By Shanon Roberts, on 29 September 2021
The foundation of any effective marketing strategy is having a clearly defined audience. By understanding your target audience, you can tailor your content and ads to their needs, wants and pain points, making your copy more attractive and engaging for potential customers. This is the best way to grab the attention of potential buyers and encourage them to try your products or services.
To achieve this, you need to consider factors like who your target audience is, what they expect from your brand, and how you can best communicate with them in order to elicit an emotional response and, ultimately, make more sales.
Let's take a look at what a target audience is, how you can define yours, and how a target audience differs from a buyer persona. We will also go over a few examples of target audiences, including cold audiences, warm audiences, and customers, to help you make more informed decisions and differentiate your brand from your competitors.
What Is a Target Audience?
A target audience is the group of people you are trying to reach with your marketing efforts. Building your target audience consists of knowing the goals, desires, interests, and pain points of your ideal customers. It also takes into account behavioral and demographic features such as age, gender, income, education, or location.
Although defining your target audience is not the be-all and end-all of a successful marketing strategy, failing to target the right people might leave you with plenty of website visitors but very few paying customers, as your marketing campaigns are likely to fall on deaf ears.
Your target audience might be a board market, or a niche one. For example, if you sell shoes you might focus on a wider market, as everyone wears shoes, regardless of age, gender, and interests. However, if you exclusively sell running shoes then your target market is likely to be much more specific, namely athletes who run regularly.
Target audience categories include:
- Cold audiences
- Warm audiences
- Attitudes & opinions
Difference Between a Target Audience and Buyer Persona
Your target audience should not be confused with your buyer persona. Although closely related, these two concepts are actually notably distinct. Let’s take a look at how they differ.
A buyer persona is a fictional character who represents your ideal customers, those that are most likely to buy your products or services.
A persona typically includes:
- Personal information: Name, age and geographic location.
- Content preferences: Favorite channels, content formats, tones, and styles.
- Business background information: Job title, level of influence in decision making processes.
- Objectives: Measurable goals - what they are looking for?
- Challenges: Frustrations and pain points preventing them from reaching their goals.
Think of a target audience as a team and a buyer persona as one of the players. A target audience includes general details about your target market, and a buyer persona is a specific, fictional character from within your target audience who is most likely to make a purchase from your brand.
Target audience: working moms between the ages of 25 and 35 with disposable income, very little free time, and an interest in fashion.
Buyer persona: Penny is a 28-year-old lawyer with two children. She loves shoes and handbags and hates queues and shopping centres
Examples of a Target Audience
There are many target audience examples, including cold audiences, warm audiences, and customers. Before you research and build your target audience, you need to understand what your focus is and which target audience category you should focus on. This will help you understand the best way to reach and connect with your target customer.
Let’s take a look at a few target audience examples to help you understand the different categories and how your marketing efforts should be structured.
Warm audiences are people who are already familiar with your brand. They have either previously visited your website, interacted with your social media profiles, posted a comment about your brand, subscribed to your newsletter, or downloaded your app. However, they have not yet made a purchase from you or shown a clear interest in buying your products or services.
The aim with warm audiences is to convert them from a potential target audience into paying customers. The best way to do this is by segmenting them into sub-categories, such as leads and visitors, before targeting them with specific conversion campaigns.
Cold audiences are people who have never heard of your brand, products, or services. Their goals and pain points match those of your target audience, but they have yet to discover who you are and what benefits you can offer them.
The best way to approach this type of target audience is by reaching out to them and introduce them to your Unique Selling Proposition. This will help you build long-lasting relationships that can lead to conversions at a later date.
The aim here is to build brand awareness, nurture potential leads, and learn more about the wants and needs of your target audience. Social media can be a great platform for this, as can targeted ads.
The third target audience example you can use for your business is your customers. Existing customers are much easier to target, as they already know who you are and what you have to offer. They have already made a purchase from you, so there is usually an established level of brand awareness, trust, and loyalty.
The aim with targeting converted leads of this type is to upsell similar products or services and improve your customer lifetime value. You want to build on the customer relationship and encourage brand loyalty and repeat purchases.
The final target audience example we will look at today is demographics. Demographic segmentation is the process of categorizing your customers and target audience by a number of characteristics. This usually includes age, gender, income level, location, marital status, nationality, occupation, and education level. You can then work on targeted marketing campaigns that address the specific needs of each demographic. This helps you ensure the right messages reach the right ears, saving you money and increasing your ROI in the long term.
What do we mean by this?
Following on from the earlier example, if you are selling running shoes, then targeting people over the age of 80 is likely to be a waste of time. Always consider who you are talking to, and what they need to hear before they trust your reputation enough to make a purchase decision and become a loyal, paying customer.