Defining Your Target Audience
Part 2 of this series ended with this question: How do you know who to target with your marketing efforts?
Defining the target audience is the most overlooked marketing need by most small business marketing agencies. This crucial step often feels like it gets in the way of getting started with a campaign. There’s typically a strong desire to jump into action – “c’mon, let’s get started advertising NOW! We can figure this stuff out later.”
CAUTION: if you don’t take the time to think through your target audience, you will spend considerably more on your marketing campaigns, and most likely get mediocre to poor results.
Defining your target audience takes time, analysis, and careful thought – it goes beyond most obvious characteristics of your desired customer.
Example: Defining Your Target Audience
Imagine your business has a medical device that eases the symptoms of a particular medical condition. The obvious target is people who suffer from that condition. While that should be one of your target customer types, you should also consider:
• Physicians who treat the condition
• Caregivers (spouses, parents, friends, children, etc.)
• Bloggers who write about the condition
• Secondary medical experts (nurses, alternative health care providers, therapists, fitness trainers, etc.)
• Celebrities who suffer from the condition
Some of these targets may include the person who actually makes the purchase, but some will simply influence the purchase decision.
While you won’t need to do a deep dive on all of these types, you do need to be aware of them and how they influence each other (often called an influencer map). This will help you narrow the field to the most important target customer types you need to reach. Spend your effort getting to know them – what their key pain points are, and what information they’ll need to progress through their journey from awareness of your products/services to actual customers. This is always best if done with thoughtful research – conversations with the target, surveys, focus groups (not always feasible), analyzing past purchasers on your site, etc.
This is how successful, larger companies operate, and the approach small business marketing agencies (those worth partnering with) would take. It will ensure that you’re sending the right message, to the right audience, in the right places, and at the right times during their customer journey.
What Should a Digital Marketing Firm Do for Your Small Business? by John-Scott Dixon and Josh Prior is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.