What does ‘target audience’ mean?
You may have heard the words ‘target audience’ before, especially in relation to social media or marketing. But what does it refer to?
Your target audience is the people you’re trying to market your products and/or services to. And in order for you to market to your audience successfully and convert sales, you need to truly understand who they are. You need to find your target audience, and then define exactly who they are.
Why is having a target audience important for Social Media?
Understanding the types of audiences you’re targeting has a range of benefits for your business. Having a clear idea of who your customers are, what problems they have and how you can help them solve them will add immeasurable value to your marketing campaign and your social media strategy.
For example, understanding your target audience will help you:
- Make smarter customer investment decisions – knowing which social media platforms your customers are using and how frequently will help you better understand where to invest your marketing budget.
- Improve your RMS (return on marketing spend) – you’ll see a better return on your marketing budget spend because you’ll be making smart, informed investments.
- Maintain a consistent voice across your marketing channels – understanding your target audience will help you craft better and more consistent content that your customers will value.
- Build strong relationships with your customers – through your strong content, you’ll be able to build a loyal customer base. Your customers will learn what to expect from your content.
You can see how these benefits will affect your small business. But how do you first determine your target audience?
How do you define a target audience?
Identifying your target audience means that you’ll be able to craft a detailed marketing campaign that will really speak to your customers.
Developing your target audience takes time, and you will need to do your own research. And when you’ve done your initial research, keep researching! The more data you have, the more focused and effective your campaigns will be. You’ll also find it helpful to research your competitors’ audiences, and how they’re targeting them.
Here are some questions you can ask to help identify your target audience:
- What is their age?
- Are they mostly female or male, or both?
- Where do they live?
- What is their income?
- Where do they get their information from (television, radio, online, etc)?
- What are their perceived problems (ie, how can your products/services help them solve these problems)?
- What might their biggest objection be to buying your products/services?
What is an example of a target audience?
Here’s an example of a small business and their target audience.
You have just started a pet food company called Pet Life. The driving mission of Pet Life is that the company wants to give people the option of keeping their pets well-fed and healthy while also ensuring that the food itself comes from ethical and sustainable sources. The pet food that Pet Life creates is more expensive than most other supermarket brands, but you claim that it comes from sustainable sources, is Australian made and owned, and has a range of health benefits for pets.
Pet Life has a bricks and mortar shop in a rapidly growing inner-city suburb of Sydney, but you also deliver anywhere within a 100km radius of Sydney.
Who is your target audience?
- They are pet owners
- They love their pets and want them to be healthy
- They live within 100km of Sydney
- They care about sustainability and the environment
- Their problem is that they want a pet food that is good for their pets and good for the environment
- Their biggest objection could be price
These are still pretty broad strokes. So from here, we need to do a little more research on who exactly your customers are. Once you’ve got that information, you can create audience personas which will help you really zone in on your target market.
Audience personas (or buyer personas, or customer personas) are not actually real people. Rather, they’re fictional characters that are based on your real, live target audience that will help you create more focused campaigns.
The idea here is that once you’ve got a name and an idea of who you’re trying to connect with, you’ll be able to really empathise with your target audience and create a really powerful, solid campaign that speaks directly to these people.
Examples of audience personas
Sticking to the example of Pet Life, let’s take a look at some brand personas you might come up with after doing some deep-dive research.
Cecilia has a Persian cat. She rents a one-bedroom apartment close to the Sydney CBD. She’s 28 years old, a professional marketer, and enjoys spending her weekends with her boyfriend or friends. She uses Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, but spends the most time on Instagram. She is concerned about the effects of climate change on the planet, and is very conscious of the lifestyle decisions she makes which may contribute to this.
George has two rescue dogs who live with him and his wife in the western suburbs. Their household income is quite average, but their property value has increased exponentially in the last fifteen years. George is 68 and retired, but he is involved in a volunteer program that cleans up bushland areas and plants new trees. He likes to use Facebook to stay connected with family and friends.
Linda has a Labrador that she and her family all adore. She lives in an affluent suburb in Sydney’s south, and, now that her children are all at school, she works part-time at a local medical centre as a receptionist. She is 42 years old, and likes to stay active by walking her dog. She is trying to teach her children the value of recycling and composting. Linda uses Facebook to keep in touch with people and to stay up to date with local issues and events, but she also uses Pinterest and often finds herself getting lost in a YouTube hole.
Now, if these were your audience personas that you had created, how would you reach these people? What platforms would you use? What kind of content would you be looking to create? And what kind of tone and language would you be using?
With these insightful audience personas created, you can create a multi-faceted, focused campaign with a clear goal and returns on investment.
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