Branding: How to identify your target audience

Insight – 25/01/2024

Your services or products aren’t for everyone and targeting your brand to “everyone” is ineffective.

A target audience refers to a specific part of a larger group of people who are most likely to purchase a product or service from a company. It can be especially important for a company to identify and consider its target audience while developing their brand identity. This can give the design team the opportunity to use particular themes, terms or images that can appeal to the target audience, which might increase sales.

A target audience is typically a smaller or select group of people, such as professionals in a particular industry or members of a certain identity. For example, if a company manufactures paper products, its target audience might include office supply stores and publishing companies.

Target audience is not to be confused with target market. Target market and target audience are both important terms in branding that refer to specific groups of people who are intended to receive the marketing message of a product or service.

A target market refers to a larger group of people who have similar needs, characteristics, and interests that a product or service is designed for. For instance, a company selling luxury cars may target individuals with high income and luxury lifestyle.

On the other hand, a target audience refers specifically to the people who are reached by a marketing campaign. This group could be a subset of the larger target market. For instance, a luxury car company may target their advertisements and marketing efforts towards high-end business executives who may be interested in the luxury car lifestyle.

In summary, the target market is the broader group of people with shared characteristics for whom a product or service is intended. The target audience is the specific group of people who are being reached by a marketing campaign for that product or service.

Getting clarity on your target audience can benefit the following areas of your branding and marketing:

  • Develop a winning brand identity. When you know your target audience, you can create a brand identity that speaks to their core values. This helps ensure your brand resonates with them.
  • Copywriting: How should you describe your offers to attract and convert your target audience?
  • Email marketing: What specific messaging should you use in your email campaigns?
  • Social media advertising: Which users should you target? What kind of content should you promote?
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Which keywords do your target audiences use?

An example of a target audience could be working mums between the ages of 35 and 42, living in Auckland, interested in yoga and healthy food, with an annual income of $110.000 .

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1. Determine the nature of your products or services

Audience targeting starts with a close look at your product or services. The goal is to determine who’ll most likely benefit from it.

Here are three steps for getting your answer:

  1. Determine what problem your goods or services solve. For example, a meal-kit delivery service like Woop solves the problem of not having time to prepare nutritious meals.
  2. Think about who’s most likely to benefit from your product or service solution. In the case of Woop, the ideal customer might be a busy professional who doesn’t have time to cook or go to the grocery store.
  3. Define your unique selling proposition (USP). What’s your USP? For Woop, the brand focuses on nutritious ingredients and easy-to-make meals for busy professionals. Before you can come up with a unique offer, you need to conduct market research to identify what’s already out there in your industry. That will give you a better picture of how many competitors you have and the strongest competitors. It will also show you what gaps there are in the market. That can be an excellent opportunity to find a unique selling proposition for your offer and shape your position in the market.

With this information, you have some idea of the specific audience your business should be targeting. Following the same example, you know the people who’ll most benefit from your offering are health-conscious, busy professionals with limited time.

2. Perform competitor analysis

Next, look beyond your business with external market research. Start with a competitor analysis — the odds are that your competitors have similar target audiences.

Scope out the competition and answer these questions:

  • Who are they targeting?
  • What demographics do they appeal to?
  • What gaps in the market can you fill that your competitors aren’t?

You’ll want to analyze what’s missing from their marketing as you’re doing this. In other words, you’re trying to find a gap in the market you can fill with your product. Your marketing messages can then be centered around the existing gap and how your product solves that.

You can research competitors by looking at their websites and social media platforms. There are also tools you can use to check a competitor’s website traffic, like Ahrefs and Semrush.

3. Create buyer personas

Use the information gathered in the first two steps to create buyer personas. A buyer persona is a detailed description of someone who represents your target audience. This persona is fictional but based on deep research of your existing or desired audience.

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Relationship Status
  • Occupation
  • Annual income
  • Education level
  • Values
  • Hobbies
  • Pain points (problems that need solving)
  • How your brand solves their problems

4. How to reach your target audience 

Once you’ve established your customer personas, examine their habits. Think about consumer behavior and consider where your potential customers spend their time, like what websites they visit or platforms they frequent. Within that process, consider what type of messaging makes the most impact on them.

Armed with the information you’ve gathered with your market research and competitor analysis, you can go deeper and identify your target audience’s location, age, pain points, online locations, consumer behaviors, buyer motivation, and more.

When it comes to social media networks, you have many choices. For example, Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms everyone uses, so it’s a good choice if you’re trying to reach a large audience.

But if your audience is more tech-oriented, Twitter could be the perfect place for you. Similarly, if you’re targeting people who love DIY, YouTube and Pinterest are great choices.

Content marketing is an excellent way to establish authority and credibility. It’s also a great form of marketing that can help you improve your SEO and reach audiences who are in the research stage of their buying journey. 

People often look for more information before purchasing or comparing different options. Informative blog posts, reviews, and product comparisons can go a long way to helping them make their purchase decision. 

All of the marketing methods mentioned above are perfect for raising brand awareness. Ideally, they should help you funnel your followers and website visitors to your email list. 

Once your audience is on your email list, you can use email campaigns to nurture the relationship and drive purchases. 

Email campaigns can give you a significant return on your investment as you’re marketing your offer to a hot audience. A hot audience consists of consumers who have engaged with your content and handed over their contact information so they can hear more from you.

Craft compelling and personalized marketing messages that speak directly to your target audience. Use visuals that resonate with your market segment. Highlight how your product or service addresses their pain points, fulfills their desires, or aligns with their values.

5. Create impactful digital marketing campaigns

Knowing your target audience is the crucial first step in creating marketing campaigns that reach the right people at the right time.

By following these tips and steps and staying attuned to your audience’s preferences, you can create impactful digital marketing campaigns that drive engagement, loyalty, and business growth.

Remember, reaching your target audience requires an ongoing commitment to understanding and adapting to their evolving needs. With a customer-centric approach and strategic targeting, you can establish a strong brand presence and achieve sustainable business growth.

Sound complicated? With Adobe Express, it doesn’t have to be. Our user persona templates are a great starting point for defining your target audience, and our marketing templates can help you plan and implement your branding and marketing strategies. Try them out today and see how easy it can be to create a successful brand and marketing strategy.

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