem overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. Think of your audience as one person instead of an entire group or groups of people. In the marketing world, we call this a “customer prototype.” So try it. Give your audience a name… Maybe it’s Kathy or Kyle or Pat. Where does Kathy live? How does she spend her free time? What need does Kathy have that your product meets? Why does Kathy love following your advice and expertise? Who is she following on Instagram? Is she even on Instagram?
Understanding your target audience as an individual versus a large group of people will help in building a marketing strategy to reach more “Kathys.”
2. Do Marketing Better
When you have a clear vision of who your target audience is, you have the power to create engaging and personal marketing assets specifically for that individual resulting in greater reach, brand loyalty and introductions to new customers. When you know who your customer is, you know what they’re talking about on social media and where online they are having these conversations.
Being informed about who your customer is will guide you to specific blog topics you should write about, what photos you should share on Instagram, what conversations or hashtags to follow and engage with and what ads you create and share. This is specifically crucial when it comes to digital ad placement.
PRO TIP: Stop casting a wide net and start targeting your ads to your ideal customer! Ad placement on social media is a powerful tool to reach new customers but if you don’t know who your target audience is, you are wasting your time, money and resources. Defining your target audience informs most, if not all, social media campaign elements from where your ad is placed to who you want to see it and what the messaging and creative looks like.
3. Do You Even Follow?
Let’s revisit our prototype customer Kathy and discuss what we know about her.
- Kathy is middle aged although she would never admit it.
- Kathy loves to treat herself to a massage, a new blouse, and a mimosa at brunch on a weekday because she doesn’t work. What are husbands for anyway?
- She shops online… a lot.
- Kathy likes to think of herself as unique and has an eye for interior style and fashion. Her friends always comment on how cute her outfit is on her Instagram posts. #blessed
- She is married, she has a few kids in high school, she’s not on TikTok but loves interrupting her kids TikTok videos by dancing in the background.
A small business owner whose target audience is someone like Kathy, should not invest time or money on creating content for LinkedIn. Kathy doesn’t work so most likely she doesn’t have a linkedin account. She is not spending any time approving her connections or congratulating old friends who recently got a promotion. Instagram ads would be significantly more successful in reaching this potential customer.
PRO TIP: You may have asked yourself the following questions, “Should I be doing something on Tik Tok?” “What are Reels?” “Can I just post on Facebook?” “Can I make a meme?” So here’s some advice… Just pick one platform and stick with it. As you’re building your small business, focus on what you do best, your craft. Pick one social media platform that seems the most natural to you and master it. Literally forget the rest. Give a behind the scenes look into your process of creating, highlight a few of your favorite products, and lean into who you are as a human. People connect with a personality first and then the product or service.
Whether you’re a brick and mortar storefront, a coffee shop serving cold brew coffee, an ecommerce site selling custom Tee shirts or a blossoming floral designer, finding your target customer is crucial to the success of your new business. Your target customer is out there. Follow these Pro Tips and you will find them.
We can help you identify and learn more about your “Kathy” or target customer through a few conversations and research. Contact us today to learn how we can help!