13 Keys to Understanding Your Target Audience

One of the most important aspects of building your own business is to identify exactly who your target clientele is. Understanding your audience enables you to create a link and establish a connection with those who are most interested in what you have to offer. This equips you with the ability to adapt your content specifically for them which results in a much more positive response.

Positive responses drive visitors towards becoming clients, which is exactly what you want for your business to succeed! Understanding your audience not only helps you adapt to their needs, but it also prevents you from wasting precious time and resources on those who are not truly interested in what you have to offer.

So how can you make that step to understanding exactly who your key customers are? Here are 13 keys to move you towards a clearer understanding of exactly who that is.

How would you describe your ideal customer? Here you will identify who they are in the sense of demographics, psychographics, and geographics – everything from age and gender to location and income. A customer profile will help you paint a picture of what exactly they ‘look’ like.

Some examples include (via Forbes):

A single male in his early twenties renting an apartment in NYC and earning more than $100,000 a year.

A married mother of four in Wisconsin that is a stay-at-home parent and has total family income of less than $40,000 per year.

This step is where you start to gain a better understanding of your clientele and their buying behaviour. Demographics are a great start, but it doesn’t allow you to relate to the drive of your customers. So therefore it is important to identify their goals – what is it that your ideal customer wants to achieve, and how will they go about trying to do this?

After answering these questions you can identify where you will be able to interject in helping them achieve these goals. Your strategy should then be targeted to presenting your clients with exactly how you will be able to help them reach their goals, and why it will work.

In order to know if you can help them, you first need to understand what it is they need help with. This may be in the form of an issue, problem, or perhaps a desire. So you may start by asking these questions:

What is the issue they are facing, and how can I address it with my product or service?
What problem are they stuck on, and do I have the tools to help them resolve it?
What is their desired outcome, and can I help them achieve it with the products of services I have to offer?

Now that you have a better idea of the limitations faced by your potential clients, you can adapt your products or services to be more suitable for your clientele in order to accurately serve them in the current market.

Okay so you understand their demographics, you visualize their goals, you’ve identified their problems – now what do you know about their behaviour? This is where you need to do a bit more market research. Find out what drives your clients to make decisions. Is it money, happiness, autonomy, or calculated risk? This will help you to predict not only buying behaviour, but can also allow you to pre-emptively see the future needs they may potentially have.

Understanding your client’s behaviour gives you that extra preparedness required to gain a deeper insight into their decision-making strategies. This also give you a better understanding of their personalities, which will enable you to customize your product or service to give your clients and even greater overall experience.

Noticing exactly where your clients are is key to your success. If you don’t know where your potential customers are spending their time, how will you reach them? Research into target audience location will allow you to identify where they will see you, where they get their information, and where they frequent most often (for an even greater market penetration).

Once you are able to show up where you customer are, they will begin to take notice and eventually reach you on their own. This is where a great marketing strategy comes into place. Your marketing strategy will give you the exposure needed to be seen by the right people in the right places. Visibility is key in today’s market. If you have a great product or service but no one knows about its, it’s almost as if it doesn’t exist at all.

This section relates somewhat more to the internal structures of your company, product, or service. In order to effectively solve the problems of your potential customers, you need to clearly understand your strengths. What exactly do you offer that will solve their problem, and what strengths and expertise do you possess that will enable you to create the solution?

Not only is this a critical step to meeting a customer need, but it also allows you to identify any weaknesses that you may have in order to improve those skills or find complimentary resources to offer your clients, increasing the overall experience. Here it is important to recognize that in some cases, serving your target audience requires partnerships with other companies to ensure that your client’s needs are fully met.

Now this is the tried and true question… Are your clients willing to pay for what you have to offer? When the answer is ‘yes’, then you know you’ve found your true audience. This then becomes the exchange, in which your product or services is trades for money in order to solve a customer’s need or problem.

Keep in mind, there are many who are unwilling to pay and most people want anything for free. However, your loyal customers truly need what you have to offer and so will seek you out for this perfect exchange. Stick to these clients and you will not be disappointed.

Often times we hear the phrase “Value-added”. This is so key! In this step you identify what it is that you do differently from the competition – that special something that only you can offer, that is unique to the customer experience.

This creates additional value that your clients will gain from working with you, and it will ultimately be the drive behind their return. Repeat sales are often driven by the value gained, and can dramatically increase the revenue and growth of your business.

The amazing thing about trust is that it builds loyalty – and loyal customers are the ones who will return to you and stick with your brand no matter what. This is such a valuable component to your business and should not be overlooked.

Recently, one of my favourite women entrepreneurs, Marie Forleo, created a great piece about trust where she points out that trust is best built when you are open, honest, and transparent about your business and that you hold to the promises you make. She mentions that you need to be true to yourself and only say things that you can stand behind – never pretend. When you are honest with yourself and your market, you will create trust instantly. Another great way is through setting clear expectations and walking your clients through the process so they know exactly what to expect. This helps to remove fear and uncertainty which creates trust – click here to learn more about building trust from Marie.

“Build your business on truth and trust will build itself.” – Marie Forleo

Understanding your competition can benefit you in two main ways. First, it can give you a better idea of how they first started out and what approaches they took to really zone in on their target audience. It will help you to outline successful strategies in reaching your audience and avoiding those strategies that were not beneficial. In this way you will be able to learn form their previous experience to save you from making any serious mistakes from the beginning.

Second, understanding your competition can help you identify which unique feature about your brand or product is most notable. This will help you to focus your strategies to this specific point, allowing you to stand out from the crowd. There will always be competition in the market, the key is to understand where you fit in and how you can capitalize on the value you add to the overall customer experience.

This is another critical part of understanding your target audience. Through the use of surveys or questionnaires you can gather some valuable feedback from the customers you are to serve. They will give you real reviews and answers to what it is they are looking for, and whether or not you are in fact meeting their need.

Feedback can help you to re-align your business strategies with the beliefs of your true audience. Through understanding your clientele and the perspectives they have you will be able to better understand where their problems lie and address them accordingly. If a certain aspect of your product does not match up with any of your customer needs, you can also re-evaluate and better adapt the service to solve their specific problem.

This is a great option for a growth strategy where you look into expanding your reach. Here you can focus on understanding who else is out there that can be a potential customer. Once your initial target audience is identified, you can locate others who have similar interests and create new products that are adapted to a new section in the market.

The expanded reach that you potentially gain will allow you to capture a great section of the market, putting you ahead of your competition. Here you would also focus on re-discovering your new audience, and understanding them just as well as the first niche that you serve.

Now that you have identified your target audience and you understand their needs, it is important to constantly monitor their reactions and responses. Just as trends in the economic and social world change, so do your customers. This is where it is key to keep evolving and refreshing your approach.

As your business grows and your reach expands you may be able to add new features to capture new customers and intrigue returning clients. Be careful not to become stagnant. Always be on the look out for ways to improve, evolve and adapt. Your customers will value your approach and will appreciate your ability to always serve them at a higher lever.

I trust that you will find these 13 keys to be incredibly helpful in understanding your audience.

Now I’d love to hear from YOU!

  1. Have you identified your target audience? What steps or tools did you use to accomplish a better understanding?
  2. Loved this post or if you know someone who is specifically struggling with this step in their business, share it now!
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