A target audience is a particular group of people that your brand is aimed at. What this means is that you want to know who your audience is in order to resonate with them. You want to target in on the people that will become your clients. This is the first and, I would stress, the most important step, of your brand positioning and creating a strong brand strategy. It’s hard to sell when you don’t know who you’re selling to.
So, who is your ideal client?
Note the difference between the words audience and client. Audience are the people listening to you and clients are the people buying from you. In order to discover your ideal client, you want to know who your general audience is. On the other hand, we have a bit of a Catch 22 situation here because the point is to turn your audience into clients, so you want to find the right audience based on your ideal client.
WHY YOU WANT TO KNOW WHO THEY ARE
It has been said enough times already, but let’s say it once more. Mass media is dead. What this means is that you no longer advertise on every channel everywhere and get pretty much everyone to contact you. Now, you niche down and narrow it down to market your product to only your specific audience. In order to do that, you want to know who your audience is. In the age of social media and instant gratification, your purpose is to connect.
Consider this, how do you become friends with someone? You don’t go up to them and talk about yourself and how awesome you are, no matter how true it is. You introduce yourself; you ask questions, and; you learn about each other. It’s the same thing with a brand. You don’t go up to somebody and start pushing them to buy your shit, no matter how nice it smells. No, you make a connection. Introduce yourself, ask questions, listen, participate, and interact. Be engaged with who you’re talking to and learn about them while sharing enough information so they know about you and your brand.
Once you build that connection, then you can offer your services. Keep in mind, at that point, you would have an established relationship and there’s a chance they will ask for your help and bam, you made a sale without a sales pitch.
Very important note here! Yes, establish a relationship. No, don’t become best friends with them. Have you heard the saying never work for family or friends? There’s a reason for that. Every relationship that you build with a potential client (that person that is not yet a client but you’re already talking to) should be kept professional.
You can be friendly and chat with them, but the moment you become best friends with them, you’ve lost your potential client. You can have that one friend that you want to see succeed and will do the work for the for free in your spare time. Then everybody becomes that one friend and all you’re doing is free work.
The goal here is to befriend these potential clients with your brand. Think of your brand as a separate person that will interact and befriend your audience.
WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Every brand has a different audience, so you want to know yours intimately. Even so, there are some basics that every brand creator wants to know. You want to know some demographics such as age, gender, and income. But the most important things to know are your audience’s goals, problems, desires, feelings, and values. In addition, get some understanding of their day-to-day lives, lifestyles, interests, and patterns.
This demographic information allows you to categorize your audience and further narrow it down to a specific niche. The emotions allow you to connect with your audience on a personal basis. More importantly, it is these emotions that make your brand a human being that they can talk to. All of day-to-day activities let you know where your brand fits into their life and the rest gives you the details to learn more about your audience.
“Focus on identifying your target audience, communicating an authentic message that they want and need, and project yourself as an ‘expert’ within your niche.” – Kim Garst
FINDING YOUR NICHE AUDIENCE
In order for your brand to successfully connect to your target audience, you want to talk to them not like an audience but as individuals. This means finding your niche audience. Niching down means have a clear focus and direction of who your ideal target audience is and aligning your message to them. Niche audience is not the same as niching down your services and offerings. They are related, but not the same thing. Discovering your niche audience will help you in discovering your product or service niche, but that does not necessarily mean you can’t do other things.
For example, if your niche audience are women starting their own businesses, your niche product is branding services. You can narrow it down even further by saying you only focus on female entrepreneurs within a specific field of business (narrowing down your audience) and that you only work on their colour schemes (narrowing down your services). Both of these lead to you narrowing your audience down even further to those that care about appearance over strategy.
Random fact. Niche is not a noun when it comes to branding; you are not looking for your niche (shallow recess), you are looking for your niche audience. Niche, as an adjective, is defined as denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population. Even so, a lot of people in the branding sphere to use the word as a noun. If you ever see finding your niche they are usually not referring to the dictionary definition.
CREATING BRAND PERSONAS
Firstly, let’s explain what a brand persona is. This is an imaginary person that is a client for your brand. Usually, businesses create at least three. The point of these personas is to position your brand and create content specifically meant for them. Creating your brand personas is one of two major research steps you’re going to have to do to get your brand positioning working properly. You will want to conduct market research to create brand personas. Personally, I hate the idea of brand personas as fake people to sell to, so I use a different way to find this information using audience segments and minimal market research.
This method has worked for me, worked for my clients, and it doesn’t involve days of waiting for survey responses!
“Effective messaging emerges at the intersection of what your buyers want to hear and what you want to say.” – Adele Revella
Without going into all the details of how I help you create brand personas (that’s for my DIY clients), let’s see what doing this can help with. Focusing on your specific audience segments will help you know where to start your market research. One important thing to keep in mind here when doing your market research is to gear it towards the correct audience segment! On that note, you should also gear it towards your brand. Think about all of the questions that are standard and why you would want the answers. For example, if you are a Yoga brand, do you really care if your clients are married? Maybe that’s the niche style for your brand and in that case, include the question (and hey, that’s one way to narrow it down!)
Tip. When creating any type of market research surveys or interview questions, make sure not to add too many questions or nobody is going to answer it. I like the 10min rule – keep it under 10min. Even better if you can keep it under five, but that takes some serious skills. In addition, make sure you are asking the same questions of everybody you interact with. Don’t pick and choose questions based on who you talk to!
FIND YOUR TARGET POINTS
Why is it called target audience? Because those are the people you are targeting in on. As such, once you’ve done your research, find your target points. The purpose of these target points is to figure out how you should talk to your clients. This is actually part of your content strategy that can be used to help with your product or service creation and positioning your brand across multiple platforms.
Note. When doing the DIY Brand Creation Program with me, it is at this stage that we end up adding another audience segment to our list. It may seem counter-productive, but remember that Catch 22 situation earlier? This is the way I’ve found to solve it.
TALK TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
This may be the most important step. It doesn’t matter how you did your market research, whether surveys, paid, or interviews… talk to your target audience. Once you’ve done your research, you know where these people are located online. I’ve said this in previous articles and I will keep repeating it!
You want your brand to be seen as a separate entity or person. So, reach out, become friends, and make connections. Learn even more about your audience and how you would be able to convert them into clients. This is the part where you discover pain points, problems, and issues that your ideal client persona has with other brands and BAM! You have content ideas!
This is not the time to sell but to start conversations. Even if your brand is not up yet or if you don’t have any products or services, it doesn’t matter. Start positioning both yourself and your brand in the minds of your target audience!