To grow your business, you need to grow your customer base. It's essential to know what your customers and potential customers want and how you'll provide it. You have to understand what makes them tick – and buy. In marketing lingo, that means knowing your target audience.
"Define your target audience by thinking about who they are, what their big challenge is and how your solution will uniquely and directly answer that challenge," says Sherry Mirshahi-Totten, founder and CEO of the Bethesda-based marketing coaching firm Make Your Brand in Demand.
Five Questions to Find the Right Target Audience
1. What are their basic demographics?
Find out the details – such as their age, gender, marital status, income, and location – of who you need to market to, says Mirshahi-Totten. You can identify their demographics by thinking about the person who needs your service, checking your website analytics and social media following to see who your business attracts, and sending a survey to your current customer base.
2. What are their concerns that you can solve?
"You want to know what their big dreams and goals are, so you can show them how your solution is going to help them get it more quickly or easily," says Mirshahi-Totten. When you
understand your target's concerns and goals
, you can create website copy, sales copy, and that will resonate emotionally, she adds. Host focus groups with current and prospective customers and consider the problem you were trying to solve when you came up with your business idea.
3. Where can you reach them?
If your product helps the elderly quickly report medical injuries, you wouldn't want to spend time marketing via Snapchat, Instagram, or websites and magazines with a younger readership. Instead, it would be beneficial to focus on commercials, newspaper ads, and cold calls.
"Knowing how and where they get their information shows you how you should be communicating with them, and what
type of content to share
," says Mirshahi-Totten.
4. What are they searching for?
"This one is especially critical because you have to be able to communicate the problem they want to solve based on how they say it, not on how you see it," says Mirshahi-Totten. If you have a podcast editing company, people might be googling "podcast editing service," "editing podcasts," "how to edit podcasts," or "how to start a podcast."
You might also have a more niche service like helping entrepreneurs start podcasts, but this exercise will lead more people to discover your business. Another added benefit is that you can use the search phrases you come up with to
optimize your on-site and off-site SEO
5. How will you offer the best solution on the market?
It might be that you have the lowest price, a better product, a more enjoyable customer experience, or a combination of those things. The important thing is to consider how to make life easier for your customers in a way that none of your competitors have thought of. For example, an interior designer might differentiate their business by having a digital tool that makes it easy to see how each product will look in a room.
They could then offer a lower price by having online consultations instead of in-person consultations. "It also helps you see what other potential competitors you have that you might not have considered," says Mirshahi-Totten. Talk with your customers and do your due diligence with
competitive analysis and market research
What questions do you recommend asking to understand a company's target audience? Sound off in the comments!