Thursday 29th June 18:07

10 Steps to Understanding Your Target Audience

Ask any successful business person the secret of their success and they'll tell you that one of the most important aspects of building a profitable business is to identify and understand your clientele.
By understanding exactly who your audience is, you'll find it easier to create a link and establish connections with those people and other businesses who are most interested in what you have to offer. Furthermore, it gives you the information you need to adapt your products, services and content specifically for them, thus eliciting a much more favourable response.

So what kind of things will help you to understand your target audience? Here are 10 steps which will help you to gain a clearer understanding.

1. Identify your ideal customer

Look at everything from age and gender to income, location and aspirations and put together a customer profile. Do they have children? What kind of car do they drive? These are all questions which will help you to gain a clearer picture of the kind of people your offer will attract.

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2. What are your customers' goals?

While demographics can give you a good general understanding of your ideal customer, being able to appreciate their goals and motivation will help you to deepen that understanding, and learn more about their buying behaviour. Brainstorm questions such as, what does your ideal customer want to achieve and how they're likely to go about doing this. These kind of questions will give you the ammunition you need to step in and help them achieve their goals, and will inform your strategy for showing them how you can do this, and why your approach will work.

3. What do your customers need help with?

In order to help your customers, you need to know what they need help with. Perhaps they have a problem or an issue. Maybe it's down to something they desire. By understanding what they need, you can work out how you can help them. Do you have a product or service they need? Can your product help them to solve their problem? Will your services give them the outcome they're looking for?  Once you're aware of the issues faced by your potential clients, you'll be in a better position to adapt your products or services to meet their needs.

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4. What do you know about their behaviour?

You may have to do some market research to find the answer to this question, as you need to understand what drives them to make decisions. Is it down to money? Are they looking for happiness? Are they prepared to take a calculated risk? By gaining a deeper insight into their decision-making strategies, you'll be better equipped to customise your product or service to give a better overall customer experience.

5. Where are your clients located?

If you don't know where your clients are, how will you be able to reach them? How will they find out about your business? Where will they find this information? Where do they frequent most often? If your target audience spend a lot of time on social media, maybe advertising there or joining in Twitter conversations will get you noticed. Your marketing strategy needs to take the visibility of your business into account and get it promoted in the right places.

6. What are your strengths as a business?

Understanding your strengths as a business is a vital aspect of knowing how you can best help your customer. By knowing your strengths and your areas of expertise, you'll not only be able to help your customers, but you'll also be able to identify your weaknesses. In turn, this will help you to either improve those areas, or find something else to offer your client. For example, as the popularity of bingo halls started to decline, many companies seized the opportunity to use their existing expertise in a different arena, and so the world of online bingo was born.

7. Are your customers willing to pay for what you are offering?

If the answer is yes, then you've found your target audience.

8. Do you offer 'added value'?

What do you do differently from your competition to create added value? Repeat sales are often gained by the added value you give, whether that's the level of customer service or simply the way you package your goods. Many people prefer to pay a little extra and buy their goods from well known chains as they know that they'll receive excellent customer service should there be a problem.

9. Can your customers trust you?

Trust builds loyalty, and loyal customers mean repeat business.

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10. Learn from feedback, then reassess and evolve

Use surveys to gain customer feedback; this will give you valuable evidence of what your customers want, and what they think about your service. If you find that a certain aspect of your product or service isn't meeting your customer needs, it will give you chance to re-evaluate and adapt.

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Once you have identified your target audience and you have a clear understanding of their needs, it's important to continue to monitor their response to your product or service. As your business continues to grow, it's crucial that you keep up with changing trends and changing customer needs. Always looks at ways to improve, evolve and adapt if you want to keep and continue to expand your customer base.