Identifying your target audience - Don’t waste money chasing the wrong people

Avatar Tine Naegels

By Tine Naegels

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Traffic might be king in some corners of the marketing world, but it's hardly the crown jewel. Picture this: your website pulls in tens of thousands of visitors every month. Yet, a business down the lane, with only a fraction of your traffic, rakes in triple your revenue. The reason? You’re wooing the wrong crowd.

What exactly is a target audience?

In its essence, a target audience consists of individuals a business sets its marketing sights on. It's not about casting a wide net but dropping the line where the fish are biting. Your aim? Zeroing in on those whose lifestyles, interests and needs align with what you're selling.

Types of target audiences

To pinpoint your target audience, consider the following factors:

  • Age

  • Purchasing or decision power

  • Geographical location

  • Industry

  • Experience level

  • Job titles

  • Needs

  • Situation

  • Interests

For a clearer picture, here’s an example:

Architects with 5-10 years of experience, specializing in sustainable commercial buildings, based in Flanders, having worked on projects sized over 1000m², often collaborating with local material suppliers.
Roles of your target audience: influencers vs. devision-makers

Understanding the influencers versus the decision-makers can streamline your efforts and give you better ROI. Decision-makers hold the final purchasing power, but influencers shape those decisions. It's crucial to target both: influencers guide the conversation, while decision-makers finalize it.

Why you should know your target audience

It's simple. By identifying your target audience you streamline your marketing strategy, ensuring every euro spent hits the mark. It helps you:

  • Create more effective marketing messages. When you know who your target audience is, you can tailor your marketing messages to their specific needs and interests. This makes your messages more relevant and engaging, which can lead to more conversions.

  • Choose the right marketing channels. Different marketing channels reach different audiences. For example, social media platforms like LinkedIn are a good way to reach B2B decision-makers, while platforms like TikTok are a good way to reach younger consumers. By understanding your target audience, you can choose the marketing channels that are most likely to reach them.

  • Allocate your marketing budget more effectively. Marketing can be expensive, so it's important to allocate your budget wisely. When you know your target audience, you can focus your spending on the marketing channels and activities that are most likely to reach them.

Determining your target audience: a step-by-step guide

  1. Reflect and assess: Look at your existing customers

    • Ask yourself these questions: Who resonates with your brand? What hurdles do they face? And importantly, who isn't your ideal client?

    • It's better to have a smaller audience of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer than a large audience of people who are not.

  2. Dive deep with market research: Learn more about the demographics, interests, and needs of your potential customers.

    • Understand your existing clientele.

    • They’re different ways, such as conducting surveys, interviews, and focus groups

    • Peek into the strategies of successful competitors. Are they leveraging online or offline channels? Are they appealing to the decision-maker or the influencer?

  3. Harness the power of data: Analytics and search data can offer invaluable insights.

    • There is a lot of data available about consumers. Use this data to learn more about your target audience and how to reach them.

    • Find out where your audience is and what content they love. This helps you decide where to place your ads.

  4. Adapt and evolve: See target audiences as a starting point, not the final answer.

    • Remember, business landscapes change. Ensure your target audience parameters aren't rigid. Review and change when necessary.

Are you reaching the right audience?

Your next step: use target persona’s - the key to better results

Target personas are fictional yet data-driven profiles of your ideal clients. They go beyond basic demographics to delve into the following:

  • Role in the company

  • Jobs to be done

  • Interests

  • Pains & gains

  • Pain relievers & gain creators

Creating target personas can help you:

  • Better understand your customers. By taking the time to develop detailed personas, you can gain a deeper understanding of your customers' needs, motivations, and challenges. This information can be used to create more relevant and engaging marketing messages.

  • Personalize your marketing. With target personas in mind, you can personalize your marketing messages to each customer segment. This can help you build stronger relationships with your customers and increase brand loyalty.

  • Improve your conversion rates. By understanding your customers' pain points and desired outcomes, you can create more effective marketing campaigns that are more likely to convert leads into customers.

Imagine 'Lucas', a 42-year-old architect based in Antwerp with over a decade of experience. Specialized in sustainable commercial buildings, he desires to find reliable construction partners who understand the intricacies of green building. He often struggels to meet client demands for innovative yet cost-effective solutions. His goal is to create designs that are both eco-friendly and cost-effective, all while pursuing his interests in historic architecture and sustainable design seminars.

How to reach your target audience?

With your target audience and personas at your fingertips:

  • Discover what they're passionate about. Talk to your customers, dive into keyword research and gauge their interests.

  • Craft content tailored to various stages of their buying journey - from general awareness to the final decision-making.

  • Distribute this content across platforms where your audience is most active, be it LinkedIn for B2B or industry-specific forums.

Following our previous examples, if we want to reach Lucas - our architect - we’ve got to take the next actions:

  • Tap into their professional curiosities. Engage with architects at sustainable design seminars. Monitor trending topics in green architecture.

  • Develop content tailored to their professional journey. Start with general articles on sustainable building trends for those just exploring. Dive deeper with case studies showcasing your projects aligning with sustainable commercial designs for decision-makers like Lucas.

  • Choose the right platforms for distribution. Share your content on platforms where architects frequent – think LinkedIn groups dedicated to sustainable architecture or niche architectural forums.

By understanding and appealing directly to the unique interests and challenges of architects like Lucas, you'll ensure your message resonates and stands out in a crowded marketplace.

Don't shout into the void. Understand first, then communicate. Familiarizing yourself with your target audience not only reinforces your chances of achieving your goals but also ensures will better your ROI.

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