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In order to have a successful business, you need customers willing to purchase what you are offering. It can often be tempting to try to reach everyone; however, you can’t be for everyone. If you are trying to speak to everyone, you are really speaking to no one. People may see your website, ads, and social media, but if you don’t have a specific audience in mind in every aspect of your branding and marketing, your content won’t resonate with anyone. You need to truly understand who you are talking to if you want to accurately get your message across to them.

Discovering your target audience is the foundation you need to grow your brand. Knowing your target audience drives your brand messaging, dictates your voice, and guides your brand and marketing strategies. You want to target and attract the right audience.

But what is your target audience? Target market, target audience, and ideal client are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are all different subsets that work together as a part of your overall marketing strategy.

A target market is a broad group of people that a company wants to sell to. Your target market includes your products, your competition, and your intended clients. While a target audience is a more specific group of the target market that the company expects to actually buy the product. Your target audience is a specific part of the target market group that you create marketing messages for. Your ideal client is an even more specific persona of your target audience. All three are important to know and understand in order to effectively market and sell your products and services.

Steps to find your target audience:

+ Use Google Analytics to learn details about the demographics and interests of your target audience. This tool allows you to see website interactions and break them down into categories like age, gender, location, etc.

+ Use analytical tools from social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to analyze who engages with your content and what content performs well. Who is currently following you? What are they searching for? What pain points do they have? These insights can also give you an idea of what is currently working and what’s not working in your marketing strategy.

+ Engage with your current social media audience. See who they are following, and analyze what they are engaging with. Interact with your followers. Use engagement stickers and a call to action to help you decipher how to attract more potential clients.

+ Survey and interview current clients (or if you don’t have any yet, survey people you think would be ideal clients). Look for trends in customer feedback. The human connection and personal feedback are invaluable when collecting data to specify your target audience and ideal client.

+ Analyze your current or potential client’s behavior. What do they search for? What problems do they have? What information do they look for related to your service or product? What are their motivations, values, and behaviors?

+ Know your competition - research competitors. Pay attention to what marketing techniques they are using. When you know your competition, you can know how to position yourself differently.

+ Know who your ideal client is not! While it’s important to find out who your customer is, it’s also important to find out who your customer isn’t. This can help give you insight into who you serve and how to better market to them. It’s okay to be selective!

Once you have an idea of your target audience, you can use that to create a specific persona of your ideal client. Collect demographic data such as hobbies, age, gender, cultural references, geographic location, key traits, and characteristics. Make a specific and clear picture of the person you are speaking to, and even give them a name.

When creating your specific persona, start by thinking about yourself. Most likely you created your business or product out of your own need or the need of someone close to you. What were your problems and how did you find a solution? What are the benefits of your product or service? If you need more guidance creating and connecting with your ideal client, check out our goodies page for a free exercise. We’d love to chat with you after, free of charge, about your new or existing brand.

Once you know your ideal client, think about how you can relate to and connect with them to build trust and reliability. Use storytelling and be personable and authentic. Remember, your clients want to know who they are buying from.

In everything you create, do so with your target audience in mind. Your entire brand collateral, from your tone and voice all the way to your brand colors, should appeal to and relate to your target audience and ideal client. After you discover your target audience, find out where they most often consume content so you can meet them where they are and effectively engage with your ideal client with effective marketing strategies.

As a small business owner, you have a greater ability to connect with customers on a personal level. Build relationships and speak to the heart of your target audience and ideal client. Don’t skip over the refinement stage. Take the time to analyze your data, be specific, and discover your target audience. Remember as your business grows and changes, your target audience’s needs may grow and change too! Revisit your data and your target audience qualities often to continue to refine and connect with your ideal client.


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