Marketing to the right audience is more important than ever. With today's global ecommerce market, it’s easy to see very little return on your marketing efforts. But it doesn’t make sense to target everyone, so how do you find your audience?
One way is to create a target audience profile. A profile gives you a structured overview of the needs of your audience and how your products or services can meet them.
It can also highlight the features and content that matter most to them and the messaging that will best resonate.
In this article, we’ll talk about what a target audience profile is and why it’s important for your business. Then we’ll explain how to create one in just 4 steps.
Let’s get started!
An Introduction to the Target Audience Profile (and Why It Matters)
Your target audience is a group of potential customers for your business. It encompasses all those who are most likely to respond positively to your promotions, products, and services.
A target audience profile is a description of the most common characteristics of these potential customers.
When building a target audience profile, you want to include key details such as
- Demographics: location, age, gender, income, etc.
- Behavior: previous purchases, habits, daily activities, etc.
- Psychographics: values, attitudes, interests, personality, etc.
Trying to sell without knowing your audience is like driving with your eyes closed.
Analyzing your customer base and determining commonalities among its individuals enables you to target your marketing efforts more specifically. And that can result in more sales.
Target audience profiles (also known as buyer personas), offer direction for your marketing and make it easier to deliver consistent messaging. If your products match what your audience is looking for, you're more likely to drive conversions.
How to Build a Target Audience Profile (In 4 Steps)
You probably already have some idea of who your target customers are. You may use customer feedback, testimonials, or other social proof as part of your marketing efforts already, which is a good place to start.
But, having a thorough target audience profile will help you better define what your customers are looking for, and decide how you can serve their needs. Fortunately, creating a profile isn't hard. It just requires a bit of time and research.
Step 1: Create Broad Descriptions of Your Ideal Customers
Before you look at specific demographics, consider what’s important to your customers, and what makes them want to do business with you.
This is where customer reviews may come in handy, as well as any existing data or analytics you have on your current customer base.
First, think about your customers’ attitudes toward your product. How do they feel about it, and what problems does it solve for them? Some other questions to think about at this stage include:
- Why have they chosen your product over your competition’s?
- Do your customers need coaching to understand the value of your product, or is it clear upfront?
- Do they care more about the product or its features?
For example, let’s say you sell help desk software so businesses can better manage employee and customer communication. Consider the following profile:
Larry is a small business owner. He currently uses Gmail to communicate with his employees and customers, but his business is growing and he finds it increasingly difficult to manage his emails. He wants to continue to provide personalized support for customers.
Based on this broad profile, we can assume that some important selling points for Larry would include pricing and scalability.
Since Larry’s business is small, he needs whatever product he chooses to be affordable, but he also wants it to be able to grow with his business.
Step 2: Research Their Demographics, Behavior, and Attitudes
Now you have some broad descriptions of your potential customers, you can begin to add more detail.
Including demographic information in your target audience profile will help you better understand your customer base.
Some basic demographics may be easy to identify. If you sell beauty products, for example, your audience is likely to be mostly women. Other demographics may require more research to identify, such as:
- Job and income
- Family status
- Preferred social media sites
Researching demographics is the most fundamental part of your target audience profiling research. However, there’s a lot more research you can do.
Think about your target customer’s behaviors. Behaviors can be indicative of how and why a person makes a purchasing decision.
Here are some questions you can ask:
- What does their average day look like?
- What other products have they bought/ do they regularly buy?
- Where do they go to find information on a product before buying it?
- What stores (online and brick & mortar) do they regularly frequent?
This information can be a springboard to helping you identify how your brand can intersect with their habits and behaviors.
Consumer psychographics goes right to the heart of who your customers are and what drives and motivates them.
Here are some examples of psychographic information to research and collect.
- Personality types: are they introverted/extroverted, rationally/emotionally driven, etc.
- Values: traditional, open-minded, family-oriented, environmentally conscious, etc.
- Beliefs: religious, spiritual, societal, cultural, etc.
- Interests: health, family, sports, music, literature, etc.
This information will help you build a three-dimensional picture of the makeup of your target audience.
Step 3: Identify the Needs and Problems of Your Target Audience
By now, you have a good idea of who your ideal customers are. Next, you'll need to identify their needs and pain points.
Put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers, and look at your products or services from their point of view. What motivates them to buy? Some other things to consider include:
- What concerns might they have that your product helps them feel better about?
- How does your product solve a problem they're facing?
- What are they worried about that might prevent them from buying your product?
Consider your customers’ needs based on this information, and you'll have a much better idea about how to present your products in a way that makes them appealing.
Knowing your target audience may also help you to define your niche in the market.
Step 4: Determine Where Customers Will Find You
Last but not least, it’s important to think about how customers will find your company or offerings. It doesn’t matter how great your products are if your customers can’t find them and don’t know they exist.
Think about how your customers are likely to stumble across your business. This requires finding out where they already spend their time online and asking questions such as:
- What websites do they visit?
- What blogs do they read?
- Which social media sites do they frequent?
- What are the search terms they use?
- What content appeals to them?
For example, if you sell professional products, you may consider using LinkedIn as part of your marketing efforts. If you sell entertainment products, on the other hand, you may consider a site like BuzzFeed.
What matters is to reach out to your audience in spaces they're already familiar and comfortable with. This increases your odds of finding the right people and grabbing their attention.
What to Do With This Information
So now you've got an amazing target audience profile. What next?
This exercise should inform every part of your marketing strategy, from deciding which social media channels to use, to populating your site with useful and relevant content.
It can help you discover new and novel ways to reach your target audience. For example, you could end up running a promotional campaign with small local cafes if you discover that your audience prefers independent eateries.
Not only can your target audience profile guide you where to reach your audience, it can also teach you a lot about their communication style preferences.
A 2017 study looked at how different personality types responded to different marketing messages. In the study, they created 10 Facebook ads for a beauty retailer: half with images and messaging that appealed to extroverts, and the other half to introverts.
They found that users were over 1.5 times more likely to buy from the brand if they were sent messaging that matched their personality type.
You can also use targeted messaging to help your audience make a clear link between your product and their lives. You can be much more direct about how your product or service can help them.
All of this translates to a much more profitable marketing strategy that brings you better returns.
Want to take your findings even further? Your next step is to think about segmenting your audience.
It's likely that during your research you will find different buyer personas in your audience. For example, if you run a fitness program, your audience could include students, young working parents, and career-oriented high-earners.
You can use tools like ActiveCampaign to create different segments for email marketing campaigns and tailor your messaging to each persona.
Hubspot is a tool that enables you to find segments within your existing audience.
Without a clearly defined target audience, much of your marketing efforts will fall on deaf ears. Building a target audience profile will enable you to create more meaningful content that resonates with potential customers.
To build a target audience profile, simply follow these four steps:
- Create broad descriptions of your ideal customers.
- Research your potential customers’ demographics, behavior, and psychographics.
- Identify the needs and problems of your target audience.
- Determine where customers will find you.
Do you have any questions about how to create and use your target audience profile? Ask away in the comments section below!