The internet made the world a global village. Reaching people online is sometimes so straightforward, that it’s easy to believe you should just target everyone. You can so why shouldn’t you, right?
Not so fast.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your business is trying to serve everyone. Not knowing who you’re targeting is like trying to throw the ball through the hoop blindfolded. Sure you’ll score here and there. But most of the time you’ll be shooting bricks.
Here’s what you’ll learn in this post:
Defining your target audience is closely connected to choosing your niche. When defining your target audience, you’re saying who your product is for. But when choosing a niche, you’re also considering the industry. If your audience is your Who, the issue you’re solving is your What. Together, your audience (who) and your solution (what), make a niche.
When you’re defining your exact target audience, you are, in fact, writing down the set of characteristics your ideal customers might have. Knowing these characteristics is important because they help you build a product that serves their needs.
No business can be all things to all people. Period.
When you know who your target audience is, you can focus on the people who are most likely to buy your product.
Not knowing your target audience is a bit like trying to go from A to B, without any sort of navigation tool. You’re out there making turns, but not knowing if they’ll get you to your destination. You’re losing time and money.
Knowing who you’re serving, you can focus on finding all the ways you can:
I meet a lot of entrepreneurs who think they know who their customers are. My question to them is usually something as “Have you ever actually surveyed or evaluated your customers?” The answer is often negative.
When you’re starting out you should define your audience in advance. And when you’re already in business, you should try to find out as much information from your customers as you can. In both cases, research is imperative.
As a starting point ask yourself, with what type of people you want to work with? Think about their characteristics and personal traits.
If you already have a running business, your starting point are your existing customers. Take a quick look at them and think why do they read your blog, signed up to your list, and buy stuff from you.
Look for similarities. Which customers bring in the most business? Odds are that other people like them will also benefit from your product or service.
It might not be obvious to you, but your audience is following you for a reason.
Think for a second. Is it because of the value-packed posts you write week in week out? Maybe it’s because they’re on a similar journey you were just a couple months ago? Whatever the reason, you need to find out.
Here are a few ways how you do that:
Knowing your target audience means you should be able to answer a few questions about them, such as:
One of the best methods of defining your target audience is to create customer personas (sometimes also referred as consumer, buyer, or audience personas).
The purpose of creating a persona is to picture a member of your audience, so you can develop a strategy that’s tailored for him/her.
When defining you should try to include the following characteristics:
This means you’ll include things like gender, family life, job function, income, needs, pain points, and challenges.
You can grab a piece of paper and start writing down everything you can think of about your audience.
But if you’re anything like me, you’ll use an app.
A simple tool you can use is HubSpot’s MakeMyPersona. This free web app will lead you through a set of questions, which you’ll need to answer. At the end, it will generate your defined persona.
It’s a great tool to use for basic purposes. But, I like to have more options available and that’s why I recommend Xtensio’s User Persona Creator.
It’s still easy to use, but more robust.
Here’s an example of a user persona.
Now that you know how to define your target audience, it’s time to go out there and start hustling. Find ways to reach them and make them happy.
You’ll be much more successful when you know who you are speaking to. Don’t be afraid to leave people out. Focus on your audience.
It’s up to you to provide answers to their issues.
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