A business’s life and death lie in its customers’ hands regardless of product quality, novelty and functionality.
In the words of Jeet Banerjee, serial entrepreneur and TedX speaker, “9/10 startups fail, which is a harsh reality in the world of entrepreneurship. However, I believe that such a high number of startups fail because they do not take the right steps necessary when building their business. The biggest challenge is building something their target audience or niche wants”.
The target audience does not lie outside of the bullseye. To engage with one’s target, a marketer must have an extensive understanding of their audience and the tools required to reach them.
This comprehension requires cultivating a tailored social media strategy to give existing and potential customers what they want. However, while this is the first step, the process does not end here. The promotion of growth calls for branding, advertising and garnering a wider audience.
Let’s look at how to identify and engage with the target audience.
Who is the Target Audience?
A target audience can be understood as a group of specific people most likely to purchase products or services from a particular business.
Therefore, these individuals should be aware of the brand they are inclined toward via ad campaigns.
The exciting part is that your ideal target audience can be defined by specific demographics and behaviours such as age, gender, ethnicity, spending patterns and psychographic data like attitudes, interests and internal values.
A target audience is a segment that exists within target markets. However, while the target audience can be crucial to identify, marketers can also look at creating a buyer persona.
Personas are fictional characters with traits of real consumers. They are what would be a business’ ideal clients. Since they are more detailed and specific than the target audience, it may allow a better understanding of the wants of the customers.
When choosing a target audience for your business, you must first identify your product or service. List out the features that set it apart from the competition.
If you plan to create a new product or service or even update an existing one, you will most probably need to know who your target audience is. Trying to implement a marketing campaign without knowing who your target audience is can lead to frustration and wasted time
Although, the first step in figuring out the best way to sell your product is through the target audience. Let’s see how!
1. Analyzing Customer Demographics
To identify your target audience, it is necessary to conduct a deep dive into the customer demographics for your product or service. Let’s look at a few things that you definitely need to keep in mind while conducting the research:
2. Age and Gender
By exclusion of certain ages and genders from targeted ads, marketers can focus on reaching those most likely to respond to their brand. Google Ads’ Age and Gender Targeting allow marketing agents to reduce the bid amount they are willing to pay for a specific demographic. This ultimately leads to a higher ROI turnout.
3. Brand Communication
The trust between the brand and the audience highly depends on similarity and relatability. Powerful messaging or even brand creatives can be a great way to communicate the brand image successfully.
For example, Shorter sentences may attract younger generations since they tend to have a shorter span.
Elements such as acronyms, abbreviations, puns and emojis are received well by the Gen Z population. However, on the other hand, a target audience of the older generation strata may respond better to the use of formal language and complete sentences. This strategy works for B2B models as well.
4. Regions and Time Zones
While India wakes up ready to face a new day, Canadians are heading for a restful sleep. Google’s time and day targeting are convenient for campaigns related to time-sensitive products or services such as movie tickets or an exhibition available on that specific day. At the same time, according to the pre-existing data on specific regional consumption, particular films would be better promoted in India than in Canada. This strategy allows for effective engagement and response.
5. Expenditure Patterns
Spending patterns give insight into the potential expenditure power of the customer. It is essential for analyzing consumer demand and identifying opportunities for sale. According to studies, men spend 1.3x the amount as women in India. This trend is seen reversed in western nations. Globally, younger generations spend more time online shopping than seniors. They tend to have a wide variety of options available right from their phones and hence are more impulsive while making purchases. However, older generations are more settled and stable – which implies a higher spending power than most youngsters. They tend to invest in items that could help them with their retirement or their children, like real estate, gold etc. Analyzing such data helps forecast the expenditure patterns in the target audience.
The target audience can be narrowed down by researching demographics with similar interests. This will help identify a group who might find the services and products of a business appealing. Interest targeting ensures that you’re using your campaign to target users whose interests broadly align with your business. Coupled with incredible creatives and pertinent content, it can help you reach a receptive audience. Since the targeting is focused, you are able to get an audience that is already excited and ready to engage on information pertinent to your products or services; or even buy from them. Defining the target audience in such a manner is vital for determining the scope and type of creative messaging and for the expansion of a business to more groups.
7. Decision-Making Power
To better position your business, you could look at decision-makers who can be the prime focus of your target audience. For example, in b2b startup models, the final say may lie with the CEO or CTO. If you can convince them about the necessity of your product or service, the decision may be easier to move in your favour. Making them the target audience can help you achieve your sales conversion.
On the other hand, if your target market is influencers, you could target them directly or through their managers or teams. Now, if this won’t save you both time and effort while ensuring sales – nothing will.
Bonus Tip: You may have charted the best path to identify your target market. However, you need to be aware of your competition. Try to keep an eye out for the audience that your rival business may be targeting. Search streams or tools like Semrush/Ahrefs can help you monitor keywords and hashtags. This will help you identify the traffic being driven towards the competition or even identify demographics that might have been missed out on.
8. Type of business
In B2B models, targeting can also play an essential role in acquiring clients. A business must be well informed about the type of companies to connect with, which may become potential clients. Your existing clients could also be a source of referrals or even testimonials to get you new clients.
Here an important part of targeting could be understanding the kind of business you aim to engage with. Identify your business strength and capacity while looking to hire others. This could be the basis of the type of business — e-commerce, digital, SaaS or retail. You could even target the basis size of the industry — like startups, unicorns, multinational companies, etc. Make clear choices while forming your target audience to ensure that market funnels are correctly created and catered to.
How Do You Reach Your Target Audience?
Now that you have identified who is your target audience, you need to find a way to reach them. Let’s look at some solid strategies that you can use:
1. Lookalike Audiences
Lookalike audiences are a method of increasing the reach of ads to new clients who could be interested in your business. They share many similar features to your pre-existing customers, and hence algorithms dictate that they will show an engaged interest in your service or product.
Facebook utilizes information such as demographics, interests and behaviours of the “source audience” to find new clients with similar qualities. They also allow you to modify the percentage range of how closely the new customer base can match the source base. Other social media applications such as Instagram also provide custom audience targeting options which can be set to target similar individuals.
2. Reevaluate Target Audience
There may be two reasons for a change in the target audience. The first is the goals or services of the company changing. The second is external factors of change in the target customer profile. Both these factors are not likely to change quickly.
Regardless, a marketer should always review their target audience to be up to date about who is interested in their product and why they might be so keen on spending time on specific aspects of their brand. This way, companies can focus their time and efforts in the right direction.
3. Customized Content for Target Audience
It is imperative to have a well-balanced content plan tailored for the target audience. Once you have achieved clarity regarding your ideal target audience’s characteristics, you can begin promoting your content.
The content plan should serve as a guideline to generate, publish and monitor content as per the platform. The primary purpose of any content is to increase engagement, bring brand awareness and generate leads.
4. A/B Test to Increase Reach
Split testing or A/B testing is a marketing strategy that most businesses use to test marketing strategies. It allows companies to split the audience into two random groups and assess their reactions or engagement with two types of creatives.
For example; two ads with minor tweaks in their copy will be released. The engagement, likes and comments are noted to see which performed better. This can help you determine metrics in real time. However, ensure that you only change a single element in the creative. A/B testing can be used for any content piece with modifications to the post length, emojis, tone of communication, etc.
5. Promotional Content
Promotional content is responsible for marketing. It helps to inform followers and readers about new products and services. Moreover, it can help solidify existing clientele to continue purchasing the product or get new lead conversions.
This content needs to be spot on so that it pushes customers to decide to convert from leads to paying customers. The best practice is to show ( and not just tell!) leads and customers how your product or service uniquely benefits them.
They can be made in the form of posts, reels, videos, blogs etc. Marketers must be familiar with their clientele and strive to strike relatability. For example, behind-the-scenes work videos or following reel trends evoke a feeling of familiarity and a desire to be part of something cohesive and fun. Companies could also develop educational content that includes infographics, Q&A posts, blogs etc. which are easy ways to showcase expertise in a field.
6. Social Listening
Social listening refers to keeping track of the conversation around your brand to avoid missing out on valuable data. This can be achieved by tracking keywords, hashtags or competitor mentions related to the brand. The subtext is vital in understanding whether the engagement is negative or positive. Negative attention may lead to awareness but could cause a massive drop in sales. Such conversations on social media can help understand brand awareness, which clearly affects the return on investments in marketing.
7. Popular Social Media Channels
The conversation around digital marketing cannot be complete without mentioning popular social media channels. There is a need for a medium to raise brand awareness amongst the target audience, and what is better than social media? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and now Tiktok have been the best way to promote products, share ideas and reach a global audience.
Marketers must be aware of the most frequented social media channels with high engagement rates based on the type of content being sent out. For example, written content can do better on Twitter, while visual content will do better on Instagram and YouTube.
Case Studies: Popular Brands And Their Target Audience
Netflix started as a company that distributed DVDs via postal services. Soon they were able to grow into an online streaming mogul with an audience of well over 93 million viewers around the world.
They started by targeting trendsetters and fad followers, but today their target audience primarily includes technology dexterous young individuals or users with digital connectivity. This primarily includes teenagers and young adults. Netflix maximizes their engagement by following a customer-centric model and personalizing its experience. Their app ensures a multi-mode experience as it works well on multiple devices.
Swiggy, an Indian food delivery brand, targets the age group of 18-35 years with smartphone access. This group is usually extremely tech-savvy and seeks platforms to fulfil their daily sustenance requirements. This includes working individuals who do not have the time to cook or crave hot food during office hours or even families who skip cooking at home on certain days.
They have around 342K followers on Instagram and thousands more on Facebook. They have a well-curated account that follows trending methods of audience engagement, such as posting reels, jumping on trends or even creating their own. The element of humour, informal communication, and tie-up with influencers effectively brings thousands of views, likes, comments and shares to each post leading to greater brand awareness in the specific audience pool.
VSCO goes by the motto, “For the creators, by the creators”. It is a popular photo editing app that attracts amateur and professional users. Its target audience includes young adults aged 19-29 and several brands such as Nike. According to Rupert Kogel’s research, a majority of 76% of users are females, with 81% of them located outside of the US. With the introduction of this app, an explosion of the VSCO hashtag made its rounds on social media, thus confirming the brand’s popularity.
The value of the target audience in marketing cannot be overstated. With the steady rise of social media marketing and e-commerce tools/websites, there is massive research and focus on target audience marketing strategies.
Growing digital literacy has led to a higher number of digital consumers, which is only expected to rise. Marketing strategies around target audiences are now more vital than ever and can hold massive potential for consumers and businesses.
However, the important part is focusing on a methodological data analysis approach. The more accurate the data, there is more significant the insight into the audience base.
The information around demographics and psychographics can help create the right content, leading to more sales and conversions. Without this, there will be little chance for the brand to grow. After all, the target audience is not a pillar supporting a company but the very foundation of it.
Thanks for Reading!!
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