You’ve got a great product or service and are eager to get out there, tell the world about it and start watching the sales rack up.
But before you do, it’s really important to spend some time thinking about exactly who is most likely to buy your product, or why; in other words, who is your target audience?
Or audiences – you are likely to have different audiences who use your product/service for different reasons.
Doing the groundwork before you start any kind of marketing will really help to focus your messaging and maximise your appeal. Here’s what you need to consider:
Who will really want your product?
If your initial response is ‘everybody’, it’s worth giving it a little more thought. Although you might offer something that a large majority of the population uses or buys – stationery, insurance, hairdressing, for example – positioning it as having mass-market appeal will make your offering seem generic and non-specialist.
The trick is to make the buyer feel like you have insight into their lives and are producing something just for them.
Hairdressing – salons are different; some are more traditional and appeal to a certain chunk of the market and others may be more radical, edgy or ‘out there’ – and this will likely attract a different group of people.
So, whilst hairdressing is a service we all use, where we ‘buy’ it will differ based on who we are, what we like, where we live, how we travel and budget, to name a few.
What problem does your product solve?
Think about what issues your potential buyer faces and how your product addresses them.
They will have a pain point or be struggling with something – you need to work out how your product/service helps them.
Consider these areas:
What is their problem / pain point?
What do you offer them to solve it?
How do you offer the solution?
What’s their outcome?
Let’s take first aid training as an example; your buyer’s problem is that they need training for their staff.
They need a company that can come to them because it’s easier plus they have a budget in mind.
You are the right provider for them because your training offers first aid qualifications, you can deliver it on site and the price you charge is what they can afford.
The outcome is that their staff are trained and qualified, confident in their new skills, and they are happy with the price they’ve paid.
If you only offered training at your premises, could only teach in groups of five people and they had eight or your fees were too high, they would not choose you; they would not be your target audience.
Adapt according to feedback too; if you have several requests for mental health first aid training but don’t currently provide it, is it something you should consider offering?
It’s likely that the client will come back to you in the future, so you need to think about their lifetime spend; if you don’t offer the training many people want, they will go elsewhere for this and most likely other training too, so that they have a single provider who they have worked with before, like and trust.
Segment your audiences
When targeting consumers, you’ll often find you have a number of different buyers within your audience, all of whom buy your product for different reasons:
- Age groups – let’s say you sell trainers; some people might buy your shoes because they love the way they look, others might buy them for comfort.
- Gender: with such diversity in this category, it’s important to put your gender views aside and communicate in a way each group wants to be spoken to. Know your pronouns!
- Location: are you able to deliver your product or service locally, nationally and globally? If so, think about how those consumers differ and what they need to know – such as express delivery options, for example. If you can’t, don’t target audiences you can’t supply to.
- Budget: your range might comprise several different price points. Those shopping at the higher end will want to know about luxury, and quality, whereas mid-range/lower-end shoppers will be more concerned with value and price. They might all want the same product but are likely to want something different from it.
There are many more categories: heritage, life stage, nationality, holiday destinations, how they commute etc.
Find what’s relevant to your business and start to make smaller audience sections so that what you say to them really resonates, makes sense and appeals to them.
B2B audiences are different to B2C audiences
Whereas with a consumer audience, you’re usually only targeting one buyer, when it comes to B2B, there could be more than one ‘customer’ who will decide whether to buy your product.
There could be procurement, finance, senior manager and the end user – each will have different needs.
Think about factors such as which sector they’re in; an accountant, for example, who only works with trade clients, doesn’t need to market to audiences outside of this sector. A Public Relations consultant who only serves technology clients won’t be targeting any market to the fashion or beauty industry. Consider the job title of the person you’re talking to; are they senior level, a facilities manager, or an HR lead? The size of the business, in terms of number of staff, and revenue will have an impact, as will their location.
Overall, be laser-focused when looking at your audiences. If your research tells you that, for example, your most likely buyers are 20+ just starting out in work, and 30+ with limited budget, put all your energy into targeting these two groups with appropriate messages for each that take into account how they spend their time, their interests, jobs and lifestyle, and where your service/product fits in.
Specialising shows that you really know your audiences and are offering something tailored for them.
If you need help with defining your target audience, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read our blog on key messages – to help you define what to say to your target audiences.