Find Your Target Audience in 4 Steps
Being a young entrepreneur means you have a product or service to sell. That product or service might be the best thing in the world, but if you’re not selling to your target audience you may be missing out on the success you deserve.
What do we mean by “target audience?” Let’s use an example.
When you’re watching YouTube, what types of ads do you see? We’re guessing you see ads for brands you know and love, like Starbucks and Samsung. That’s because the marketing teams at those brands follow certain algorithms to find out what the viewers of certain YouTubers like. They then create their ad campaigns accordingly to catch your attention. What you probably don’t see are ads for baby products or retirement communities. Those companies know you don’t need their products and aren’t going to waste valuable ad dollars marketing to you.
But it doesn’t take an entire marketing team or big budget to find your target audience – and then to make sure you get your product or service in front of their eyeballs. Follow these 4 easy steps and your efforts will pay off in no time!
1. NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO BUY YOUR PRODUCT
That sounds harsh, but it’s true. Let’s say your startup business is making scented candles. While many people enjoy scented candles, you can’t market to everyone who wants to buy a scented candle. Why not?
First, you’ll spread yourself too thin. Think of all the social media platforms and types of advertising you’ll need to use to get your message in front of everyone. From teens to Boomers, you’ll need specialized marketing tactics just to reach everybody. And busy young entrepreneurs like you don’t have time (or the budget) for that.
Second, if you don’t tweak your message and media per demographic, then your advertising will come off as super generic. That goes against what branding is all about.
Third, you may end up wasting time and effort promoting your scented candles to people who, for whatever reason, aren’t interesting in buying your product right now.
2. CREATE YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER
Who is your “ideal” customer? Do a short thought experiment and imagine someone buying your scented candles. Now write down that person’s:
- Gender, if applicable
- Income or job, if applicable
For your candle business, let’s say your ideal customer is in their 30s or 40s, probably female, anywhere in America, she enjoys yoga, smoothies, and volunteering for charities, and she makes a moderate-income working as a baker in a local shop.
Now, dig deeper:
Jessica is a 35-year old baker who works in a small local bakery in a moderately-sized American town. She makes enough money to afford a small, middle-class house for herself. When not working, she enjoys going to a weekly yoga class, making her own smoothies, and volunteering twice a month at a nearby homeless shelter.
Need help creating your ideal customer? Use a template to get started. Fill out as much as you can, but don’t worry about filling out every single detail.
3. HOW TO TARGET YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER
The more you know about your target customer, the more likely you are to advertise your product to people who will buy it. We know that our Jessica is a woman in her mid-30s and so her social media platform of choice is probably YouTube, followed closely by Facebook. You can advertise on Snapchat, but the likelihood of Jessica and others like her seeing your ad decreases significantly over there.
How do we know? A quick Google search for “social media use by age” will lead you to many studies of demographics per platform. That, in turn, will guide you to make the most of your marketing time and money.
While this may seem like a lot of work, never underestimate the power of a quick Google search! Young entrepreneurs like you are probably used to going the extra mile to gain whatever advantage you can. This is the whole purpose of creating a customer persona. If Jessica is your ideal customer, then it’s safe to assume that others like her are using the same social media platforms. And that’s how you zero in on your target audience.
4. TELL THEM WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR
Like most people in the 21st century, Jessica does not have unlimited time or patience to click on every ad she sees. Selling your scented candles to her (and others like her) will take some clever planning on your part.
At this stage of targeting your ideal customer, the big question to ask yourself is, “Why?”
- Why did I make this product?
- Why will Jessica want this candle as opposed to other candles?
- Why should I ask for x amount of dollars for my candles?
As an example, read these two ads and think about which one grabs your attention:
1. I made these candles using only fresh, organic products. I use calming scents to help you relax at the end of a stressful day.
2. Peace of mind is only a flicker away. With wholesome ingredients and pure lavender essential oils, this candle is designed to calm your nerves.
In the second ad, you’re addressing Jessica directly. You’re letting her know the benefits she’ll get from buying your candle. Everything about this ad tells her how easy it is to find peace of mind – all she must do is make a purchase.
When writing your ad copy, remember to stay positive. Customers like to feel good. They want to know that they are getting a quality product for their money. Show them how much better their lives will be with your scented candles.
When you identify and sell to a target audience, rather than “everyone,” what you’re really doing is letting customers know that your service or product is for them. Who doesn’t like to feel special? The more your target audience feels “seen,” the more likely they are to spend money supporting your business!
Find out more about the Kantner Foundation, including our college scholarships for young entrepreneurs in Florida, by clicking here. We look forward to your application!