Who is your ideal client?
Who is your primary customer?
Who is your intended consumer?
Who is your target audience?
I know for many, any of these questions makes your blood run cold! However, I have a home truth for you – identifying your target audience is so important for your business. In fact, it can only be a good thing and will not be limiting or divisive. Instead, it will help make your own content clearer, more driven and more powerful. It will help you to create an impact.
Let me convince you…
Why do I need to identify a target audience?
I promise that having a clear vision of your target audience will make the creation of any content much easier. You will stop trying to be all things to all people.
I know it seems tempting to try to appeal to all…you probably think of lots of multinational brands and how they seem to sell to everyone and anyone, but I assure you, they do not. At the very least, they have different content and marketing campaigns for different audiences (and in different publications, media platforms and locations) and the money to do it! 😉
I know it can seem scary to seemingly ‘limit’ yourself and appeal to what may feel like only a handful of people, but just because you ‘target’ a certain sector, doesn’t mean no one who falls out of this ‘category’ will ever buy your products.
My favourite example of this is the lovely J K Rowling and her Harry Potter books. I promise that when she started writing, she would have had a small target audience in mind. Most likely this would have been an audience of British children with an average reading age of 10 years old, who are familiar with the school system and like fantasy stories. Seriously, I know it seems very specific, but if you think about the content of her books, how it is based around a boarding school and a house system (i.e. Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw and Slytherin), which is quite a rare concept internationally. Think about the level of language and length of the texts too. She did not try to appeal to a wide ranging, international audience of all ages, when she was first writing. And yet, the books did appeal to the ‘masses’ and, according to her publishers, Bloomsbury, the Harry Potter series has sold 450 million copies worldwide in 79 languages and are twenty years old!!!
So as I say, identifying, focussing and directing your content at a very specific target audience will not limit sales.
How do I identify my target audience?
This is the challenging bit! Start ‘broad’ and then get narrower and narrower. So for example, gender, then age, then income, then think even more specific like style or personality traits.
Try to have such a clear idea of who your target audience is that it almost forms in to a single imaginary person. In fact, they don’t even have to be imaginary. I am working with a client who has done a lot of work on who their ideal customers are and what they are like, and from their description I actually have a close friend in mind! When I write the copy I will definitely be aiming it at her…just as if I was talking to her.
Again, don’t let being this specific worry you in anyway. We all share a common language and many common turns of phrase. Just because you write with a specific audience in mind, doesn’t mean others won’t understand or appreciate your message. It just ensures your content is refined and more consistent.
What do I do now I know who my target audience is?
Write for them! When you are thinking about your content think about what would pique their interest? What would appeal to them? What would make most sense or be most useful for them to know? Most business-related content is about sharing information. This could be sharing information about products, sharing latest news, sharing latest offers or sharing new services. Share it in a way that will be most interesting to your target audience – are they busy? What media do they use most? Are they Facebookers or Linkedin advocates? Will they have time to read endless information on your website (because they enjoy a nice lunch break or afternoons at home by themselves or will they more likely be in a rush with limited time)?
Identifying your target audience, can answer so many questions, for example:
Q: When is best time to post on social media?
A: when your target audience are most likely to be checking their phones/tablets
Q: Which social media platforms should I use?
A: Those that your target audience use most
Q: How should my content be presented?
A: In a way that is most appealing, engaging and accessible to your target audience
Even…Q: What should my pricing strategy be?
A: One that suits the budgets of your target audience.
At the end of the day, you can’t appeal to all. You can’t be all things to all people because you will just end up ‘falling between stools’ and be a vague, generalised version of yourself.