As a company, one of the best tools in your marketing toolbox is precise audience targeting. When you know exactly the type of person or group to whom you’re selling your services, goods, or brand, you can create targeted marketing efforts that hit all the right notes and drive sales, engagement, and more. When you first start your business, you may have visions of success, high sales, and a company culture that matches your professional and personal values. As you grow your company and your business dreams become a reality, you may notice that you attract a certain “tribe” to your business.
You may also simply think that anyone interested in your business will come to it and you don’t need to put any effort into thinking about who your future and current customers may be. If you fall into the latter camp, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to increase your sales and strengthen your bond with those who are loyal to your brand. You’ll also probably notice a plateau in sales and engagement over time since you’ll be casting a wide net that has random results instead of a targeted net that brings in customers who are meant to find your company.
When you want to grow your business and scale it to the next level, it’s not enough to throw proverbial jello at the wall and see what sticks. You need to have a marketing plan that involves identifying precise audience targeting and implementing strategies to reach your intended audience. If you pour thousands of dollars into a new marketing campaign but you fail to reach the audience and target market that’s most likely to engage with it, you’ll end up costing yourself time and money in the long run. To add insult to injury, other companies may not take you seriously as you attempt to network with them if you don’t seem to have a solid brand identity that’s rooted in catering to your target audience.
If you’re serious about growing your business, driving sales, and making meaningful connections with customers, you should spend a decent amount of time researching your target audience. While there are plenty of ways to do this, we’ve listed some tried-and-true methods below to get you started. No matter what your industry may be, many of these tips apply generally to different sectors. If you have a specific business in mind like a healthcare provider or attorney firm, you’ll probably benefit most from following the suggestions in those sections.
What Is a Target Audience?
Before we can start identifying a target audience, we’ll need to get on the same page about what it means. As marketingevolution.com points out, a target audience “…refers to the specific group of consumers most likely to want your product or service, and therefore, the group of people who should see your ad campaigns. Target audience may be dictated by age, gender, income, location, interests or a myriad of other factors.” This essentially means that your target audience is a collection of people who are likely to be your company’s biggest fans if you market and provide your services based on their needs.
When you tailor your advertising efforts with precise audience targeting, you’ll notice the positive effects of this choice quickly. People who are the type of customers you’ve been dreaming about will start connecting with your company. What’s more, you’ll be able to snag partnerships and brand deals with other companies that align with your company’s values. Frequently, similar companies will have similar target audiences. Still, there are unique things that only your company can bring to the table. Additionally, there may be subtle differences between your target audience and that of a rival company. Just because you and another organization seem to have the same target audience doesn’t mean that you have to feel discouraged or like you should pull out all the stops to win their favor.
Some customers will have enough room in their wallets and hearts for two complementary brands that they like. You might also be a super niche brand that has a super niche target audience with little competition. Although this might mean that your target audience is more narrow, it can also mean that you’ll have an easier time connecting with the right audience immediately.
In cases where you make niche products that cater to a small population, you might find that broadening your product line over time will help you reach more customers. When you do branch out from a niche section of the market, you may need to reevaluate your target audience. As any brand or company grows, reidentifying a target audience is a natural part of the advertising process. As trends change, your target audience may also change.
If you find that your target audience seems super general, you should try thinking about the defining characteristics of your brand. For example, if you sell wallets, you should consider if the designs are feminine or masculine. You should also think about the price point of the products and the materials. If your wallets are made of expensive fine imported leather, they may only be accessible to people who have the taste and budget to purchase them.
Why It’s Important to Identify Your Company’s Target Audience
Identifying your company’s target audience through precise audience targeting matters for several reasons. As smallbusiness.chron.com explains, “Organizations don’t have the time or resources to be able to reach everyone with a product message. Identifying a target market allows marketers to focus on those most likely to purchase the product. Limiting the population funnels research and budgets to the customers with the highest profit potential.” If you fail to identify a target audience, you might end up wasting money and payroll on marketing efforts that don’t pay off. You might also find business slowing down.
How to Identify a Target Audience
For new companies or those who are going in a new direction, identifying a target audience can seem like a long and tricky process. When it boils down to it, identifying your target audience is a relatively intuitive process. You may be able to figure out who your target audience is by asking yourself some key questions. For example, what services do you offer? Who is your ideal customer? What types of customers are naturally drawn to your company or business? What patterns do you notice in the types of clientele that your company attracts? For some companies, these answers will come up easily and quickly. For other companies, it may take some digging to figure out how to answer questions for precise audience targeting.
When it comes to precise audience targeting, attorneys should consider what area of law they practice. An estate attorney will want to market to a target audience who’s seeking their services, while a personal injury lawyer will serve a different demographic. Consider what types of clients usually seek you out. If your services are more affordable than the average rate in your region, you can market to clients who might have a lower budget. If you’re a high-end attorney, your target audience is likely wealthier clients.
For Insurance Agencies
Similarly to precise audience targeting for attorneys, insurance agencies will want to factor the types of insurance they provide into identifying their target audience. As an example, an auto insurance company would probably identify car owners as their target audience. To narrow that down further, the insurance company could use the region they serve as an identifier for a target audience. If you’re a small local insurance firm, you can identify hyperlocal clients as your target audience. When you have office locations in several states, you can expand that target audience to include everywhere you serve.
For Construction Contractors
Construction contractors may have the easiest time identifying their target audience by considering what type of work they do. A fence contractor will probably have a target audience who needs their fence installed or repaired. On the other hand, professionals who work in HVAC repair will identify folks who need to repair their AC or heating system as a target audience. Residential roofers, can exclude companies seeking commercial roofing jobs from their target audience and hone in on residential homeowners who need roof repairs and replacements. If your company solely installs and sells inground pools, you can weed out above-ground pool owners from your target audience.
As you can see, identifying a target audience frequently involves thinking as much about who you don’t serve as you do about who you do serve. Even if your services are broad or your company has multiple branches of construction work, you can always identify a target audience for each service. Then, gear your marketing efforts around that service toward the specific target market you have in mind.
For Dentists and Oral Surgeons
Dentists and oral surgeons can use precise audience targeting to market their dental and oral surgery services on a general level or specific level. Let’s say your office excels at dental implants and specializes in that service. If you’re the only oral surgeon in your area who offers that service, you’ll know that your target audience might be residents who are seeking dental implants. Depending on the ages that you serve, you might be able to narrow down your target audience even further.
If you only serve elderly patients who are looking to purchase dental implants, you can target your marketing efforts to the geriatric population. On the other hand, if you’re a pediatric dentist, your target audience will be children, teens, and their families. The marketing materials you use will vary widely based on the target audience. What’s more, the methods you use to market from social media to billboards will be determined largely by your target audience.
As a dental office, you may want to use surveys on existing customers to start figuring out who your target audience might be. Asking questions on the surveys like “Where do you live?” and “What services interest you?” can make it easier to identify a target market. If your customers are coming from an hour or two away from your office, you may want to widen your net and expand your marketing efforts to include those communities. Alternatively, if you find that your customers almost exclusively come from your local area, you may be able to flex your local roots and how you serve your local community proudly to get their attention and that of future customers.
For Healthcare Providers
In the medical field, figuring out your target audience is just as important as it is in any other industry. Whether you provide anti-aging medicine or practice family medicine, you’ll want to use effective methods for precise audience targeting. As TBH Creative shares, healthcare providers can find their target audience by asking questions about their clients’ geographic location, demographic characteristics, psychographic traits, and behavioral patterns.
In this case, “geographic location” refers to the city or town and zip codes of your clients. Demographic information has to do with your client’s gender, employment status, age, and socioeconomic status. While “psychographic” is a fancy word, it simply means the hobbies, beliefs, and lifestyle choices that your clients make. Behavioral patterns have to do with online and analog activities that would indicate the type of advertising your patients and future patients are most likely to see. There’s no use finding a target market and attempting to market to them if you can’t even get your advertising materials onto the platform or format that will reach them.
As with any industry, businesses that work in education should think about their specialties and how they attract a specific clientele. As an example, a cosmetology school can consider the types of students who enroll as they practice precise audience targeting. If your school is geared towards students who are still in high school, your marketing will look different from a school that mostly recruits students who are returning to the workforce or non-traditional students.
As you can tell, finding a target audience is a key aspect of effective marketing. If you don’t know where to start, asking smart questions might be the best place. You should also look at trends with current customers.