How to understand your target audience

How to understand your target audience

Reaching an audience is key to generating sales, but how do you know who you should be targeting, and where should you begin when figuring out how to understand your target audience?

Having a deep understanding of your ideal customer, including their role, motivations and problems, is crucial for successful communications and long-term, sustained business growth.

You can develop target audience ‘personas’ for each audience group your business would like to reach. Your personas should be fueled by research and customer insight, and will seek to paint a picture of what your ideal customer in that space looks like.

Building client personas

When developing your personas, there are six key questions to address: who, where, what, why, how and when?

Who are they?

Keep it simple – who are you targeting? What is their role?

It’s also important to consider what their decision making capabilities are – are they a decision maker or a key influencer? Your messaging to approach this person will be different depending on the answer to this question.

understanding target audience

Where are they?

This question has two main components – sector and geography. Are they in a particular sector? A particular geographical location?

Knowing where your audience are will make it easier to focus your communications towards them.

What are their goals?

When your customers come to you, what is it they’re usually trying to achieve? What’s motivating them?

If you know where your prospects want to be and what they want to achieve, it can help you to adapt your business’ product or service to help them get there successfully.

Why are they struggling?

This question is the pivotal section for any persona. People buy when they’ve got a problem – they need help.

Understanding your audience’s pain points or problems, and providing a solution to these, is the quickest route to business growth and communications success.

How can you help, and how can you reach them?

Positioning your business’ product or service around your audience’s goals and pain points is crucial. What is it that your offering that will help them to get where they need to be and solve their problem?

Also, think about how you can go about reaching your audience. Is there a particular form of content they prefer? Eg, video, long-form, social media. Which social media channels are they most active on? Are there any LinkedIn groups you could join to engage further with them?

When’s the best time?

When’s the ideal time to reach out to your persona? Are there particular days or months that they’re quieter, and perhaps would be more responsive?

The more time you spend learning how to understand your target audience, the easier these questions will be to answer. However, your personas should be an ongoing process, and they should be tweaked and adjusted over time, as your knowledge of your audience improves.

Putting personas into practice

Once you have a persona for each group of people you’d like to reach out to, you can use these to develop your overall PR and communications strategy. Harness what you know about your audience, and use your content to speak personally to them. Demonstrate that you understand and appreciate their goals and pain points, and position yourself to deliver the perfect solution.

Depending on your current level of marketing activity, it may be difficult to reach out to everyone at once. As such, it could be helpful to focus on one persona each month, tailoring your messaging and content towards them.

The more your audience feel you ‘get them’, the more engaged they will be in what you have to say.

For help developing your business’ personas, or advice on how to apply these to your business’ overall marketing strategy, speak to us.


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