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How To Find Your Target Audience

October 21, 2016

Identifying Target Audience or Target Market

You may have had a chance to read our recent post on “The Importance of a Target Audience”. In that post, we took a deep dive on the relevance of finding a target audience, and the importance in targeting your audience in your marketing strategy. In this article, we will focus on how to find your target audience.

Establishing a target audience is a critical step in making sure the correct tone and messaging techniques are being used during your campaigns. After going through the creation or brainstorming process for a new product or service it is easy to want to brush the step of picking a target audience to the side. The decision to not market to a target audience could hinder sales, deter potential investors, and stall reaching your business objectives.

You have put in the long hours and finally finished making that killer product or service. You think your work is done, but no; it is only beginning. Now, you need to introduce people to the work you have spent so much time on. You need to show them why your product, publication, or service is so unique and why they should choose you over your competitors. You probably already have some idea of who you want to reach, your ultimate customer. In the same way you agree on or work with obtainable business goals, it is essential to set a target-able, reachable audience. So, who are you going to be selling to? In other words, how do you find your target audience?

Who Is Your Target Audience?

First thing’s first: who is the audience at the receiving end of your marketing efforts? As much as your product or service may appeal to a large group of people, it doesn’t make sense to market to everyone, logically and financially. You obviously want as many people to know about your business as possible, but the more potential customers you want to reach, the more time, effort, and money it is going to cost to do so.

Depending on your brand or the objectives of the campaign, specific audiences may hold a higher value to you. Targeting high value groups for your business and customizing messaging to better reach specific audiences leads to a higher ROI. Rather than digging through a haystack in hopes of finding a needle, you can adjust your campaign messaging to be like a magnet that brings the needle, your target audience, to you.

Even today, marketing digitally without knowing how to find your target audience can waste time and energy, which can affect your bottom line significantly. A target audience is an audience that, when you reach them, are more likely to convert to sales because their purchasing interests coincide with what you’re selling.

Defining a target audience might feel like an unnecessary step in an already long process, but you should remember that you are strategically choosing where to spend your time and money, which is very important in any data-driven campaign. (If you need to go back to step one and learn more about why you need a target audience, check out part 1 in this series, “The Importance of a Target Audience.”)

By selecting different target audiences, and focusing on the portion of the people who would be most interested in your products or services, you are allowing yourself to communicate and engage with that segment more personally.

Once you have decided that you need to set your target audience, there are a few simple steps you can follow to make sure you are selecting the audience that will drive the best results and help you meet your business objectives.

We created a step-by-step process to show you how to find your target audience, based on where you are now, and where you want to be in future campaigns.

Step 1: Consult Your Business Plan

You created a business or product that you want to be successful, but what are your specific business goals? Once you have created a good list of goals, you need to analyze them and figure out how you will measure your success.

When you are identifying your target audience, it is important to also identify the features of your product or service. What needs does your product or service fulfill for a potential customer? How does your product or service differ from other product or services in your industry? Is your product more affordable? Is it more effective? You must take many of these things into account before figuring out who will be on the receiving end of your marketing efforts. Think about who might be interested and who may BENEFIT from having access to what you offer. These are the people that will make up your target audience.

By identifying your selling points, you can move forward with finding your ideal target audience(s). As you consult your business plan and decide who you want your target audience to be, remember it is ultimately about who is looking for the products and services that you offer. It isn’t as much about you as the seller as it is the consumer.

Keep in mind when thinking about how to market to your target audience that today’s consumers don’t like to be “sold to.” They are much savvier than consumers of the past. Between television advertising, print ads and all the various forms of advertising on the internet, they’ve seen it all. They want to be informed and entertained. They want to be in control of their buying experience. By learning how to identify your target audience and marketing to that group, you are giving them that control.

If you are already in business, defining your target audience can be as easy as looking at your best customers. Who are they, and what traits do they have in common? Do you have more success selling to a particular demographic? Who do you want to get in front of, and what do you already know about this group of people?

Step 2: Research

You need to know your competitors to be able to improve your business and ultimately find your target audience(s). Pull together important information about your industry, the market, your competition, and most importantly, the broad potential customer you have identified. How have your competitors marketed their products/services, and to whom?

Another source to finding your target audience is your existing or best customers. If you want to find more of these people (and grow your customer base), find out what makes them tick. What interests them? How did they find out about your product/service? What did they like or dislike about it? The more information you have, the easier it is to identify and reach your target audience.

If you already have access to a tool like a data management platform, you should also consult any audience analytics you have available to learn more about your consumers. For example, Lotame’s Audience Profile Report can give additional insights into your target audience’s behaviors, interests, actions, and demographics across screens. All of this information should be combined as you build your target audience for a holistic view and understanding of the consumer.

Step 3: Build Your Target Audience

Who are your ideal customers? Some people call these “buyer personas.” This profile shouldn’t just be a brief statement saying you need to target either males or females. It needs to be an in-depth description of who your typical customer may be and can include the most granular of information.

  • Demographics: This information can include anything from age to gender, geography, to marital status.
  • Psychographics: This information goes beyond the demographics and identifies more about a customer’s psychology, interests, values, attitudes, behaviors, and much more.
  • Technographic: This information relates to the devices. Software and other “technical” attributes of your audience.

ALL types of information are essential in developing your customer profile(s). The demographic information will help in identifying the type of person who will potentially buy your products and services. The psychographic information takes it a bit further, and helps you to understand the reasoning behind why the customer may make the purchase. Lastly, the technographic piece helps you to understand where to reach your different audiences and on what device.

Speaking of where your audience spends their time online, it is important to find out where they hang out. What websites do they visit? Which social networks are they spending most of their time on? Do they prefer email over other forms of communication?

This helps you create the right message, and place that message in the right setting. Chances are, if your audience is not checking their email a lot, they won’t see your email campaign. The information you put together for your customer profile, combined with knowing where your audience hangs out online will improve the delivery effectiveness of your message.

Consider giving your buyer personas actual names. This will help you further distinguish them and inform your marketing plan as you create it. If you think of these personas as actual people rather than a collection of traits, you will have an easier time understanding whether or not people like your buyer persona are a part of your target audience and exactly how you will target your marketing to them.

Step 4: Creating and Targeting your Audience

Now that you have successfully put together a list of target audiences for your marketing campaign, it is time to act on them. In the past, organizing this data into the proper segments and managing your various targeted marketing campaigns was extremely challenging, even once you had found your target audience. Fortunately, the right technology makes this task far easier and more efficient than it has ever been. Through a DMP like Lotame’s, you can build an audience by combining the relevant data points to create unique and targetable audience segments that are well aligned to the different messages you are using in the market.

Once the audiences are built, it’s time to start targeting! Lotame’s DMP has dozens of integrations with the leading DSP’s, trading desks, exchanges and ad servers, enabling our clients to export audience segments built within the Lotame platform directly to the chosen activation channel, to deliver and optimize campaigns against these segments. By utilizing a DMP, you can have complete control over your first-party data throughout the process, and continue to monitor and get additional insights throughout the life of the campaign.

Step 5: Wash, Rinse, Repeat

The work doesn’t end after you begin your marketing campaign and send out your waves of advertising to your target audiences. It is essential that you monitor the campaign performance to keep it competitive. How are people reacting to your ads? Are people clicking? Are they converting? You need to adjust your strategy if your marketing isn’t being effective with your target audience. Or, perhaps the people you thought were your ideal customers aren’t actually the ones you should be trying to reach?

The great thing about data is that it evolves. You can bootstrap your data to make your audience targeting more and more precise. The data you collect now will give you a good starting point for how to identify your target audience and how to market to them. Once they start responding, you will have even more information that you can use to further break down your customers’ need and desires and what they will respond to. When you see this process in action, it can be extremely exciting, especially when you see the effect good data management has on your company’s bottom line.

Before you start your marketing, you need to make sure you know how to track sales, interactions, request for information, and more. This way, you can stay ahead of the game, especially with your messaging and advertising environment.

As your business matures, keep following these steps. Your target audience may change as your business grows, and finding your target audience should be a continual effort. Regardless of where your business is, identifying your target audiences can push you one step closer to maximizing your ROI and reaching your overall business goals.

Having the correct data and managing it efficiently will lead to a better ROI through targeted campaigns. Using data-driven strategies brings you closer to hitting your business objectives and an established data management system can help you manage and optimize your data. If you want to learn more about how Lotame can help you in your marketing efforts, contact us. We’d love to talk data or give you a demo of our platform.

by Haley Adam, Product Marketing Manager

Updated on July 24, 2017