The topic of “target audience” comes up often in blogging. It is the most important criterion in content marketing. After all, if you don’t know your market, you won’t be able to aim your sales strategies at a specific demographic! How to find your target audience takes some thought and fieldwork. But if you nail it, the time and effort will be worth it!
Defining your target audience is essential. When you identify them correctly you can create customized content with confidence.
Let’s get straight into it!
What is a “Target Market” or a “Target Audience”?
The target market is the broad group of people you want to market your brand to. A target audience is a smaller group that will probably buy your product. That’s why it is so important to define your audience correctly. It saves you money and effort because you are marketing with a clear, direct focus as opposed to a more general “hit and miss” approach.
A target audience is made up of the people you want to attract to your blog that will buy your product. It’s your slice of the consumer pie. Your target audience is more than traffic. Traffic is great for many reasons but when your readers convert to customers or subscribers, that’s when you know you are reaching the right people through promoting your blog and creating relevant, valuable content.
Simply put, your target audience is defined by certain commonalities and behaviors. For example; age, gender, education, income, location. This data helps to group users into smaller niches and when you get this information organized, you will be able to write blog posts that appeal to your blogging niche.
Your target audience is not necessarily your emailing list. Many people that subscribe will never convert to paying customers. Targeting these types will not be as successful as finding the exact people who align with your product, and then sell to them. They are already wanting what you have, if your content backs up your product, the connection forms. And you get a customer that feels an affinity to your brand, based on the fact that the content is speaking specifically to them!
Can You Have More Than One Target Audience?
You may find that certain products you sell do have different customers. So it’s quite common to create sub audiences or multiple user personas. You have the freedom to create messages that will target specific high-value customers. This creates a higher ROI (return on investment). Instead of throwing your net wide and hoping to catch a few fish in amongst dozens you put a line in and hook a big one!
This is a good exercise to put into practice. Basically, you take the factors that make up your ideal customer. It can be quite detailed. Once you have created this fictional “customer template”, you can build on it by listing what their specific needs are and how this fits in, with your blog content, products, or services. Having personas allows you to focus your marketing strategies on the right people that will identify with your brand and want to use it.
You can create a user persona in two ways.
First, you can base it on what you know about your business or product. See below under “Examining your business”. Write the questions down and answer them. Then write up your persona attributes. Include demographics and psychographics.
The second way is to send out surveys and when you get the responses, analyze the data, and create your persona from that. That then becomes your target audience profile. You can create personas for each sub audience too. This helps you stay focused on small pockets of customers that you will market to. It may be necessary to create a separate Instagram account or a separate Facebook page for each sub audience.
How Do You Identify Your Target Audience?
Like many things these days, data, data, data! With so much data at our disposal, it is fairly easy to put together a persona, followed by ad campaigns, promotions, and winning blog posts that grab your readers’ attention and keep them coming back!
First, you need to identify your brand and ask yourself what you are offering and who needs it. Are you aiming at B2B (business to business) clients or do you cater for B2C (business to customers)?
Let’s look at the type of data you need to gather and how to get it. There are two main sections; demographics and psychographics.
- Income bracket
- Purchasing power
- Industry or career
- Lifestyle Choices
For example, you could be selling sneakers. And you have 5 styles. Each style could appeal to a different target audience. So you start with the brand as a whole. The target market is people of all ages that wear sneakers. But that’s way too broad. So you narrow it down by focusing on your bestseller. Let’s say your best seller is a sports sneaker for men.
Now your target audience starts to appear. You are targeting people who play sport, specifically men. This puts your age bracket between 16 – 40. Let’s say you sell online but you also have a brick and mortar outlet based in New York. Now your target audience is narrowed down to men between 16-40, that live in New York and like to play sports, like basketball. Then you look at your price. It’s not cheap. This narrows it down to a smaller group who have the purchasing power of X amount per month to spend on clothes and accessories. This gives you insight into what type of jobs and income your target audience has.
Let’s break down what we have so far.
Step 1: Know your product and find your niche
Step 2: Identify your target audience by gathering data based on demographics and psychographics.
Step 3: Create user personas so that you can model your content around these fictional characters based on your ideal audience.
And Step 4: Create awesome content that connects to your target audience, is relevant, valuable, and actionable.
Where did you get this information?
There are many sites and companies that specialize in market research and their findings are often available to marketers. Sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee.
What data is needed to find my target audience?
You need to conduct market research from existing sales and existing customer bases (like email subscribers, followers on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
Examining your blog/business/brand
Ask the following questions about your blog and business:
- What am I offering potential customers?
- Why do they need this product?
- What are some common questions and problems that my readers share?
- What age group will be interested in my product or service?
- Is the content or product gender specific?
- What do people who need his product like to do in their free time?
- What is the income bracket for the majority of your users?
- How much purchasing power does this age group have?
- Where are they located?
- What level of education do they have?
- What are their most-used devices? (mobile, PC, laptop)
- What social platforms am I most likely to find them using?
But these questions are useless unless you can gather data from reliable sources. So let’s have a look at the different ways you can collect data on your target audience. And remember, this data, once analyzed, will go a long way in creating your user personas and establishing your core blogging niche.
Fieldwork: Finding the data
Your target audience research does not have to cost a fortune, but you may need to spend a bit getting software that helps you to analyze data. Email automation software usually comes with analytics. But you could also use CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Tools.
Here are 7 methods to gather data both from your readers and customers. The more information you curate, the more accurate your personas will be. This will narrow down who your target audience is and separate the readers from the buyers, further refining your market research.
7 methods to collect data:
- Use your existing database and analytic tools ( Loyal customers, email subscribers, followers across social media platforms.)
- Compile Surveys and questionnaires using survey marketing and compilation tools.
- Use sites, companies, and software that specialize in CRM, surveys, market research, and analytics (social media analytics and website/email/blog analytics.)
- Interviews and focus groups – to identify common problems, solutions, and questions your audience has. As well as their preferences and criticisms.
- Social media analytics, Facebook Insights, and Google Analytics.
- Research your competitors – Who are they? How are they marketing and what content do they have?
- Research your competitors’ customers – read customer reviews and comments from sites like Amazon.
Let’s look at these points in more detail.
Your two main points of contact are your email subscribers and your followers across all social media platforms. You could include your competitors. Using these channels, you will send out a survey. Once you get the results and analyze the data, you will have enough to recognize who your target audience is. And create your user personas. This will be the preparation you need to move ahead and create blog content calendars and blog content marketing campaigns, using emails, blog posts, and social media.
List of Analytic Tools (to monitor behavior, traffic, conversions, social media analytics, etc.)
- Chartbeat (lp.chartbeat.com)
- Supermetrics (supermetrics.com)
- Google Analytics (analytics.google.com)
- Forums and sites like Reddit and Quora
- Facebook Insights
- Keyword Research
- Alexa (try.alexa.com)
List of Survey Tools and Software
- Google Forms
- Survey Monkey
- Qualtrics Research Core
- Qualtrics CoreXM
- Zoho Survey
- Survey Anyplace
List of Data Collection and Marketing Statistic Sites
- US Census Data Tools
- Social Mention
- Google Trends
- Alexa Tools
- SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurship Education Resources
- Pew Research Center
- And many more.
List of SEO Tools
- Answer The Public
- And many more.
All these tools will help you understand your target market and target audience better. Many of these tools are either free (with the option to upgrade) or offer a free trial period.
Google Analytics and Facebook Insights are both free. They are fantastic for following movements on social media and websites. And gathering valuable info on your target audience.
There are many YouTube tutorials on how to use Google analytics. But much of how it works is self-explanatory. Explore the tabs, especially the Google Audience tab and the Google Acquisitions tab.
The Audience tab breaks down target audiences, reveals demographics and psychographics, and shows potential and actual target locations. The Acquisition tab shows the type of website your target audience comes from, where to find potential customers, and where to advertise (which social platforms work best for you).
Also, don’t overlook the importance of keyword research. It lends insight into blog topics, related markets, and the language your target audience use. Take your SEO seriously as well. Part of SEO is finding the right niche, identifying search habits, and keeping abreast of trending topics on social media.
Before I end off, here are some interesting stats on blog marketing and target audiences.
Stats To Get You Thinking!
Blogging is the most popular content marketing format at present. So getting your content to reach your target audience is crucial and a sure-fire way to increase ROI and general sales.
Blogging is no longer a leisurely past time. In fact,
- 86% of marketers count blogging as their main content marketing strategy.
- 60% of buyers say blog posts are most valued in the first stage of the buying process.
- 33% say blog posts are important in the middle stages of the buying process
- 96% say they would prefer fewer sales messages within the content and more info of high-quality.
- How-to articles (77%) and Lists (57%) are still the most popular blog formats – people want education and information from blog posts.
In terms of target audiences, the African American market is an untapped demographic.
- 35 % of African Americans invest and save. And 20% are ahead of their planned savings. Both these stats are higher than the general population which shows 32% and 15% respectively.
- 52% of US-born Hispanics now earn over $50,000 per annum. This makes them another demographic worth researching for target audiences.
- And of course, the whole nature of marketing has shifted from TV and newspapers to the internet, with millennials being a strong component when it comes to buying goods online.
- Over 70% of buyers own smartphones.
A HubSpot survey, from 2017, showed that, on average, organizations received 470,000 website visitors monthly. Only 1,800 became leads and 300 became new customers. This statistic shows clearly, how important it is to narrow down your target audience, to market efficiently.
What can you take away from this blog post on “How to find your Target Audience”? It can be broken down into the 4 steps I mentioned earlier plus another step, as important.
Firstly – step one: You need to get to know your product and find your niche.
Secondly – step two: Identify your target audience by gathering data based on demographics and psychographics.
Thirdly – step three: Create user personas to model your content around these fictional characters based on your ideal audience.
Fourthly – step four: Create awesome content that connects to your target audience, is relevant, valuable, and actionable.
And the next final step #5: Promote your blog. Check out my article on “How to Promote your Blog.”
Good luck with your target audience research. You are well on your way to curating a successful blog!