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2. Hitting the Marketing Bullseye: Define Your Target Audience

Hitting the Marketing Bullseye: Define Your Target Audience

It’s a fact.

Nobody wants to waste money on marketing.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what many companies do. They spend piles of cash on ineffective campaigns that don’t generate leads.

To understand why this happens—and how to avoid this money pit yourself—it’s useful to always keep one thing front and center in your mind:

Your customers.

They are the ones supporting your business after all. And a customer-centric approach to marketing is ultimately what sets apart winning and losing campaigns.

Cutting Through the Noise

The best marketing messages are the ones that speak directly to your customers. You know, the type of person that’s interested in your products and services. The ones you have the greatest odds of selling to and who’ll love what you have to offer.

That may seem obvious, but many campaigns miss the mark. And without a pointed approach, the modern customer simply won’t even register your business in their minds.

That’s because we live in a time when advertising messages are everywhere. In fact, a recent study estimates the typical American sees up to 10,000 ads in a single day. That’s a lot.

Because of this constant bombardment, the human mind filters out the overwhelming majority of the messaging thrown in its direction. And the small amount that actually makes its way into a customer’s mind is because it’s relevant to their lives.

This means to be effective, your messaging needs to meet customers where they are and resonate with their experience. They need to identify with your messaging. To see themselves, their needs and where they ultimately wish to go in your products.

Now, while this may seem like some feat, it’s actually a relatively simple matter. And it’s just what you’re about to learn. So keep reading.

Putting A Face and Name to Your Customer

One fantastic way to get started with your messaging is to create what’s called a customer “persona.”

A persona is basically a character you create to represent a typical buyer of your products. This persona is based on market research as well as the personalities of your existing customers. 

By drafting personas you create someone to speak to with your marketing. This is especially helpful if you think of them as an actual person—a friend—rather than an abstract marketing “idea.” 

How Personas Improve Your Marketing

A customer persona makes it much easier to write effective campaigns. That’s because in a way you’re speaking with someone you already “know.” This helps you tailor your messaging to a specific type of person and win more sales.

Marketing personas also help you gather a larger share of the market by niching down multiple times. 

As there may be more than one “type” of person who purchases your services, the creation of multiple personas helps you write more effective advertising for each group—a practice far more productive than trying to win them all with a single strategy.

The ultimate goal is to write ads that stop customers dead in their tracks—almost like they just heard their name shouted out in a crowd. Because once you’ve got their attention, the rest comes a lot easier. 

So let’s get started on your first persona.

How to Create A Customer Persona

The essence of creating effective marketing personas is learning about the people who buy—and love—your product.

You can learn about customers through formal quantitative data—using surveys and the like—as well as qualitative research like casual conversations with real-life customers. 

In fact, the latter may be all you need to write useful personas. Just get your customers talking and you’re sure to discover just about everything you need. 

Below are a few questions to help you determine more about your ideal customers. However, the key is just getting clients to share feedback—and most people are happy to talk when asked. 

So pay attention. And while you’re at it, encourage your customers to go a bit deeper into the thoughts and feelings they were experiencing when deciding to purchase from your company. These insights will help you speak to their emotions—something often far more powerful than purely explaining the practical benefits of your service.

Questions/Data Points for Defining Your Target Audience
  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Hobbies
  • Location
  • Family/household
  • Job title(s)
  • Industry
  • Annual income
  • Preferred communication method (email, phone, text, etc.)
  • What are their general behaviors, attitudes, lifestyle preferences, personality type, etc.?
  • What level of education have they received? 
Questions for Understanding Buying Behavior
  • What do your customers want in relation to your products and services?
  • What was the place or method of purchase?
  • What was their reasoning behind making the purchase?
  • How do they feel they’ve benefited from your product, beyond its practical application?
Questions for Understanding Customers’ General Psychology
  • What are your customers' daily challenges?
  • What problems do they face that your product solves?
  • What are their overall hopes, wants and dreams?

The answers to these questions should spark some useful ideas for writing your first personas. Once you have a general “personality” down, you can then give each persona a name with a descriptive title.

For example, a name like “Anxious Annabelle” or “Teacher Tom” is a succinct way to conjure up a mental image of the kind of person you’re speaking to—ultimately making your ads easier to write and far more effective.

Avoid Those Less Likely to Buy

One more thing: you may also benefit from writing “negative” personas which exemplify the types of people to avoid with your marketing. 

Say for instance DIYers love your products, but professional contractors are less likely to buy. It may be useful to write a “Carl the Contractor” persona that’s easy for your staff to relate to and identify so they don’t waste time trying to appeal to this person.

Time to Create Some Personas

At this point, take a moment and reach out to some of your loyal customers. Ask them if they’d be willing to share some feedback on their experience with your company and products and even answer some of the additional questions from above.

It’s well worth your time and will make the following steps of your Marketing Blueprint that much more effective.

Your Step-by-Step Marketing Blueprint:

Presale: Reaching Cold Prospects

1. Your Marketing Budget Guidelines

2. Your Target Audience

3. Your Message

4. Your Website

5. Your Traffic Channels

6. Your Nurture System

The Sale: Converting Customers

7. Your Sales Conversion Strategy

Post Sale: Creating Raving Fans

8. Your Customer Lifetime Value

9. Your Referral Program