How well should you know your Target Audience?

Like your favorite TV character.

Have you ever watched the show Friends or The Big Bang Theory? Two very popular shows (and if you haven’t seen either, you have to get on it).

Who’s your favorite TV character? Which one are you most like? Which one resonates with you?

Let’s use these shows as examples since so many people love these shows. They can relate really well to the characters, and people love them so much that there are quizzes out there you can take that tell you which character you’re most like. Maybe you’ve taken one of these before.

In these shows, the main characters are relatively the same age as each other, and yet each of them have their own unique personalities, likes, and mannerisms. If I wrote out a list of characteristics and personality traits for one of them, you’d most likely know exactly which character I was referring to. Because you know them so well.

And just like you know these characters, you need to know your target audience.

Know Your Target Audience

Why is it so important to know your target audience? Because you want everything you say...everything you write about in your emails, the content on your social media and website... to resonate with them. 

Everything you’re producing should be for a specific group of people. Maybe your service is for all the free-spirited Phoebes of the world. Maybe it’s for all the highly educated and quirky Sheldons.

Now, let me clarify something for a second. Just because you are targeting a specific group of people does not mean you need to exclude someone from your services (unless they’re absolutely not a good fit).

Let’s say you’re fishing for salmon, and you decide to use a bait that you know for a fact that salmon absolutely cannot resist. You also decide to fish in a particular spot where you know that salmon like to hang out. 

Not a lot of time has passed, but all of a sudden, you don’t just catch one salmon, you catch a whole icebox full! It’s your best fishing experience ever and without a lot of effort.

While you’re going through all that salmon you caught, you notice that you end up catching a few rainbow trout as well because they were hanging out with their salmon friends and were also drawn to your bait. But just because you caught a few rainbow trout, doesn’t mean you have to throw them back...they just happen to be hanging out at the same spot and were attracted to what you had to offer too.

I connected with someone the other day who told me that she knew exactly who her target audience was, and that we didn’t need to spend time focusing on it because honestly…”everyone” could use her program, and she thought working on this part of her brand strategy was a little redundant and pointless.

To give you a little bit of background, this person (we’ll call her Jenn) told me that her target audience included males and females in the age group of 24 to 65 who wanted to lose weight.

That’s a great start, but it was still so very broad. To truly know and understand who your target audience is, you’ll have to dig a lot deeper.

How a 24-year-old thinks, talks, behaves, and what they are motivated by will most likely not be the same as a 65-year-old, right? They’re in two different life stages. They don’t necessarily speak in the same way. What inspires one to take action might not influence the other whatsoever. Make sense?

Understanding Your Target Audience

I include brand strategy in my services because a lot of people think they know who their target audience is, but at the end of the day, they actually don’t know them well enough to really understand who they are, what they would consider important to them, and why they would choose your business over someone else’s.

If you don’t understand who your target audience is...you won’t be able to understand what motivates them to take action and purchase your service. You won’t understand their frustrations, and they won’t understand how your service could help solve their problem.

And then you’ll end up wasting tons of time and money trying to connect with people who don’t really understand, need, or care about your business.

Just like knowing the details of our favorite TV characters, we should know the details of our target audience.

You should know your potential customers so well that when they’re reading the copy on your website or watching one of your videos or stopping to read one of your posts on social media, they should connect with it and think, “YES, they totally get me! Where do I sign up?”

In Jenn’s case, she had moved forward with other parts of her visuals without really nailing the strategy down. She didn’t fully understand the specificity of her target audience. And because of that she was having so much trouble nailing down a great color palette, she was completely stuck on how to create an amazing logo that represented her business, and she was spending a lot of time and money on other parts of her brand that would inevitably have to change because they weren’t aligned with her vision and target audience.

In order to have killer visuals that attract the right clients and that really align with your brand, you have to start from the very, very beginning.

Most people don’t really take the time to dig deep into knowing who their target audience is. And because of that, they really miss out on how to create content that their customers crave. They miss out on opportunities to develop a program that solves their customers’ frustrations, and then they wonder why they can’t scale or grow their business.

The strategy part is not easy. It’s the part of branding that people just want to gloss over and “get to the good stuff.” But you have to do the work and research up front so that everything else will naturally fall into place. I can’t stress this enough.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed and burnt out from spending so much time creating content on your social media? Maybe you’re wondering what content you should be posting, so you purchase a lot of different “templates” and “content ideas” but you’re still not getting any results from your efforts.

Maybe you spent money building a cool-looking website, but no one is booking calls with you. No one’s hiring you for your services. No one seems to care about what you have to offer.

So then you’re feeling defeated. What is the freakin’ point of doing all that work? What’s the point in exhausting yourself to do more, produce more, market more...when you aren’t seeing any returns on your investment?

You have to know your people. And you have to really understand them and really communicate that you know them. People want to feel like you know them. Knowing your ideal customers and understanding how to communicate with them are two totally different, but very important things.

Let’s go back to Jenn’s target audience. I first challenged her to really focus in and narrow down the age group because 24 to 65 was way too broad.

“But everyone can use my program,” she said.

That may be true, but if you’re not able to connect with a specific group of people because you’re speaking generalities, then, instead of attracting “everyone,” you won’t be able to attract anyone. Because you’re not offering any specific results that solve a specific problem.

Have you ever gone through a business class or program where they give you the overall direction on how to run a business? But as you’re going through this program, there are parts that you get stuck on. You get stuck because you have a very specific problem. And because this business program doesn’t really go deep into specifics, it doesn’t solve your particular problem. So now you’re stuck. Not only are you stuck, but you’ll most likely stay there for a really long time unless you go get help and find someone who is experienced in this specific area to help you.

So Where Do You Start?

An easy first step is to start with demographics.

Figure out what age group your ideal customer falls into. Instead of putting them in a broad age group, be as specific as you can: 24- to 65-year-olds won’t cut it. So let’s say, hypothetically, they’re 24- to 36-year-olds.

Then determine if they’re mostly males or if they’re mostly females. Yes, they can be both, but think through who will most likely purchase your service and see if it leans one way or the other. Even if you serve both, narrowing this down will help when writing your messaging and even thinking through your visuals.

List the places where your ideal customer hangs out. In the digital space, if they’re primarily on Facebook and use it to connect with businesses like yours, you should spend a lot of time there. If they’re not using Twitter, for example, don’t stress about creating a following on that platform if most of your ideal customers aren’t even using that app.

What type of setting would they typically live in? Would they be living in a large city where they had access to a lot of shops and restaurants? Or would they be living in the countryside with a plot of land?

What are their values? What’s important to them? Do they value family? Friends? Money? Are they concerned with status or advancing their careers? Is it important to them to have a nice car or house? Do they work toward higher education? Do they believe in helping people less fortunate – and do they do something about it?

What do they do in their spare time? Do they enjoy learning a new skill? Unplugging from electronics to spend time with family? Do they travel to experience new cultures? Do they go to live shows to support local artists? Do they have any weekly rituals? Do they practice yoga or exercise on a regular basis – if so, what is their reason for doing so?

What are their personality traits? Are they serious and need to come across as mentally stimulating to others? Do they love to make people laugh? Are they constantly thinking of other people’s needs above their own? Do they express their emotions really openly? Or are they more reserved and quiet? Do they have to be the center of attention at any gathering?

How do they speak? Do they use the latest slang? Do they tend to give advice or tell a joke? Do they sound like you’re speaking to a friend? Or do they sound like you’re talking to a mentor? Do they like to use fancy words to show off their vocabulary? Do they have a dry sense of humor?

Second, figure out what frustrates them.

What’s going on right now that they need your help with? Don’t focus on just one thing, but try to list out as many as you can. Make sure that list relates to the problem you solve.

What will happen if they continue with life without signing up for your services? How will their frustrations grow if they don’t fix their problem right now? Get into the details and write down anything and everything.

What have they tried before that hadn’t gotten them the results they were looking for? What other solutions have they tried? Where did they get stuck? Why are they still having the same problem? Is it a mindset thing? Are they not willing to invest? Are they trying to solve a problem in the wrong order?

Third, communicate how your service helps solve their problem.

List the many ways you can help free your customers from their frustrations. What is one feature your existing customers love the most? What are the tangible benefits you provide for your customers? What results will they see or receive?

How is your solution to their problem different from your competitors? Compare yourself with your competitors and see what’s missing from their service that you provide for your customers. Is your process different? Do you offer new features that other businesses don’t? Does your brand sound and look different, and why is that important to your customers?

What does life look like for them after they’ve enrolled in your service? What are unexpected benefits for your customers after they’ve worked with you? Are they able to free up more of their time so are now able to travel with their family? Are they able to sign better partnership deals? Are they able to attract better employees? Are they able to dream bigger now that they’ve surpassed their initial expectations?

What are some incentives that would attract your ideal customers? What would motivate or inspire them to take action right now? What would they consider a need versus a want? What would make your customers stop and pay attention to you?

These are just a few ways to get started on how to know, understand, and communicate with your target audience. 

Once you nail down who your target audience is, everything else will fall into place. Just remember to think about your ideal customer when you’re working through your messaging, your visuals, and when you’re developing your services.

Would the decisions you make help or resonate with your ideal customers? Do they know and feel that what you offer was created just for them?

Hope this post was helpful to those of you who are struggling with figuring out how to connect with more of your potential customers. Once you nail this down, everything else will fall into place. It’s like catching salmon with bait you know they love and fishing where you know they love to hang out.

If you’re feeling stuck, or you’re inspired to dig deeper into getting to know your customers but need some help, schedule a call so you can connect with your ideal customers!

Until next time,

Happy Branding!