How to define your target audience

As a business owner, it's impossible to please everyone, no matter how hard you try. By choosing your target market carefully, though, and then honing it down, you can please all of the right people.
Understanding who your target audience is, and what they want from your company, will help you create an effective and successful marketing campaign. It will also help you develop better products and services to begin with. So how do you go about learning?

Start by looking close to home

First, examine your own approach, and look carefully at what it is you want to sell. You won't be able to understand who your company appeals to unless you know your own products inside out.
Ideally, you need to know what it is that makes your product stand out from the competition. Identify your unique selling point(s) (USPs) - what problems do you solve that your peers don't? It could just be that you're cheaper, or your product has some impressive capabilities that can't be found anywhere else.

Use the data!

If you've started selling already, it's important to look at who's buying what. Use your sales figures to find patterns, then go a few steps further by delving into the personal information at your fingertips. Consider gender, age, occupation and anything else you can legally access from surveys, mailing list registrations and website data.
Social media is a handy tool here; it gives you a chance to listen in on the conversations of potential customers. What questions are they asking? What other brands do they follow? How active are they online? The answers to all of these will help you get a better idea of who it is you should be targeting.
Before doing this, you'll need to determine where your audience are active on the internet. Younger audiences tend to prefer Instagram, while slightly older consumers are more likely to be on Facebook, for example.

Paint a picture

Every single member of your audience will be different, but there will also be plenty of shared interests, characteristics and traits. With these in mind, you should be able create some persona profiles of your main types of customers. You might end up with Mandy, who is 35-45 years old, lives in the city and likes to stay on top of the latest technology, for example - or something similar. It's worth noting that many companies have more than one target audience persona, so don't be surprised if you end up with two, three or many more.
This, once again, will help you target your marketing efforts appropriately; you'll know what people want to hear, and what they expect to get from your products. Every blog post and promotional contact should be created with this in mind.
Very few businesses are able to cast their nets as far and wide as Coca-Cola, or Facebook; and even these companies have people who fall outside of their main audience groups. If you're going to develop your own organisation into an industry leader, you need to refine your focus a little. The tips above should help you do just that.

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