Appealing to everyone sounds great in theory, though it isn’t realistic. The optimal practice for outreach is to define a target audience. It’s the audience that is particularly likely to be engaged by the product or service available. Time and resources are best devoted to a target audience, rather than pursuing every angle and niche possible.
Business owners should ask themselves the eight questions below when evaluating their target audience, to help ensure their outreach is relevant and effective:
What Is the Target Audience’s Need?
A business should target an audience whose needs align with the product or service they’re offering. Every audience can benefit from a particular product or service. However, it’s important for a business to evaluate whether their product or service is the answer.
There are several ways to engage with your target audience, to ensure their needs and your brand aligns. One of the best ways is via direct conversation, in person or over the phone. Discovering a target audience’s problem and what they are presently doing to try and solve it can help clarify suitability. If a direct conversation isn’t an option, then social listening on social media, blogs and discussion boards can also provide insight on needs within a target audience.
Does the Outreach Method Align With the Audience?
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Your target audience should also define your choice of outreach. While connecting with a younger, tech-savvy target audience may be most effective via social media or savvy technological methods, an older target audience may still resonate most with print media and newsletters. Since the goal is to attract buyers, it’s pivotal to reach out in a way that convinces the audience you’re on the same page as them.
Is Market Emphasis on Location, Interests or Both?
There are numerous ways to segment an audience, ranging from geographical to skill-based factors. Regardless of choice, it’s best to condense an audience to a point where outreach is consistently effective. In essence, regarding outreach to a target audience, it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond, compared to vice versa.
Business owners should ask themselves whether their segmentation is too drastic or not specific enough. The product or service plays a large role in defining whether location, interest or a combination of both will prevail when segmenting an audience. It’s best to choose between targeting particular types of people — based on income, gender, interests, etc. — specific geographical locations or within market sectors — the audience’s occupation — to avoid an overly broad target audience. Demographic mapping can help businesses find who they’re not reaching and who they may perhaps be spending too much time on.
For example, a luxury real estate business located in Florida will logically target higher-income individuals in that state. They won’t just focus on all high-income individuals. If they feel their reach isn’t expansive enough, then it’s worth considering moving a bit into bordering states. This will appeal to some high-income individuals who may consider moving out of state. Identifying whether your target audience is too limited or expansive can help make the outreach process more efficient and effective.
Are You Showcasing Your Area of Expertise?
Everyone has an area of expertise. The web enables you to put this expertise on display, in the form of tutorial videos on YouTube, informative columns in publications and general correspondence with customers. Businesses without much of an expertise footprint on the web are not taking full advantage of such expertise.
A target audience will naturally gravitate toward content online that proposes to fulfill their needs. A business that showcases their area of expertise in the form of digital content can help bring relevant leads to the table. Those leads are a great indicator of the optimal target audience for the business.
What Drives Your Audience’s Purchasing Decisions?
Both internal and external purchasing factors come into play for audiences when they’re deciding to make a purchase. Internal influences include wants, needs, preferences and desires, as well as their location, gender, age and education level. Mood and time of day even come into play.
Externally, things like customer testimonials, ads, billboards and celebrity endorsements can play a role. Businesses should do their best to evaluate what resonates most with their target audience. They must know how that aligns with their product or service. For example, a clothing brand geared toward teenagers will naturally find value in endorsements from celebrities that are popular in the teen niche.
Purchasing decisions also come into play when identifying whether you’re targeting the right audience. Do you notice your target audience’s decisions experience influence by factors well outside your product or service’s niche? Perhaps it’s worth reconsidering that target audience.
How Does Your Audience Consume Media?
Gaining insight into your target audience’s type and frequency of media consumption can help play a role in deciding whether you’re targeting the right audience. If their interests and media outlets of choice rarely feature content relevant to your business or service, then it may be worth transitioning to a target audience with more media-laden relevance.
Even aspects like their favorite TV shows and movies can play a role, since it’s likely that the demographics of viewers for that media will align with them. You can then compare this to your product or service’s most ideal clientele base.
Do You Enjoy Working With the Target Audience?
Frequent frustration with a target audience can imply a potential mismatch. Ideally, an accurate target audience will provide businesses with a sense of satisfaction. Keep in mind that their product or service will be filling a void the audience desires. If a business dreads engaging with its audience due to having to force a product down their throats or incessantly trying to convince of its benefits, then time and resources will likely be better spent on an alternative target audience.
How Valid Is the Received Criticism?
Even if the optimal target audience is being reached out to, a subpar product or service will be met with criticism if it’s not fulfilling a need. As a result, it’s worthwhile to ensure confidently that the product or service is ready to market and release. Otherwise, a business can erroneously perceive the issue as related to the target audience and not the product itself. It’s vital for a business to distinguish between a product that’s not ready for consumption and an improperly targeted audience.
Business owners that ask these eight questions can gain further insight into whether their target audience is the right one for their product or service.