Your target audience is made up of people who are, or could potentially be interested in your brand’s products and services. These people are essentially the lifeline of your small business, and making sure you target your communication activities to them could make or break your brand, literally.
When devising your PR, Marketing and Social Media strategies and tactics, identifying your target audience is the most critical step of the overall communication planning process.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your products and services are for everyone – even if your product or service has wide appeal, you still need to identify your core target audience so that your communications can be tailored to them.
Defining your target audience and targeting them will allow you to reach them in a way that is meaningful and inspires action – your goal is to build a relationship with them, encourage them to become customers or clients which will in turn build your brand awareness and increase your sales.
Now that you know how important reaching your target audience is; here are some tips to help you reach them effectively:
- Start by defining your target audience: This may seem like a no-brainer, but you first need to identify your target audience so you know how to reach them. Start by asking yourself questions such as: what am I selling and what makes it unique? Who would want to buy this product? Why would someone want to buy this product or service from you? Figure out not only who has a need for your product or service, but also who is most likely to buy. Consider demographics such as age, location, gender, income, education, marital or family status, occupation, ethnic background and so on. Once you answer these questions you will have a profile of who your target audience is.
- Find them on Social Media and engage them: As a small business owner you already know that Social Media is a great cost-effective tool to engage people and encourage meaningful interaction and sharing. To make sure you are reaching your target audience on Social Media, start by researching the social networks your target audiences are using and create brand profiles on these networks. Encourage your target audience to follow you by adding Social Media links and icons to your website and all print materials. You can also send them email invites encouraging them to connect with you – offer incentives like discounts or giveaways. Also consider using Social Media advertising on each individual network to attract your target audience. Spark conversation and interaction by posting useful content, ask questions, and always reply to their comments and feedback.
- Pitch to publications they read: Your target audience is likely already reading certain publications that appeal to their interests such as newspapers, news sites, blogs, magazines and trade publications. Use effective media relations strategies to craft a pitch to get your brand featured in these publications. Start by researching the types of publications your target audience reads and identify the journalist/editor/blogger at these publications. Position yourself as an expert on the topic or story you are pitching and make sure there is a news angle and topic relevance to the publication. Being featured in a publication that your target audience reads can help build your credibility and position you and your brand as an expert, not to mention being featured will also increase your brand’s visibility.
- Improve your SEO efforts: The first place people usually turn to when searching for anything is Google or other search engines. It’s very important to spend time on your SEO efforts so that your brand appears high in search engine results to make sure you are seen by your target audience. You can optimize your website by regularly adding new content, using the right keywords, creating backlinks, and sharing your content on your social channels.
- Demonstrate your expertise: Seek out guest blogging and speaking opportunities – these are great ways to get in front of your target audience, and position yourself as an expert! Research blogs and conferences that relate to your niche and pitch yourself and the topic you want to cover to the blogger/conference organizer. Also look in the comments section of blogs and e-zines in your niche and leave replies where appropriate. These types of opportunities will not only raise your profile, it will also put you directly in front of your target audience!
Try to incorporate these tips into your PR, Marketing and Social Media strategies to help you to really reach and connect with your target audience and ultimately drive your bottom line!