Why is it important to understand your target audience?

You have a small business, you write beautifully crafted content, you engage on social media – but you’re still not selling. Why?

When you have a business, the ultimate decision about whether they are going to buy from you or not lies with your customers or potential customers. You can do as much as you possibly can to persuade people to buy your products or services, but without a strategy that provides personalised experiences for your ideal customer, you’re not likely to make many sales.

When you know who your target audience is and have a comprehensive understanding of who you’re talking to, you can create the right kind of content to attract that target audience. By having your own small business, you are competing with hundreds of other businesses who do the same as you, so having a marketing strategy is imperative to stopping your messages falling on deaf ears!

Why does your target audience matter?

I’d say that knowing your target audience is the most important part of your marketing strategy, for these reasons:

  • If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one. You don’t want to appeal generally to everyone out there, you need to appeal strongly to a specific group of people who are likely to want to do business with you…people you have a connection with.
  • If you know exactly who your audience are, you know what their pain points, or problems are. You can see their problems from their perspective and what obstacles they need to overcome to solve those problems. Then you can think about how your business can provide those solutions with your products or services.
  • Knowing your audience’s problems, you can work out how to market the solutions you have to their problems. You can show them how the features and benefits of your products/services can help them and why you are best suited to do that.
  • When you are creating content and forming new relationships with potential customers, you need to be able to speak their language. By this, I mean using the same terms and phrases that they use to describe their problems. Then you can build relationships by using that language to show that your business can solve those problems.
  • You target audience can also teach you how you can create better products and services that suit them best. You can use the understanding you have of their problems, along with any feedback

How do you identify your target audience?

Identifying your target market is all about three things: Demographics, Geographics and Psychographics. 

Demographics

  • What is their age and gender?
  • Are they married or living together?
  • Do they have children?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • If you know what they do for a living, what is their rough income?
  • Do they own their own home?


You can usually gain demographic information from your existing customers by simply talking to them. Social media accounts can also give you relevant demographic information. If your customers are on Facebook, for example, you can usually see information like date of birth, relationship status – people seem to love to share about their lives on social media, so you will probably see if they have children or grandchildren, what they do for a living etc.

  • You could also get this information from feedback you get. For example, if you make and produce quality rag dolls, you may have feedback that says, “Love your product, my daughter/grand-daughter loves her doll and hasn’t put it down since she received it.”  This tells you that your customer is a Mum and Grandma and that she likes buying things for her grandchildren.
  • Knowing the demographics of your existing customers makes it easier to tailor your marketing accordingly.
  • If you’re not sure who your target market it, go to Google and research some of your competitors, people who do the same as you, and look at their marketing techniques. Who are they targeting and how? What are the messages they are sending out? What images do they use? What media do they use to advertise? You will then have an idea of what direction you should be aiming for with your business. 

Geographics

This is the simplest – where do your target market live? Are they local to you? Just in a particular region? In the same country, but miles away – nationwide? Or international – in other countries?

Psychographics – why customers buy what they do

If demographics look at who your customers are, psychographics take you a bit further into their lives to find out why they buy the things they do. What motivates them and what makes them tick.

Psychographics include things like:

  • Interests
  • Activities
  • Religious beliefs
  • Attitudes
  • Personality
  • Spending habits
  • Lifestyle choices

If you combine the data you collect on the demographic and psychographics of your customers, you can paint a picture of what your potential buyer (or your buyer persona) will look like and who they are. Let’s have a look at one example …

Buyer persona 

Let’s say you’ve done your research, and this is what you have discovered…

Demographic data

  • Female, aged 40 – 55
  • Married with children
  • Household income around £45,000
  • Stay at home Mum who works part-time

Psychographic data

  • Interested in health and fitness
  • Likes to be eco-friendly
  • Is an active member on Facebook and Pinterest
  • Likes socialising with her small group of friends
  • Loves cooking

This demonstrates the difference between the two sets of data and why it’s important to gain both – you have more insight into what your customers might like. Then you can look at your products to see what would interest this kind of customer.

How do you make this relate to your business…and therefore your marketing? I’ll share some examples…

If you have a crafting business, for example, and your crafting activities were soap making or candle making, you’d know that this customer likes natural ingredients that are environmentally friendly and safe for children, so that could be part of your marketing angle.

If you are in the catering industry, making cakes or preserves, she might be interested in special birthday cakes for her family or in your preserves and pickles that use natural ingredients.

Her children are likely to have birthday parties and her friends are likely to have children of a similar age, so anything you make from a crafting perspective may be of interest – bunting for parties, toys, jewellery, etc. And as she enjoys socialising with her small group of friends, she may be interested in hosting an at-home party to buy your craft products.

Where to find her

Once you have this data, you’ll also know where to find her and this is especially important. She may attend local fitness clubs or gyms; she may visit a local spa; she will enjoy lunches out at restaurants or bars with her group of friends. This is where you could leave your flyers and business cards.

Now you know what your customer looks like and what she’s interested in, you can tailor blogs to suit her, you can make products you know she’ll like, and you can find out if she has any particular problem that your products can solve. 

How do your customers like to buy their products?

These days, I would hazard a guess that most of your customers will want to look at products/services online before they buy. They have such a wide choice that it’s important you make yours stand out. People spend their commute to work, breaks, lunch hour, evenings and weekends online, usually browsing through social media sites or looking for something specific. If you are not on these platforms then your products/services will not be found.

Selling online

Social Media is a great way to promote your products or services and to advertise what you do. But you also must bear in mind that not everyone is on social media. If your target market is in the older age bracket, they may prefer not to be on social media, so you will have to reach them another way.

Even though they don’t do social media, your target audience probably still uses the internet to search for things they want. You could set up an online shop.

A website is a crucial business tool – you can link it to your Social Media sites and vice versa. A website can help you reach a wider audience – it gives you a shop front that is open 24/7 – you can even sell when you are sleeping, and you can sell to anyone in the world!

You can put more information about yourself and your business and products or services that you can on social media and, if you have an online shop, you can point your customers to that site. Whatever you choose to do, there is always a marketing technique to support it. If you have a website, you can also choose to add a blog, which could also be a fabulous tool to write about your individual products or services … just another way to get your name/business out there.

I hope this article has given you the inspiration and information to dig deep into your target audience in more detail. I know that once you have all the relevant information, you’ll stand a much better chance of marketing your products or services in the right way…and get those sales.

Share this post to help other small businesses just like you.

How to create your buyer persona

Whenever I create content, I think about my target market. And that leads me to the buyer personas I’ve created. I find it so much easier to write any content, be it social media posts or blog posts, because I have a particular person, or group of people in mind.

What is a Buyer Persona?

A buyer persona is a kind of fictional mock-up of your ideal client. This is based, not only on demographic, geographic and psychographic criteria, but also more specific data, such as what motivates them etc. 

Each buyer persona you have, (and I recommend at least 3-4), will represent a particular group to whom you are going to aim your advertising, your content and your sales pitch. You couldn’t do individual ideal client or buyer personas, because obviously all your clients are different, but it just helps you to focus your communications.

When you are writing your content, you want to:

  • attract potential customers to your website or online shop
  • engage, educate, entertain and inspire
  • gain their trust
  • convert them into paying customers 
  • retain their custom and hopefully, make them an Ambassador for your business

In order to do all of this, you need to know who your potential customers are, then it’s easier to do all of the above! You need to make sure that you attract the people who match what you have to offer. For example, it’s no good aiming your content at people who hate sport, if you sell football boots!

How do you create this buyer persona?

First of all you need to research your target market, as this will help you create a realistic persona.

Step 1

Look at your current client base and see what your current customers do, what they like and dislike. Are there any similarities between them? Make a note of everything that is similar.

If you have regular customers, you could ring them directly and ask them questions about their buying decisions. Alternatively, if you have an email list, you could send out a survey to your customers asking them things like:

  • What kind of content would you like from me?
  • Why do you buy my products or use my services?
  • Do you have any problems or challenges in your business/life that you’d like me to solve?
  • Do you have any questions about my business?

This will then give you a good basis for creating your personas.

Step 2

The next step is to narrow down the information you have even more.

  • What are their demographics? For example, age, occupation, marital status, salary)
  • What are their geographics? Are they local, regional or in other countries? (You would do one persona for each of these.)
  • Psychographics – what are their interests? Do they have any hobbies? For example, are they interested in your products because they’re eco-friendly? Take a close look to see if you can align your products/services to their hobbies or interests.
  • What about their behaviours? What do they like to read about? What kind of programmes do they like to watch on TV, Netflix etc?
  • How do they learn? This would be important if you are planning to teach something or run a training webinar. Do they learn through being shown how to do something, or through step by step instructions?
  • What are their pain points?
  • How often are they happy to have emails from you? When do they look at their emails? What attracts them to opening emails?

Step 3

 Now you can start to create your separate personas. You can organise the information you’ve gathered into groups, and each of those groups will be a separate buyer persona.

You could have a group that have similar challenges or pain points, for example.

I give my buyer personas a name, as I find it easier to identify with that group and it makes it easier for me to write for them.

For example:

One of my buyer personas is called Jennifer.

  • Jennifer is in her late 30s
  • She is married with two small children, both at school
  • She runs her own small crafting business. She makes craft items that she sells at local markets, and she has an online shop.
  • She likes to buy things that are eco-friendly and looking after the environment is important to her.
  • She struggles with juggling time in her busy day, so her social media posts, although consistent, don’t always sell her business well. She knows that marketing her business is important, but doesn’t have the time or money to invest a lot in this important aspect. She’d like to know more about how to promote her business and get more clients.  

I have six of these specific buyer personas, all made-up people, but all of them have one thing in common – they own their own small business. I target my blogs and my social media content at them, aiming to help them with their marketing. They are loosely based on clients I have or have had in the past. 

The importance of buyer personas

Now that you have your different buyer personas, you can tailor everything you write or create to those groups of people. You have put a human element to your buyer personas, so everything you create, from social media post and webinars, to podcasts and video etc., can be targeted at your ideal market.  

You’ll find that people will engage more with your content and take more notice of your emails, as they will be specifically targeted to them.

If you need any help with identifying your target market, or pulling together your buyer personas, feel free to email or message me. I offer a free initial consultation.

cindymobey@outlook.com or you can book a free consultation on my website… www.cindyfreelancewriter.com