No matter what type of business you have, it's essential to reach your target audience. This isn't the same thing as simply getting website visitors or likes to your social pages. It means attracting the right audience, people who actually need your products or services. If you want to grow your business and get more customers, targeting is one of the most essential areas for you to focus on. Here are 7 ways to reach your target audience.
1. Identify your ideal customers
The first step is to identify and understand your target audience. While you probably have a good general idea of your ideal customer, the more you refine this, the better. Research demographics in your industry. Conduct polls and surveys. Ask your website visitors and social media followers questions. Do analytics and find out as much about your customers as possible.
2. Identify segments of your audience
Many businesses have segmented customers with distinct characteristics and interests. For example, a company that sells nutritional supplements might make products for women, men, seniors, athletes, and people who want to lose weight. The same is true if you sell clothing or accessories of various types. In this case, your goal is to identify each distinct audience. You'll want to develop suitable marketing campaigns for each segment.
3. Develop the right voice
Every audience has its own style and preferences, based on factors such as age, gender, geography, interests, and other qualities. Do your customers prefer a serious professional tone or a more casual one? Do you want a straightforward, businesslike approach or one infused with humor? This depends on the type of products you're selling, of course. A hip, sarcastic style that's good for selling fashion accessories would be inappropriate when marketing medical devices.
4. Use a consistent brand message
It's important to use a consistent tone that identifies your brand. Even if your customers represent distinct segments, your brand needs a consistent voice. The particulars may change depending on which segment you're targeting but there's still a unified theme. Think of companies such as Amazon and Wal-Mart that sell millions of diverse products to men, women, and children but that still maintain a clearly definable brand message.
Do this with a compelling logo and a distinctive style that's visible on both your online and offline campaigns, including your website, social media, business cards, letterheads, and printed materials.
5. Find out where your audience hangs out
One of the things you need to know about your customers is where they spend their time. Most people use Facebook but not everyone uses Google+, Linkedin, SnapChat or Pinterest. In addition to social media sites, search for other places online that your customers frequent, such as authority websites, where you might advertise. Discussion forums are also useful for reaching a targeted audience.
6. Create a targeted email lists
Email marketing is still one of the best tools for reaching a target audience. Using analytics tools, it's possible to test different headlines, messages and calls to action. This type of research allows you to refine your targeting even more. It's also easy to segment your audience based on different criteria.
7. Always test your results
Targeting is an ongoing process that needs constant refining. You might think that your ideal customer is a certain type but find out you have to adjust this. Your customers might change over time due to changes in the marketplace. Analytics gives you hard data that overrides guessing and even intuition about your customers.
For example, your initial research might suggest that your typical customers are men in their 20s. Analytics, however, might show you that women are also buying your products. You always want to base your marketing campaigns on measurable results.