How to research your target audience

Marketing success starts with knowing your audience’s motivations, goals, struggles, values and deep desires.

Who are you marketing and selling to?

Selling to everyone is tempting. You don’t want to miss any client, I get it…but, it really doesn’t work that way.

You need to attract, market and sell to specific people.

Selling to everyone, is selling to no one!

You need to define and understand your target audience. Everything from basic demographics to values that define their decision-making.

I prepared a step-by-step action plan to develop a buyer persona for your business, service or product.

What is a target audience?

A target audience is people who will most likely be interested in your company’s services or products.

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a fictional avatar of your ideal client. It represents your ideal client’s goals, values, dreams, struggles and other important details that will help you understand them better.

Why is target audience research important?

A buyer persona will help you understand and attract a higher quantity and quality prospects.

Buyer personas will influence your marketing and sales decisions down the line, making this step your priority.

You need to know the specific needs, behaviours, and concerns of your clients. When you understand your customer’s problems and frustrations, you can create services and marketing communication around them.

Buyer persona makes it easier for you to create content, messaging, product development, services, and marketing that establishes you as an authority in your industry and appeals to your audience.

It also enables you to target or personalize your marketing for different segments of your audience. Develop highly targeted content and services that appeal to your buyers’ needs, goals, and interests.

Target audience research will help you to:

  • Decide whom to focus on.
  • How to reach them.
  • What to offer them.
  • Create the right content for the right people
  • Better understand how to create content that connects people to your service or product.
  • Increase conversions.
  • Craft personalized content.
  • Develop long-term relationships with your clients by solving their problems.
  • Be more competitive as a small business.
 

Improve the quality of the persona over time by examining your customer base and refining the persona accordingly.

Design products and services that are better suited for your target personas. Target audience research allows you to be customer-centric rather than product-led in your thinking.

Think of the features of your services and products and think about who would benefit from them. This can be the base for your buyer persona research.

What you must understand about your client?

  1. Whom will your branding be speaking to?
  2. Who does your product serve?
  3. Who is your ideal customer?
  4. What goal is your audience trying to achieve?
  5. What are your audiences, pain points, or unmet needs?
  6. How do your products or services fit into their lives?
  7. What prompts the need for your products and services?
  8. What has been their experience with a similar service or product?
  9. Who or what do they turn to for information or advice?
  10. Where do they look for information?
  11. Are there enough people who fit my criteria
  12. Will my audience benefit from my service? Will they really need it?
  13. Do I understand what drives them to make decisions?
  14. Can they afford my service?
  15. Can I reach them with my message?

Common misconceptions about your target audience.

You think that your target audience is like you.

Your target audience is not like you. You might share things but that doesn’t make you the same. Don’t fall into the trap of creating solutions based on what you like or think is right.

You think that they know the same things as you.

They don’t, so communicate with your audience in a way that everybody understands. Use clear and simple sentence structure. Avoid jargon. Talk as to an 8-year-old.

They care about your brand

People interact and care about people. So be there as a person rather than brand.

They understand industry jargon.

They don’t. Speak in a way that is common to everyone.

Segment your target personas

Segment your target personas into groups based on similar characteristics

Build strategy for each group. Your segments should:

  1. Define topics and tone of your communication
  2. Plan your content strategy
  3. Define specific messaging for your audience.

Buyer personas life cycles

Understand where your audience is in the buying cycle. Are they researching, looking for reviews or ready to buy? This influences your workflows, CTAs, content, titles.

Develop your target audience/buyer persona

Where to conduct the research?

Your existing customer base is a perfect place to start with your interviews. They’ve already purchased your product and engaged with your company. If you don’t have any clients use your prospects or referrals.

What to ask your audience?

Demographics questions

  1. Age
  2. Marital status
  3. Children

 

Educational background

  1. What level of education did you complete?
  2. Which schools did you attend?
  3. What did you study?

 

Job questions

  1. What is your profession?
  2. How did you get to where you are today?

 

Clients goals questions

  1. What are your goals in regards to my business?
  2. What do you want to achieve when buying my service/product?
  3. What are your goals or visions for the world, community or family?
  4. How would you like to see the world in the future?
  5. What are you responsible for?
  6. What does it mean to be successful in your role?

 

Challenges question

  1. What challenges, fears and problems obstruct you from completing your goals?
  2. In regards to your business?
  3. In regards to the world?
  4. What are your biggest and most important challenges?

 

Values question

  1. What are your values?
  2. In regards to your business?
  3. General life values, that serve as a framework for life, business, morals or decision making.

 

Work role questions

  1. What is your job role?
  2. Your title?
  3. How is your job measured?
  4. What does your typical work day look like?
  5. What skills are required to do your job?
  6. What knowledge and tools do you use in your job?
  7. Who do you report to?
  8. Who reports to you?

 

Company questions

  1. In which industry or industries does your company work?
  2. What is the size of your company (revenue, employees)?

 

Information research questions

  1. How do you learn about new information for your job?
  2. What publications or blogs do you read?
  3. What associations do you participate in?
  4. What social network do you use?
  5. What are your main communication channels? (e-mail, phone etc)

 

Shopping preferences

  1. Do you use the internet for research services and products?
  2. If so, where do you search for information? Google?
  3. Describe a recent purchase.
  4. Why did you consider a purchase?
  5. What was the evaluation process?
  6. How did you decide to purchase that product or service?
  7. What is your main purchasing barrier?
  8. How can you overcome it?

 

What draws negative attention?

  1. What does your audience want to avoid?

Pro tip – Apply the WHY question

The “why” question is the number one tip for a successful personal interview. Ask why, as a follow-up question to pretty much every question un the list.

The goal is not to fly through the questions. The goal is to dive as deep as possible to uncover everything about your ideal client. You learn that by asking WHY and uncover the underlying reasons for your client’s decision-making.

Understand your clients’ goals, behaviors, and motivations

Keep in mind that people aren’t always great at reflecting on their behaviours to tell you what drives them at their core.

Start with a simple question — for instance, “What is your biggest challenge?” Then spend a reasonable amount of time diving deeper into that one question to learn more about that person.

Conclusion

If you don’t know who your ideal clients, you don’t know their goals and problems. Therefore, you cannot effectively communicate, market and sell your service or product.

Target audience research is your absolute priority to save time, money, energy and be highly successful in your business.

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My promise to you

I will transform your business from “selling a product” to a strong brand with a vision, story and values that will create a steady stream of loyal leads and clients.

I will use digital media and digital marketing strategies to attract and convert your online audience!

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