‘4 steps to identify your start-up’s target audience’

You have finally decided to go on a roadtrip. You packed your bags. You made sure not to forget anything, phone, wallet, passport, keys. You’re ready to go! You start pulling out of the driveway, ready to hit the road. But it only takes you an hour to realize that you have absolutely no idea where you’re going. All you knew was that you wanted was to go on a roadtrip but you never thought about your destination.

Sound familiar? If so you’re not the only one. There’s nothing more painful than realizing you have created something amazing but nobody seems to notice it. And that’s why identifying your target audience is essential for your business and knowing where to put your focus. Because marketing to everyone is a waste of your time. A target audience is a specific group of people you want to reach with your brand, who are most like interested in your brand/ products.

1. Start off with a broad target audience and slowly narrow it down

Don’t narrow your audience down straightaway, begin with a larger group that you think might be interested in your product. From there you can start defining a more specific target audience. You can do this by using demographics like:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location

The approach LEGO has to this a good example. LEGO is a toy company so you would think they are only targeting kids. But that’s actually not the case, LEGO knows that the parents are going to be ones buying their products. So they know the product has to appeal to the parents as well. And that’s why they market towards parents as well. This shows that because you’re a toy company it doesn’t mean you should narrow your target audience down to just kids.

2. Create customer personas

Customer personas are a representative overview of your ideal customers. Customer personas can be very useful to get a better understanding of buyer behavior. On top of that it’s easier to target specific personas you have created. When creating a customer persona you could include elements such as:

  • Goals
  • Frustrations
  • Demographics
  • Brands they identify with
  • Shopping behavior

The key to a useful persona is making it specific, because this makes it easy to target. Every persona you create should be unique this way you cover your whole target audience.

The information you gather from your customer personas can be used to adjust your branding accordingly.

For example the company Greenwheels. They’re a carsharing company and their customer persona is an urban millennial, who can’t afford a car or doesn’t see the need for one because they live in the city. Who is pretty easy to reach through social media. This is a pretty specific persona which makes it easier to target.

3. Use analytics and insights

Analyze who is visiting your website, by using Google analytics for example. This can get some really interesting insights into the demographic and interests of your audience. The overview Google analytics gives you shows information like:

  • Bounces rates
  • Sessions
  • Pages per session
  • Average session duration
  • Transactions
  • New user

With this information you can establish who your most valuable customers are. Which then helps you determine your target audience.

Netflix is a company that’s always conducting research and analyzing data. They do this to find out what people want. The fact that they know their audience so well is one of the main reasons Netflix has become the company it is today.

4. Talk to your customers

You can make all the assumptions in the world about your target audience but the best way to confirm your assumptions is to talk to your customers. This way you can ask about very specific things that you think would help identify your target audience. A few ways you could talk to your customers are:

  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Usability testing sessions

Before using any of these methods you should establish what you want to get out of it. Because that determines the kind of questions you’re going to ask. All of the information you gather from talking to your customers will again help you identify your target audience.

An example  of a company who listens to their customers very well is NIKE. They are very socially conscious. They’re on top of their game on social media and they’re constantly innovating. They put themselves in their customers world and that’s why they know exactly what their customers want.

As you can probably tell identifying your target audience is a long process and you also shouldn’t forget that your target audience doesn’t stay the same forever. Your competitors an your targets audience’s needs change.

You’ve packed your essentials, phone, wallet, passport, keys and now you also know where you’re headed. You have figured out your destination and what road to take to get there. So you’re equipped for the future and anything that might be thrown your way during the ride.

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