• Linda Brett

The customer conundrum: finding out who you’re talking to

Updated: May 29, 2019

In our last blog, we encouraged businesses to answer five questions to help fine-tune their marketing efforts and messages. Do you know who your marketing is addressing and the individuals or groups your messages are tailored to? This blog provides more detail on your target audience by answering the question: WHO.

Once in a client meeting, we asked a business owner who they were targeting with their marketing, and they responded, “everyone!” We both laughed because that wasn’t overly practical for their marketing time or budget.

Of course, a business would sell to everyone they can, but getting more specific by defining who is most likely to buy your product or service lets you create a more effective marketing plan, and certainly a more frugal budget. We’ve yet to meet a business with a budget big enough to reach everyone!

Your target audience: who is your ideal customer?

One helpful way to identify your target audience is to create a ‘buyer persona’ or a ‘customer profile’ of the person most likely to buy from you. Here, it helps to get quite specific, thinking about their age, interests and location.

In the following example, this business would be selling Nordic walking poles or trekking/hiking poles for active people.

Customer Profile: my ideal customer is a man or a woman in their mid-life or older (age 40+) who is looking for ways to support their passion for walking or hiking. This is someone who may have had an active youth or may be coming to outdoor exercise later in life. They may have minor physical challenges (bad knees, poor balance) but still want to take part in being outdoors. They could still be working or might be retired. They are looking for group activities and often join walking groups. They have the disposable income needed to buy good-quality equipment and gear for the most ease and comfort when trekking.

When defining your target audience, two common ways of looking at categorizing your buyers is by demographics and psychographics.

The idea is to specifically flesh out as many categories as you can that are relevant to your business. Combining both demographics and psychographics gives you a fuller picture of who you are talking to.

Let’s go back to our buyer persona for the walking sticks. In the process of writing the profile, we identified: They are looking for group activities and often join walking groups.

Next, a quick Google search for ‘Canmore Walking Groups’ gives us a great number of groups – all in our local area! This includes trail and hiking groups, alpine groups, guided hiking and walking tours providers, and this Meet-up website with more than 7,500 members in 5 groups!

What took just a few minutes uncovered a rich resource of audience groups you may not have thought of. Perhaps, some of these groups may be open to a special offer from your company, a partnership for co-promotion, and more. This example is just one way that shows how identifying your ideal target audience/s or groups can move your marketing along.

What audience groups are hiding under your nose?

Beyond target audiences defined by demographics or psychographics, go one step further and get creative. Here are some suggestions:

Interested Fans: do you have fans that always post on your social channels and share your content? Reach out to them with special offers.

Repeat Customers: repeat customers are often interested in other services you may offer, and you don’t have to convince them of your business’s value.

Locals: there are lots of ways to connect with your locals. Watch this Bootprint video for ideas on how to get to know your locals.

New/Drop-In Customers: can you capture information (emails) to reach out to new customers in the future? Draws, newsletters, advance notices of sales can work well.

Other Business Partners: in the above walking stick example, perhaps a physiotherapist or health care provider in your town may want to recommend or carry your product.

Interested Media: media editors and writers for local newspapers and special interest publications are often interested in local news or events. Remember, it’s not an advertisement, so don’t sell too strongly – be sure to add value or give advice relevant to your business area.

These tactics should get you started on identifying your target audience for more effective marketing efforts. As always, if you have a question, give us a shout!

#socialmedia #productivity

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