You’ve heard it many times.
“You need to identify your target audience. If you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”
And you kind of agree.
Yet, the only thing you did about it was to give it a 2-minute thought before falling asleep.
“Hm, I’m a hair dresser. I do people’s hair. So I guess my target audience is… everyone except of the bald people! Gee, that was easy!”
You still haven’t sat down and filled out that questionnaire.
You know, the one where you are supposed to give your ideal customer a name, decide on their age, gender, education, occupation, books they like to read, car they drive, and so on.
Why haven’t you done it?
Because those questionnaires have a gazillion of questions, and most of them seem to be irrelevant for your business.
How will knowing what book your ideal customer reads help you? You are not a book store!
I get it. We already procrastinate on stuff we understand. So stuff we don’t understand has no chance.
I get it, but I don’t agree.
Moreover, I think it is as serious as this:
“If you don’t identify your target audience, your business stands no chance.”
(Unless you have invented a teleportation device. Then forget I said anything and teleport me somewhere warm.)
So let me try a different explanation why you have to drop everything, fill out that questionnaire and identify your target audience asap.
The real reason behind identifying your target audience that will make you drop everything and do it ASAP
Remember your high school crush?
(Doesn’t matter which one. Any will do.)
You were trying to find out as much as possible about him. Hid behind the column to ears-drop on his conversations. Bribed his friends to find out what music he likes and what he is doing after school.
Then you watched boring sitcoms. Listened to heavy metal. Even tried to understand soccer.
Only to “accidentally” bump into him at the mall and make a casual reference to his favorite show. Give him the latest CD of his favorite band for his birthday. Impress him with your knowledge about that thing Europeans call “football”.
Why all the trouble?
It’s obvious! So that he would notice you. So that he would like you. So that he’ll ask you out and you two would start a relationship.
The reason behind identifying your target audience is a lot like that.
What does it take to get people to buy your product?
To have a real chance at selling your product or services, or even getting donations for your charity, you need to make people notice you, get to know, like and trust you first.
Even if you have thousands of Twitter followers or an email list that recently has exploded because of your “free ebook”, this is just a start.
The problem is, many people […] only focus on the first phase — building an audience that is generally aware of you. But until you lead them up the curve, it’s unlikely you will be able to actually drive them to any kind of action.Mark Schäfer, globally-recognized speaker, educator, business consultant
But how can you make this happen? How can you make a person who haven’t heard of you like and trust you?
The same way you make all complicated things happen: With a clear plan!
And it starts with identifying your target audience.
For example, if you know what social networks your target audience prefers, forums they visit and whether they’d rather watch a video or read a blog post, you will do a better job in getting your message infront of the right eyes,
…so that your ideal customers notice you.
Social networks and forums are also great places to ears-drop to find out about your ideal customers’ problems.
If you know their age, their favorite TV shows and music bands, this information will come handy while writing your blog posts and email newsletters,
…so that they can relate to you and get to like you.
If you know whom they already trust and look up to, you can mention those people and brands, or partner with them to let trust and credibility they have already established with your potential customers rub off on you.
If you know their problems you can offer solutions that work,
…so that your ideal customers think of you as trusted and credible.
And most importantly, if you understand what emotions drive their buyer decision, then your sales offer has a real chance.
None of this will happen if you think your target audience is “everyone except the bald people”!
You need to turn into a spy, to “ears-drop”, to “bribe their friends” and find out as much as you can about your potential customers.
You need to find the answers to the questions of that questionnaire and identify your target audience. This will turbocharge your business like nothing else.
Accurate statistics help you build detailed personas. Those, in turn, help you to understand the buyers and influencers you need to attract to your website. When you can “get in their heads” and really feel the struggles and challenges they are facing, you’re ready to start creating offers that get a response.Randy Milanovic, CEO of Kayak Online Marketing
What can you do right now?
I hope this gave you
a kick in the butt enough motivation to identify your target audience.
This is what you can do here and now.
Step 1: Understand your product/service
You can’t identify your target audience if you don’t fully understand your product or service. Find out the answers to these questions first:
- What is it that you sell?
- What problems it solves?
- What are its benefits?
- Who needs it?
Step 2: Identify your target audience
Fill out the questionnaire to pin down as much information about your target audience as possible.
You don’t have to answer all the questions. But at the end you need to know enough to make a clear plan on how you will make your potential customers notice, get to know, like and trust you.
Here’s how you can learn more about your ideal customers:
- Check your “Audience” section in Google Analytics.
- If you have a Facebook page, check “Insights” tab.
- Create a survey and send it out to your email subscribers.
- Talk to your former and present clients.
- Think of the questions your customers asked you before.
- Think of that one client you loved working with.
- Check out forums and groups on social media your target audience uses.
You can download the questionnaire below with just one click (no email address required).
When you will be filling out this questionnaire, your abstract “target audience” should transform into a real person – a so called buyer persona. It can happen that you’ll have several different buyer personas. That’s ok. Just make sure every buyer persona gets their own questionnaire filled.
Step 3. Make changes to your business website
Open the most important page on your business website. Now, change it to appeal to your target audience.
For example, if it’s your homepage, make sure it sends a clear message that your target audience will immediately grasp.
If it’s a lead page:
- Let it speak their language and address their problems to make an emotional connection
- Use testimonials from someone they already trust to establish trust and credibility
- Use your knowledge about their fears, dreams and motivation to buy while stating the benefits of your product
- Have a compelling call to action that fits all above
While making the changes, pay attention not to harm the main goal of your page.
Does it seem like you’ll have to change a lot?
Don’t despair. You haven’t built that website in a day, so you shouldn’t try to change everything in a day either.
This is all it takes to get the ball rolling. One page a day. You’ll start seeing results soon enough that will keep you motivated to work on it.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, don’t betray them. Sometimes you’ll feel the temptation to change your blog post or lead page to “include more people”. Don’t make that compromise.
Speak the language of your target audience. Solve their problems, and do it consistently: In your blog posts, in your email newsletter, in your posts on social media, etc.
New personas from your target audience may emerge, and you can create content that is tailored for them. But let it be your conscious and well-informed decision.
Identify your target audience today. Don’t postpone it. Because, as my favorite Russian proverb puts it:
If you don’t know where you are sailing, you’ll never have tailwind.
Fun fact about me you haven’t asked for #2:
To continue the tradition of countering the impersonal character of the online world, here’s another fact about me you haven’t asked for.
I’m a perfect example of “what happens if you don’t know where you are sailing” (spoiler alert: a lot of time wasted).
First, I got a degree in English and International Economic Relations. But then I thought it was lame, and got a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. After years of working as a software engineer and IT consultant, I decided that wasn’t something I’d like to spend my life doing either.
So after several more years of contemplation, I finally decided to ditch the corporate world and “this is how everybody does it” environment, and become a solopreneur web consultant.
And it is only now that I finally get to do exciting things that make a difference.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Struggles?
This was one long post, huh! I’m glad you stayed with me till the end. It was as usual nice talking to you. I wish you could respond and tell me what you think of it. Was it helpful? Is something unclear? Did I forget something? Leave me a comment below. I always reply.