Before you begin any type of marketing campaign whether that be print, digital or even rebranding, your audience should always be at the center. Discounting the importance of analyzing your audience is one of the number one mistakes we see small businesses make. If you’re not considering your audience when making marketing decisions you’re missing the key element to success.

Why Identify and Analyze Your Audience?

When you’re too focused on your own goals, you miss providing what your target audience actually wants. It’s easy to put together a solid marketing campaign, but quite another to plan something that reaches, connects and inspires your audience to take action.
Identifying and analyzing the wants and needs of your audience can help in a variety of marketing areas from advertising to branding. As a result you’ll be able to:

  • Create branding that connects on an emotional level.
  • Write content that is valuable and beneficial to your audience.
  • Build a website designed to serve visitor needs.
  • Place ads where you know your audience will be.
  • Provide the information your audience is looking for in sales materials.
  • Increase conversions and sales due to all the items above.

Define Your Current Audience

A great place to start is by first understanding both the audience you have and the audience you want. Ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Who is currently buying or working with our company?
  2. Which of our products or services are they gravitating towards?
  3. Does our current audience align with who we want to be working with?
  4. If not, who do we want to be targeting?

Once you answer these questions you’ll have a better understanding of who exactly you’re currently attracting as well as any shifts you want to make moving forward.

Understand Your Audience

As mentioned earlier, the whole point of defining your audience is so you can understand their wants and needs. Just making a list of these can be rather daunting, but if you break it down into simple questions you can define quite a bit about who you’re targeting.
Define Specific Personas
Chances are everyone in your target audience doesn’t fit into just one bucket. There could be varying levels of experience, knowledge, frustration and more. You want to make sure you’re defining characteristics for each persona in your audience. You may have anywhere from two to five personas.
Think of each persona as a specific person within an audience sub-group (for a bigger impact, think of someone you know). For example, you may deal with both CEO level professionals as well as sales, and each of these people have different knowledge, pain points etc. Start by defining the basics of each persona using the guides below:
Persona Name:
Background:
Job? Career Path? Family?
Demographics:
Male or female? Age? Income? Location?
Learn More About Each Persona
Once you have the basics defined for each of your personas it’s time to start defining more detailed characteristics, goals and challenges for each. Fill out the below sets of questions and information for each persona.
Identifiers
Demeanor? Communication Preferences?
Goals
Primary goal? Secondary goal?
Challenges
Primary challenge? Secondary challenge?
What Can We Do
…to help our persona achieve their goals?
…to help our persona overcome their challenges?
This great set of starter questions was sourced from Hubspot’s free download! You can get it here.
Consider Conducting Interviews
While you can fill out this information based on your own knowledge, also consider conducting interviews or surveys with your audience. There may be needs you don’t know about, and the best way to discover them is by going straight to the source. Find 20 questions to ask in a persona interview here.

Evaluate The Information You’ve Gathered

Now that you’ve defined your audience, broke them out into personas and gotten to know them it’s time to evaluate. Look at the information for each group and start making key decisions on how this audience affects your brand, products, services, communication and more. From there you’ll be able to start designing marketing campaigns specifically built for your audience.
Fortunately there are already a lot of great resources around for defining target audiences. Check out these resources to dig deeper:
Getting Started with Segmentation – Hubspot
How to Find Your Target Audience and Create The Best Content That Connects – CoSchedule Blog
Defining target audience is one of our own first steps when working with marketing clients. Need help making it happen for your own company? Give us a shout!
 
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