Finding Your Target Audience is essential to growing your brand. Learn how to create a ‘recipe’ to cook up perfect content every time.
Whether you’re a business, creator or artist, knowing who your audience is from the beginning is key to creating great content that feels natural, informs them, and hopefully helps them live their best lives.
When your audience feels connected to you and your brand, they will become loyal viewers, customers and evangelists beyond any holiday sale or 2-for-1 offer and will stand by your brand in times of uncertainty, giving you a return on ad spend so powerful it almost feels like cheating.
The key to this? Starting the right way by finding the perfect audience for your brand through asking yourself the right questions about who your audience really is. These answers will help you create a perfect “recipe” for your brand that anyone can follow to cook up killer creative content.
In this guide, we’re going to help you create that “perfect recipe” to find the right audience and content to keep them coming back for more.
Ready to create that perfect content for your audience? Let’s get cooking.
Target Audience vs. Personas: What’s the difference?
First, there IS a difference: too often people confuse Personas with a Target Audience and waste their efforts by confusing the wrong things.
It seems complex, but in reality it’s simple.
A target audience is a segment of customers or consumers that your brand focuses their marketing on to drive awareness.
Basically, it’s a long hand way to say: people who will, eventually, buy from you.
But this is more than just identifying “demand for a product”.
An audience is a defined group of people with the same goals, problems, language and other factors whose lives or businesses will be improved by you.
Think of it like this: everyone needs to eat, but only some people will eat pizza for dinner.
If you target people who don’t share the same aspirations or problems, your message wont connect, your marketing won’t come off as authentic, and your brand will suffer.
But before we dive into the details on finding your target audience, let’s first go over “personas” because, and let’s repeat this once again:
There is difference between a target audience and a persona
Target audiences are built on DEMOGRAPHICS like:
- Content Viewing Habits (Men’s Fitness Magazine)
Example: Men, 20-30 years old, living in Los Angeles with a business degree, monthly income of $6,000+ and interested in home fitness.
You can see how specific the “ingredients” are for reaching your customer using technology. But if you lose focus on your audience persona amongst so many statistics, you can spend and spend to reach more and more people, but you will find it impossible to reach the right people in all the noise.
How do we know this person cares about safety while running?
You will need to choose the right ingredients for your recipe to work and balance them correctly between the how you reach them and what
PERSONAS ARE NOT AUDIENCES
Personas are fictional characters with characteristics of your real customers, but distilled into creating an ideal customer. Personas are like our flavours: bold, bright, spicy, warm or refreshing.
Personas are based on PSYCHO-GRAPHICS
Since Personas are developed based on your target audience research (or, the ingredients), they can become a handy guide to stay on message and create content that connects without becoming too focused on any one DEMOGRAPHIC.
A persona needs much deeper and more detailed research than the target audience since it includes:
- Personal characteristics
- Purchasing power
- Engagement in social networks
- Professional information
You cannot ‘target’ a persona with digital advertising, but you can ‘connect’ with them through specific colors, creative, copyrighting or other visual cues, much like flavours are conveyed with colours on food packaging, or personality traits through the clothing we wear.
Persona example: Sage, 32, personal trainer, Lives in Toronto. Has a nutrition degree. Has a blog and posts fitness tutorials and tips about cooking and wellness. They follow fitness events in the area and participate in virtual meetings with other people in the wellness space. As a creator, they care a lot about what people see on their social profiles. Likes to decorate their home and paint in their spare time.
Remember how we targeted the Fitness Enthusiast above? Much as we can’t identify what sport they play with demographics, we also cannot locate where they live, guess their age or education with a persona.
You need both halves to make a whole audience!
So: what is the main difference between persona and target audience?
A target audience considers the wide view of your potential audience, in a more general way that is reachable with technical means, while the persona has a more specific form and is best able to be reached through creative choices.
And if you want help creating personas for business, check out this article about creating the perfect persona or give us a call.
Choosing the right audience.
Once you know your target audience, it’s easy to find what they’re looking for with Keyword Research or using tools like Facebook IQ to find similar interests.
The moment you know your target audience, you can perform research correctly and find opportunities that don’t just drive traffic: they drive revenue.
For example, our Fitness Influencer, Sage, wouldn’t be a good target content on working from home, even with a high search volume: it’s just not relevant to their audience.
So how do we do this?
How to define your target audience
It’s actually easier than you think, it just involves asking the right questions: ask yourself each one below, give it some thought, and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to your perfect audience.
Who is the type of person who will identify with your brand?
Take time to review the followers of your social media: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube: it doesn’t matter what network you prefer.
Look at their similar follows, the brands they engage in, the businesses they respond to.
If someone is willing to engage with your brand on social, chances are they are already your target.
However, your ideal audience may not always be on social media. They might be inactive on social media, or active on a channel you aren’t, but buy from your company frequently or sign up for your services. Alternatively, your audience may be social power users, but your company creates a physical experience that may not resonate on a small screen.
It will be up to you to find out these traits and incorporate them into your own ‘recipe’.
BRANDS ARE BUILT AFTER THE SALE
There is no point in making a great effort to sell if you don’t make a similar effort to keep the customers you have already gained.
Customers like to feel special, and that is why the post-sales process is so important to building your brand.
Your relationship with the customer must continue to grow even after the purchase is completed.
How have you created your packaging? Your welcome emails? What is the tone you great new customers with or thank them for their purchase?
Remember: this too iss ‘content’ that your users will see!
2. What do they need?
What is new, interesting, and good for you might not always be good for the customer, much like cooking with spice: what you find spicy may be mild to others, or vice versa.
Don’t make offers based on what you think people will want. Make them according to research grounded in data, previous experiences, and analysis of your potential customers’ behavior.
Understand the greatest difficulties your audience faces to try to help solve them.
See what they aspire too, or what worries them.
Watch what products they share on social media.
There are countless ways to identify these needs within your audience and add them to your recipe.
3. Where do they find the information they need daily?
Everyone needs information, from what to wear today, what to eat, where to live or what to watch. But where do you go to find information when you need it?
Think about the communication channels used most frequently by your target audience and try to talk to them using a specific language from their universe.
Are the video viewers? Readers? Listeners? Find out how your audience consumes content and go where they are!
4. What is the benefit of your product?
All products serve the same purpose: to solve a problem, whether that problem is “I’m hungry right now” or “I need to learn to cook underwater”. Everyone wants solutions for their problems, to share experiences, and to make their lives easier.
So think a little deeper about your product and the problems your target audience face. What benefit do you offer? What can your brand do to help solve their problems?
This doesn’t stop with your product or service!
With a world stuffed with so much competition, you must try to find your own “secret ingredient” in your niche, always try to improve your product, adding something special that others do not.
It can be donating a portion of your profits to social causes, or helping your users connect through online forums or workshops with product owners.
Great brands are more than a logo or a catalog of products, they become part of their audiences lives.
5. What draws their attention negatively?
Nobody likes a debbie downer, but don’t discount negative traits that may help you define an audience.
Sometimes finding the right meal is easier by deciding what you don’t want to eat!
Considering what your audience wants might be an unending buffet of options, but you can consider what they don’t want, what they consider as negative, and what they avoid at all costs!
Negatives are actually powerful information for brand builders when building their personas.
Some people are hard to please, but by avoiding what they consider negative you can forge the first step to gain their trust.
Are they concerned about pollution or packing waste? Do they want a cruelty-free guarantee or do they hate celebrity endorsements? You may save yourself a lot of headaches by including some “DO NOTS” in your recipe!
6. Who do they trust?
Trust is everything to your audience. No one purchases a product or service from a company or acts on a creators recommendation if they don’t have trust in them.
This is why reviews on Amazon or Google are so important: building trust in brands is only a click away, and it’ why you will order delivery from a new restaurant without trying it in person!
Even though this is the last question to define target audiences, it is one of the most important ones.
This is why the reputation of your company is so important. Taking care of the relationship with your customers is essential as they will spread information about your brand on the internet and to their friends and family.
If you get good reviews, have positive comments, and garner a great reputation, this will be the base for potential customers to feel motivated to buy from you, and, this good will will carry on during times of uncertainty.
Share these reviews, thanks or other messages in your content to help build that trust and add a little “authenticity” to your perfect audience targeting recipe.
Cooking up content for your audience
Now that we have found your audience, let’s get to the fun stuff: cooking up some tasty content for them to consume.
Marketers craft thousands of pieces of content every day, just look at any search result or the feed of any social network to see for yourself how much is out there.
Our goal is to create content that is customized for your ideal customer, and only your ideal customer.
Sure, low-hanging content like “best headphones” lists or flashy “Free shipping” offers may produce more traffic for a sports headphone company, but it will also produce fewer sales.
There’s no question: Gone are the days of trying to rise to the top of Google or YouTube results with simple search terms like “Best Headphones”.
The real question is how you can make brand content more personalized, rewarding and valuable for your audience.
For Aftershokz, a popular sports headphone brand, Abacus worked to identify what sports were most likely to need ‘sound on’ while still remaining safe to enjoy. From there, we produced content that only spoke to the cyclist, the boxer or the runner etc…creating a more authentic connection and achieving incredible results.
By researching what their audience truly wanted in their products, Aftershokz and Abacus were able to find the perfect blend of creative (psychographic) and technical (demographic) traits and connect with their audience like never before.
Finding Content Ideas
A quick tip to find what your target audience is searching for: use tools like Google Search Console or Ubersuggest.
Just type in a keyword related to your audience to get a better sense of what their needs are by seeing what questions your audience is asking.
We recommend that you go after the long-tail terms, such as “best earbuds for running” (assuming your target audience is like ours above).
The more generic terms like “best earbuds” will drive traffic and a few sales, but it won’t convert as well as more specific terms, and you’ll go broke trying to reach everyone.
What type of content should I create?
Once you have a list of keywords you want to target, you might be confused as to what type of content you should be creating.
You’ll want to create content based on the marketing funnel. In essence, you want to cover each step of the funnel.
The top of the funnel involves content created for visitors, that is, people that might access your site, blog, or social networks by chance or through a social search. This is where your visual identity or brand tone are most important, as they act like a “first impression” (and we all know there’s no second chances for a first impression!)
When thinking about brand awareness at the top of the funnel, the idea is to create materials with more general subjects, rather than “sales” language.
It could be fun or educational content, including clarifications or curiosities about your product or service or something somehow related to your industry. It could be introductions to your staff, or user generated content involving your product or service. You will know what resonates with your audience after you’ve done that essential initial research.
The “second course” is the middle of the funnel and when the conversions happen. In other words, in this stage, the person who has a problem and the intention to solve it considers the purchase of your product or service.
It’s the middle of the road, but it is not the sale itself, because it’s still only about ideas.
It’s in the middle of the funnel that you get closer to your target audience and generate more identification. Here is the “learning” phase where you can really start to see what works and what doesn’t by sale, shares, views or whatever other goal you’re tracking.
Next: The final course: bottom of the funnel content. This content focuses on your product or service and making the sale. Here you can introduce details about functions, benefits, and other direct information about your product or service, offer sales, shipping offers or free trials.
It is far more likely to convert here as this particular audience has practically decided to buy already and you are only going to give them a final push. However, trying to skip the first two steps is like going right to dessert: empty and unsatisfying,
Just as in cooking, you’ll need a recipe to follow when creating content.
You’ll need the right flavours and the right ingredients in balance to create an authentic connection.
By asking yourself the right questions, you can discover what will satisfy your audience, and how to reach them effectively.
And just like cooking a great meal, you don’t need expensive equipment or ingredients. Keep it simple, authentic and with your audience in mind and you’re well on the way to cooking up the right content for your target audience.
Still need a hand? Let’s talk growing your business.