Who Are Your Customers? How To Identify Your Target Audience

If your business is targeting everyone, then you are targeting no one. Read that again. If you don’t have a well-defined snapshot of who your target audience is, we’re going to help get you there! Knowing this will help you cut through the noise and meet the exact needs of your customer.

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Identifying Your Target Audience

Sarah: Hey, everybody! We want to talk about something that we’ve touched on before, but we really want to kind of swing back around and talk about it a little bit more in-depth, because there’s really something for everybody on today’s show. So, really no matter what business you’re in, the more you know about your customers, the faster you can pinpoint how to reach them. Today we’re going to talk about some really great ways to help you find your target audience. We’re going to show you exactly how to do it.

Glyna: Good morning! Welcome to Marketing Mix. Yes, you are at the right place. Every week, we’re going to concentrate on different segments of digital marketing just for you guys. We’re going to mix it up. That’s where the “mix” comes in in Marketing Mix. We could do Q &A’s, we could do trends, reviews, tips. You just never know what we’re going to be talking about. So Sarah, can you pull up our social media platforms, please?

Sarah: That’s right. You never know. Okay! Everybody make sure you know, we go live every week on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. And you got to subscribe to our podcast, Marketing and a Mic. It’s a great little show to listen to while you’re driving in the car, sitting in your office. Also, follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram, because all of our shows are posted there afterward. And don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Marketing Mix, we’re always putting out videos. I know for a fact I’m working on several right now. So, we’ve got some really good stuff in the works. I said I’m on a video train in our meeting earlier today.

Glyna: You are on the video train! Poor Sarah, she’s in video you-know-what, but hey, it’s all worth it!

Sarah: It’s all worth it, that’s right and I enjoy it. So we come across this more than you would think. When you’re building a digital marketing program, really whatever piece you are developing, hey, you want to know, do you know who your customer is? Why does that help? That’s information that we need to know as far as online ads and SEO and just so much stuff of who you’re going to target so you make sure that the right eyes are seeing your business. But a lot of clients just don’t know. And it’s kind of that thing of if you’re targeting everyone, you’re targeting no one because you don’t really have a plan and you need to know how to find them. So, today we’re going to talk about some great ways that you can collect that data and use it for your marketing.

Glyna: Yeah, and I thought this was kind of the craziest thing ever because we went for years and years and years if anybody asked us what our customer base was, or, “Who’s your prospect? Who’s the best person that you can sell to?” I would always tell them it’s kind of hard because we can sell to anybody. Everybody’s our prospect. While that may be true, we didn’t really think about our target audience and who we really should be focused on until we worked with Gene Lewis. Remember that? That was so much with the power strategies. It was so fun and we had this huge workshop. Oh my gosh, how many hours did we spend on that?

Sarah: It was several weeks of us doing this. And he gave us homework and there was a lot of kind of unveiling and fact-finding.

target audience

Start With Your Current Customers

Glyna: Yeah, it was really cool! So, we’re going to kind of run through a little bit of that today. And if you want to get hooked up with Gene to do a more in-depth segment, he can help you out. But it was eye-opening for us as Fusion One Marketing, to be able to really concentrate on a good demographic for us instead of just throwing what do they say? “Just throwing stuff up against the wall to see what sticks”. So, what Gene had us do and what everyone should do, if you don’t really know who your current customer base is or who you should be targeting is stop for a little bit and look at who are your current customers right now. You’d be surprised at all the similarities that are going to come around once you start really looking. So you want to look at the characteristics of your top existing customers and see what’s common between all of them. Now, you can break them up into segments, and this is important to do. First of all, what products are they buying? What products or services are they buying from you? How often are they buying? And what are the price points? How much are they spending? This is going to help you determine specific levels of buying potentials. It’s really important to get that info gathered so it gives you a good start.

Sarah: Yeah. It kind of helps you find your sweet spot, of what’s sort of the behavior patterns of your current customers. And then you want to start kind of collecting that data. Some things you want to determine is what products are selling better and who’s buying them. When are they buying them? Is it a certain time of year that you do better with certain products? Is it a certain event that goes on or something in their lives that really pushes that particular product a lot more? What’s the average spend? That’s another thing. You really kind of want to find your benchmarks of what is the price point that your customers really respond to? And what time of year does your business really do the best? Again, when you break it up like that, it can be really revealing of sort of what’s going on with your business the entire year.

Determine Who Benefits from Your Product/Service

Glyna: Yeah, that’s very important. And as Sarah said at the very beginning, you have to know exactly what’s your best chance of making a sale. Again, if you’re targeting everybody, it’s just not going to work as well as if you really hone-in on specific demographics. So let’s talk about this a little bit more. Let’s determine who benefits from your product or service. That sounds kind of silly, but you may think everybody needs what you do, but what you need to determine is who needs it the most. And that’s what we did. We sat down again, part of those hours and hours and hours of looking at this, we had to determine who can use this the most, and who’s going to benefit? First, you need to identify who has a need for your product, who really think about the features of your products, followed by the benefits, not only who may need it, but who’s going to benefit from it. That may be different when you really put it on paper. That may be different than what you’re thinking in your head all along once you start analyzing this. All right, pain points. What type of customer can you solve a problem for? You may think, yeah, we do marketing. We do digital marketing, everybody needs it and that may be true, but who can we really help the most? Then identify the purchase path or buying cycle. As you just said a minute ago, what time of year are they buying? When are they going to need it? What do customers put into consideration before they buy? And then what’s really important is what are their stages of purchase? Because determining the buying cycle is another huge thing for your business, because if it takes four months to close a deal for a certain demographic, you might want to look for a demographic that you can close the deal with in a little it less time. Otherwise, you’re going to be stretching yourself out there. So you want to look at buying cycles of different types of people. So get your awareness, your consideration, and then how are the decisions and how fast are the decisions being made?

Sarah: That is so true. I mean, this is really just so that you keep from spinning your wheels. I think we really uncovered that too when we were working with Gene, of okay, there are maybe some certain industries that really, it’s just too much. It’s kind of too much effort. Maybe it’s not the right time, whatever it is, we kind of uncovered that we’re spending too much time on this when there are other industries that are responding to it. So, it’s just becoming more of a benefit. So, the purchase intention. The reason why you want to focus on the purchase intention is that you want to know what do these particular customers gain from choosing you over the competitor? What’s the main feature? What is it that I have that is sort of my carrot, that the other competitors don’t offer? And also, in addition to that, you want to talk about the behaviors this is when you get into the customer persona. You’ve got your products and features that you think are great, but what’s the one thing that seems to be pulling them in? Then you want to take all this, and this is when you slowly start putting together that buyer persona, which is what are their behaviors, what are their pain points? And all of this kind of helps you tailor the messages of your marketing, of your social media, of your online ads. Once you do all this because you’re kind of knowing, hey, this is what they respond to. So I’m going to put my text and my messages catered to those specific key points.

Conduct Market Research on Your Own Company

Glyna: Exactly. And I’ll tell you, I was the first one to fight this, trying to come up with our demographics, because I was thinking, “Everybody needs what we do. I don’t want to cut off certain demographics just to hone in on one industry,” but you can’t think about it that way. You can still sell to everybody when that comes up. But again, it’s all about, as you said, stop spinning your wheels, spend your time which none of us have spend the little bit of time that you have where it’s going to make the biggest difference. So, where can you start? All right, let’s conduct market research on your own company, really is what you’re going to do, and find out exactly what are your strong points and how you can present it to your prospects. First thing, fact-finding about your company. You need to really put in the work, putting these things down on paper. I mean not just think about this, really put a whole plan together. What does your company really represent? I think we spent four hours coming up with a mission statement. I don’t know, it seemed like even longer than that.

Sarah: Oh gosh. It was wild because it was this whole thing of taking a part of what’s your mission statement, putting it down. Every single part of your business consolidated. It was hard for us. I mean we all had to do our separate ideas, and then come together and compare answers, which was kind of entertaining to see what our similarities and differences of how we think the company is.

Glyna: Yeah, exactly. So you need to know what you represent. What is your mission statement? What is the value of your company? Put that down in words. The next thing is to determine key questions. What do you want to be known for? And again, this can come into your mission statement. What do you want to be known for? What do you want people to say about you? What are your expectations? And is your brand in the line with the current market trends? We have to make sure what you’re selling, your brand represents that as best as it can. All right, now this is a biggie. We had to stop and think about how others perceive us, that you can have great reviews and everything, but you really need to look at those and uncover the brand message. Is your message aligning with your audience? Is your mission statement aligning with your audience? Really think these things through. It seems really simple, but it’s not really simple when you get down to it.

Sarah: That’s where the disconnect can come in, is “here’s our brand message, here’s what we’re about”. But the other piece of it is if a customer’s out there and they’re describing your business, are they describing it accurately? And if they perceive you differently, then that’s where the disconnect is. So you want to make sure it’s very clear and clear enough that your customers, who are kind of like your mini-ambassadors, ‘They’re kind of saying it correctly. So another piece that we did was the SWAT analysis. If you’ve never heard of that before, that’s SWAT, which is strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This we spent a good portion on, because it was so eye-opening, of here’s what we offer, here are some opportunities, based determining our mission statement and really who we are, what our niche is. And then on top of that, well, what are the weaknesses? What do we not have within the company that’s going to hinder us from achieving those business goals as a company? And so that’s what’s really, really important. So you really just have to peel back your company. Now that you’ve kind of identified what you are, then the next part is, well, if we want to get to that next point, are we equipped? And if we aren’t equipped with it, what do we need? And also, this goes without saying, is you need to check out your competition. So, we all have our little competitors that we’re just checking on online. What are they doing now? What’s going on? If they’ve got customers and their target audience is responding to what they’re doing, then they’ve got it going on. So, you want to take a look at what they’re putting out there. If they are selling a similar product and they had been for years, then they probably know their audience well. Take a look at the content they’re putting out there, how they’re delivering it, because obviously what they’re doing is hitting the eyes of the exact customer that they’re looking to capture.

Glyna: Yeah, or how you can do it better. It’s kind of like when I talk to businesses, they’re like, “Well, I have these competitors,” and so what we want to do is look at those competitors, figure out what they’re doing, then one-up them, to make sure that you’re showing up and you’re doing better than they are. But that was kind of fun! We determined who our competition was and what’s kind of funny, I don’t know if it’s that I live in my own little bubble, but I never worry about our competition. I just go with what we know. I just forge ahead and not worry about what they’re doing, but it was still very important to lay them all out, or who we thought was our competition, what are they selling? How are they selling it? As Sarah said, kind of do some social media stalking, figure out how they’re –

Sarah: It’s healthy, just a healthy amount of stalking.

Glyna: Stalking is healthy. I don’t care what anybody tells you. Just do it.

Sarah: Just don’t get caught! I’m just kidding!

Study Your Analytics

Glyna: It’s all about studying, okay. We did determine that some of our competition wasn’t doing a very good job at portraying what they needed to be. So, that gave us the opportunity to say, “Let’s do that better.” So it helped us fill in a lot of holes. It was just kind of fun to look at your competition and really figure out how you can one-up them or best them. All right, so we’ve done all that. Now you need to just study your analytics. Analytics tells you a lot. Look at past behaviors. And Google Analytics is a huge, huge tool. If you don’t have Google Analytics on your website, you need to have that. It tells you all kinds of things. In fact, it’s a great tool for getting demographic details about your audience, and then also what they’re interested in. You can view website stats, you can tell where people are coming from. You can break it down from age, gender, location. Oh my gosh, let me tell you, those analytics, it’s its own course. You can get lost in those analytics, and it can tell you so much. Take time to really look at it and understand it. It really helps you determine who’s coming to your site and what’s attracting them.

Sarah: Absolutely and social media! Social media also has great analytics, and they continue to sort of add new features and go a little bit more in-depth into your insights of who your followers are, what they’re engaging on? What are they reacting the most to? Is it a funny meme? Is it a “Bernie” meme? Yeah, is it polls? Is it an article? Is it product features? What are they responding to? Also, keep in mind that every social media channel is different. We say this all the time. They’re going to have a slightly different audience, so you want to make sure that you’re looking into those analytics across the board. They are, they’re very, very helpful of kind of knowing what am I putting out there? What are they responding to? Now that I’ve kind of done this research a little bit, is what I’m putting out there on social media mirroring that, mirroring the demographics? It’s really important and really good stuff.

Glyna: Yeah, exactly. And especially Facebook. Facebook analytics can tell you so much. I love opening up our post analytics because you can open up all your posts or all your most or I guess the posts that you’ve done most recently. And you can look at it’s just a little graph showing you how much participation and all of that that each post had. Facebook insights, it’s essentially a dashboard with a ton of insights. It breaks down demographics, again, age, gender, location, and just a general summary. A lot of times people ask me, “What should I advertise on Facebook?” Well again, I would look back at your analytics and see what got the most attention. What should I boost? That’s another huge thing on Facebook. Well again, go back to your insights. All that stuff’s there and it’s free. You don’t even have to pay for it. See what’s performing the most and do more of that.

Sarah: Yeah, exactly. And you bring a good point. A lot of this that we’re talking about today, is stuff that’s at your fingertips. This is the stuff that you can do and uncover, and all of this stuff is going to help you for free, really, to kind of get your target audience really mapped out. This is another really important one, which is to analyze your customer feedback. Now, I’m not talking about just your own customer feedback. You should do that. So when people are giving their critiques and their input on stuff, that’s important. That’s helping you kind of know, all right, they’re in the comment box, they’re telling me things that they’re noticing that I don’t have that they need. I think another really neat thing to do is to join community groups and check out the conversations. This can be a little bit of that stalking, in a way. But there’s a lot of forums out there that’ll be talking about  they’re talking about topics. So you can kind of come in there just like a what would be the word? Silent participants, so to speak, and just kind of see what they’re talking about. What do they say about your industry? It doesn’t have to be specifically your company, but you can kind of get a general idea of what’s the conversation out there? What are the things that they’re talking about? What are their buzz words? What are they bringing up that they need or don’t need? And also just engage with social media with young followers. Ask them some questions. “Hey guys, I’m curious about this. What do you guys think?” Everybody loves to give an opinion, everybody. Love to.

Glyna: That is true.

Sarah: Yeah, solicited or not, they want to tell you something. So ask if you’ve got certain questions of, “Do you guys like this? What’s it missing?” People will tell you. It’s great for that fact-finding.

Create a Demographic Profile on Your Target Audience

Glyna: Yeah, exactly. All right. So after you’ve analyzed all this data, you should have enough info to create your own persona or your demographic profile, as we say. If you’ve ever played a video game, you know that you have to go in there and you have to create your character. This is exactly what we’re talking about. We really want you to think about what does your customer look like? You could even say my customer, whether it’s male, female, what kind of business they’re in, you can even get down to I even see them driving this kind of vehicle. What are the things that all of your customers or that your demographic has in common? Be as detailed as you can be. I mean, age, behavior, their income, their spending power, their patterns, their interests. There are so many things that you can look at to put together your perfect customer. The more you know that then the more you’re going to know what your target audience is.

Sarah: Absolutely. When you do that, dig a little deeper and find what their interests are. That may seem kind of silly, but let me tell you when you know what their hobbies are, then you know where to find them, then you kind of know where they’re hanging out. That helps you cater your message. If you find that your group, they’re in this age range and that they tend to like doing these things, you can cater your messaging to that, so that they’re going to look at it. I mean it could be down to their interests or do they like traveling? Are they outdoorsy? Again, it just helps you kind of work that into your messaging. I like this too, this other part, which is to determine your subcategories. Now, this is really interesting, because this is where you can create suggested products or services based on that broader interest. I’ll give you an example. We all go on Netflix and we pick our shows. As we’re watching our shows, we always see at the bottom that scroll, that suggested shows that you might like. Well, where do they get that from? They get that because they’ve been seeing our patterns. They see the shows that we like. So they’ll say, “Hey, Glyna, we noticed you like this cooking show ” I know but that’s probably not what you’re watching, but –

Glyna: Everybody’s like  no.

Sarah: Clearly you don’t know me at all. Yeah, you missed the mark. So, once they do that, what are they doing? They’re collecting data. Then they can say, “Hey, can we suggest this to you? Because we see that you like these shows, and then based on that ” so this will help you with your products of, “Hey, I saw that you really liked this service. Can I offer you this add on? Can I offer you this new service?” Because you know it aligns with what they’re already interested in, it’s perfect. So these are kind of your subcategories.

Send Out A Survey

Glyna: Yeah, exactly. And again, it’s all in the analytics. You can even have tools on your website that can determine what pages they visited. Also, have a lot of opt-ins if they’re interested in a certain product or service. It’s stuff that you can track. Now, you can survey your own customers, which is going to be very it’s going to give you a lot of information and be very revealing, or it can be if you do it the right way. Okay, let’s talk about the questions that you want to ask these people. The first one would be, how did you hear about us? Again, this tells you where they found you online. Again, where should you be targeting? You want to do more of that. What attracted you to us? This is going to identify why they bought the features and benefits that they’re interested in. What influenced your purchase the most? Then, who were you buying the product for? Or why were you buying the product? It determines the purchasing power, and again, what demographic out there has the purchasing power that aligns with your products and services and their price, for that matter. Can they afford it or not?

Sarah: Right, exactly. Am I pricing this too high, too low? Whatever it is. How often do you use the product? This is good. This is good for x frequency. So, then you can kind of know-how often you can pester them again or remind them again, “Hey, it’s been three months,” whatever it is. So that’s really important. This is a big one too. What would you like to see that we don’t currently offer? So this determines your pain points. This is a really good question in determining those pain points, “So I see you’re buying it, but what are some things that you don’t see in my inventory, so to speak, that you’d like to see?” If you see a lot of commonalities, that’s when we go back to the customer commonalities of these threads. If there’s a lot of that same answer, then hey, this might be something I need to introduce. Again, we’ve talked about this before, what are your hobbies? This helps for future messaging. From here, you could kind of help build that buyer persona, which is that kind of complete profile that you create off the data that you are collecting. As you said before about that video game, my kids are playing video games all the time, more than they probably should. Quarantine, you know. But they do, they get to create their own characters. So they piece it together, and they piece it together, occupation and all of these things. And so you’re starting off with this blank-slate, but hopefully, by the end of all of this, you have this clear picture by all of these different tools of this is who I need to be focusing on. Like your point, you’re going to get others, but it’s really important to know that you are not missing your bread and butter.

Glyna: Oh, I like that. Who’s your bread and butter? Exactly. Where do you make your money? That’s what I always ask people when I first start talking to them. What is it that you want to sell the most? Let’s find out who’s buying it or who should be buying it to find out who we can target. I hope this helps a little bit. Again, you could spend hours and hours and hours on this, like we did when we went through Gene Lewis’ program. If you want more info on him, just let me know, I can hook you up. You really just need to stop for a minute and figure out who are the best people that you can target that will buy what you have to offer. Simple as that, but you really need to put a little thought into it. As always, if you want help with this or anything about digital marketing, we’re all here at Fusion One Marketing, and our team is here to help you. We do free consultations. In fact, it’s one of our favorite things to do, is to really brainstorm with you. We would love to help you out with this or anything else you need. So we will be back again next week, next Friday at eight o’clock for our next digital marketing segment on Marketing Mix.

Sarah: Talk to you all later. Bye!