The Target Audience in Digital Marketing: Who, What, Where, When, Why

target audience

Do you ever find yourself saying this: “But I want everyone to buy my product/service…”

Here’s the problem with that. If you target everyone, you’ll reach no one. It’s like the classic saying, Jack of all trades, master of none.

People buy things when they feel like what’s on offer resonates with them specifically and makes sense in their lives. They buy when it feels like you’re talking to them and only them, highlighting their unique problems and hidden desires. That is the key to advertising online.

Knowing your target audience will help you to understand your customers, create effective marketing strategies, and sell with more ease.

So let’s uncover exactly how to define yours.

Finding Your Target Audience: Creating a Buyer Persona

There are 3 different levels to this, but sometimes the terms are used interchangeably: target market, target audience, and buyer persona.

Your target market is the broader audience you want to reach. For example, if you sell sportswear, your target market is people interested in fitness.

Within the market, there are multiple potential audiences. Continuing with the sportswear example, your audience might be fashionable sportswear for females, slogan tees for bodybuilders, or maternity-focused for new or expecting moms.

And to take things one step further, you can use your audience to create a buyer persona a fictional avatar of someone in your target audience (you can even give them a name!).

Who Are They?

This is all about figuring out who your target audience is, and also who they’re not. Discovering who isn’t a good fit for your business is equally important.

A good starting point is looking at your existing customers and social followers and identifying any common themes. This will help you feel less like you’re making it up because you’ll actually have some tangible data to look at.

Market and competitor research is highly valuable here too. Look at the types of people that are engaging with your competitors on social media platforms. What do they have in common?

The who is all about demographics like gender, age, career/income, and location.

Focus on your ideal consumer rather than the customer if they might be different. The consumer is the person who uses your product, the customer is the person that pays. If you sell jewelry for women, the consumer would be the woman who wears it, but the customer might be a man who buys it for her.

What Do They Want?

Pain points are things that your target audience struggles with, and desires are things that your audience wants.

Pain points and desires are referred to often in marketing because they’re such a powerful way to connect with your customers. In your marketing, you need to focus on how to help your customers either overcome pain or reach a desire/goal. Always position yourself as the solution.

If your target audience is busy and time-poor, solutions could be your fast food business or your productivity software. Focus on the fact that they are busy in your marketing and build to the fact that your business is the answer.

What interests and hobbies do your audience have? What would resonate with them? Knowing this allows you to be in the right place at the right time, and say the right things.

Where Can You Find Them?

Where does your audience hang out online and get their information? What social media platforms are they using? This will support you in having a presence in the right places and choosing the right platforms for your social media marketing.

This can also tell you what websites, companies, and influencers you can partner with. If you are a brand that sells hair products, you may be able to collaborate with a brand that sells hair accessories, or a hair influencer who resonates with your audience.

Look at what types of content and topics are working well for your target audience, as this will inform your social media advertising and your organic social strategy.

When Are They Around?

Data and analytics can empower decision-making around your target audience, and one example of that is knowing what days of the week and time of day is best for posting content.

Use your social analytics to figure out the best time to post content and engage with your audience with comments, polls, and games. Then use your website analytics to look at how long people are spending on your site and when they’re buying. This takes your audience knowledge to the next level.

What is the time frame between someone in your audience discovering your brand and them purchasing from you? This is useful knowledge for forecasting how new social followers and email subscribers will convert to paying customers.

Why Should They Choose You?

If you don’t have a unique selling point, you need one. This is all about what makes you stand out in the market, and why your audience should choose you. Why are you a good fit for your audience over your competitors?

Your audience may also have concerns or questions they want to ask before they want to buy from you. Knowing these allows you to eliminate them on your website and in your content to create a smoother and more frictionless purchase journey.

Reaching Your Audience: Next Steps

When you’re creating a target audience or buyer persona, the more detail the better! More is more! Some people write pages and pages about their audience’s dreams and goals, because the more you can resonate with your audience, the easier it is to sell to them.

Remember, there is always a fight for your audience’s eyeballs and attention. Knowing your audience inside and out will help you to get their attention with less effort.

Your audience knowledge will inform your overall marketing strategy, telling you how to connect with your audience, where to find them, and when.

If you need support with strategy and digital advertising, reach out to us today to find out how we can help you.

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