So the scenario usually goes like this…
You want to start a business. Let’s say it’s an art business for this example. You’re a really good artist and you can work with various different media.
You decide you don’t want to limit your opportunities so you’ll simply market yourself as an artist and sell whatever types of art consumers want.
The problem is…
When you’re networking, people can’t imagine what they would come to you for. You’re saying, “I’m an artist and I sell art”, but the people you’re introducing yourself to can’t understand what situations would require your skills BECAUSE YOU HAVEN’T TARGETED AN AUDIENCE.
- 1 The Target Audience Dilemma
- 2 How To Target an Audience and Cut Costs
- 3 How Targeting Increases Demand
- 4 How Targeting Gives you More Pricing Flexibility
- 5 Research Methods For How To Target an Audience
- 6 Questions You Want to Answer About Your Audience
- 7 Final Words on How To Target an Audience
- 8 Now, it’s Your Turn…
Some businesses call this a “niche”, and some call it a “target audience”. Whatever you call it, it’s a very important ingredient in your business. Your audience is the people who will buy your products or services, consume the content you create, and cheer you on along the way. It pays to figure out how to target an audience early on in the business because it cuts thru alot of confusion and delayed progress time.
If you’re here, it’s likely you or someone you know might be struggling with targeting an audience, and it’s a very common problem in entrepreneurship. You might be thinking “If I narrow down to a smaller audience, then I limit my opportunities”, so you want to stay as broad as possible.
Alternatively, you might have an audience you want to serve, but there may be another who might be more interested in the solutions you offer. Both targeting problems can postpone your success, cut potential sales, and keep you bringing in less money than you should.
In reality, when you target the right audience, you cut in costs, you increase in demand, and you gain more pricing flexibility, and you’re probably asking, “How’s that?”. Let me tell you…
How To Target an Audience and Cut Costs
Going back to the example, when you said you were an artist, you were open to whomever wanted the work of an artist. That could be:
- Pastel drawings
- Logo design
- Web design
- or some other form of art
With such a broad specialty, there are a multitude of potential tools and subscription services you might need. For example, as a web designer, you might need website themes, Adobe Photoshop, graphic design software, and so on. Whereas, for a mural, you’d need completely different tools and equipment.
Your equipment costs would be continuously higher if you don’t focus on one audience. If you identify an audience of art buyers, then you can select a market, and cater your artwork to that market.
It costs much less to buy the materials and equipment one specialty, then you can keep reusing the same materials, and you won’t cut into each project budget to buy new tools, materials, and equipment, and you know what that means? MORE PROFIT!
How Targeting Increases Demand
Instantly, if you narrow your focus from being a generalist to a specialist, you increase your demand. It’s like the family medicine doctor versus the Cardiologist, the Lawyer versus the Intellectual Lawyer, or the Artist versus the T-Shirt Designer.
When you’re specific, people can visualize what situations they could use your services and who else might be in the right situation to need your services, and the word can get around faster.
When you’re a generalist, it’s much harder to catch on.
How Targeting Gives you More Pricing Flexibility
When you specialize, you have time to focus, train on the specific skill, and people pay more for the expertise. Going back to the Family Medicine doctor versus the Cardiologist, if you were having a problem with your heart, would you go to the General Practitioner, or would you pay extra for the specialist?
Similarly, if you’re looking to design shirts for your football team, you’d probably pay more for the person who says, “I design shirts for a living” rather than the artist who says “I ca do all visual art”.
Added onto the obvious added comfort people feel with hiring a specialist, you also increase in mastery, and therefore, take less time to perform the work. Less time spent on the work and consistent pricing means higher profit margins.
Research Methods For How To Target an Audience
There are many things you can do to research your audience and discover what your customers need, but these are some research methods for how to target an audience.
Watch Your Google Search Console or Analytics
If you have a website or even business social media pages, you can take a look at your Google Search Console or social media analytics, and evaluate which pages and posts get the most traffic and engagement. If a post is getting alot of traffic and engagement, then it’s likely a direction you should look into because that post can give you more information about the interests of your audience.
Look at Other Sites in Your Niche
By looking at other sites in your niche, you can see which posts were liked and shared there. If their audience is the same or similar to your target audience, you can get more ideas about the interests, verbiage, likes/dislikes, pain points, and goals of your target audience.
Tools like SEMrush or Moz can also help you by giving you clear data on which posts have been shared most, which rank best in search engines, and more. This training on Advanced Customer Research and Customer Research Techniques would be invaluable to someone struggling with how to target an audience. Check it out!
A few sites that could give you great insight about your audience are:
In forums, people often go to discuss niche specific problems. For example, in a Golf forum, they may be discussing good and bad golf clubs. In the thread, you’d be able to see the opinions of golfers on what makes a golf club good or bad, their preferences, how they may use the gold club, and relevant competitors from the customer vantage point. Insight from the forums can be very enlightening when you’re trying to get to know your audience better.
Like forums, good blogs are collections of content that people consume to solve a problem. Blogs will have engagement, shares, comments, relevant hyperlinked resources, and possibly even relevant video or audio. When you go to a blog in your niche, you’ll be able to evaluate which posts seem to be liked, shared, and engaged with the most, and you can learn from those observations.
Sites like Amazon, Ebay, or other Ecommerce sites can also give you lots of great information about how to target an audience. You can browse an e-commerce site for products that solve problems in your niche, and evaluate which solutions are most in demand.
Follow Others in Your Niche
In many niches, there are people who have been influencing others for awhile. Following these influencers can give you insight about what others may like, what’s important topics, and common concerns. You can follow influencers on blogs, social media, or in-person to study and gain insight.
Perform Keyword Research
Google and Bing are two massive search engines that people regularly use to find information. One great thing about both platforms is they release the information about the search volumes for keywords, and you can find out how many people are searching for a topic, how many people are competing to rank for the keyword, and how much potential traffic you could accrue using a tool like Jaaxy.
If you have an audience or if you can leverage someone else’s, surveys could also be a great way to gain insight about how to target an audience. You can ask various questions to get an idea of what their beliefs and interests are, what demographic might be more prominent, and more.
Questions You Want to Answer About Your Audience
When you’re doing your research on various platforms, you want to answer certain questions as specifically as you can. Here’s some really important questions to answer about your audience:
- What’s life like for them? Where do they like to shop? What hobbies do they have? Do they have kids or no kids? Do they work a job or have their own businesses? Are they married, single, separated, or divorced? What’s a day in their shoes like?
- What things are important to them? Do they value freedom or stability? Do they value credentials or satisfaction? Is family a priority before work? Is long term fulfilling work important or quick money? What do they value most in life?
- What do that want? What changes are they dreaming about? What obstacles might they be dealing with? What’s their desired outcome look like? What’s the path to get to their desired outcome?
- How can you encourage them towards their desired path? What ideas might they be missing? What things are common mistakes? What are common stumbling blocks? What are common success ingredients? How can you raise their esteem? How can you make them feel more respected, valued, or cared for while their on this journey?
- What are common influences for them? Are there books commonly read? Are there movies many people in the niche watch? Does social support play a large role in success on this path? Are there common hangout spots that may be influential or imperative?
- What’s common knowledge in your niche versus things most people don’t know? What things might they know before meeting you? What presuppositions might they have? What myths or facts could they have?
- What’s at risk for them? If they don’t get your solution, what could they lose?
- What are the pain and pleasure points for them? What is the discomfort they feel without your solution, and what’s the optimal result they can have with your solution? For example, many people who want to start a business dread working for someone else for decades and struggling in retirement, but they epitomize lifestyle freedom, owning their own schedule, and having unlimited income potential.
- What’s their demographic? Where do they live? What ethnicity are they? What cultural background do they have? Are their obstacles or advantages due to their demographic?
Final Words on How To Target an Audience
The goal of this article was to show how to target an audience. Targeting an audience may be one of the most important things you do in your business, so you want to take time on this.
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Now, it’s Your Turn…
Have you struggled with how to target an audience before? What did you do to finally target the right audience in your business? What advice would you add about how to target an audience? Leave your comments below.