If your planning on building a website, you are going to need to find your target audience. Unfortunately, many beginners believe they can make a website for everyone, but that is simply not true. In reality, your website should focus on marketing to a specific audience and slowly branch out.
Remember, if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.
Every Website Is Different
Before continuing on, I cannot stress enough that every website is unique. The content produced, the ways it makes money, the way it’s marketed, the tone that is used, and everything else is all different.
Thus, it is only natural that each one caters to a specific audience in a unique way.
You need to figure out what audience your website is aiming for and understand how to cater to that audience. As a result, targeting a specific audience is different for every website and ultimately depends on what your content is all about and the tone you are trying to achieve.
Thus, you are going to have to get a little creative.
What is a Target Audience?
If you are completely new to marketing, “target audience” is a term thrown around a lot without explanation.
To put it very simply, a target audience is who your marketing campaign is aimed at. For example, if you sell toys, your target audience would be children and their parents. This is because they are the ones who will be interested in the product you are selling and your main source of customers.
However, some products, services, or pieces of content might apply to multiple audiences. For this reason, it is important to design your marketing campaign around the largest and most profitable audience your services can be sold to.
However, it is a lot of work to find your target audience.
How to Find Your Target Audience
Finding your target audience is no easy feat. To do so, you are going to need to examine your website or the plan of it if you are just starting out. The best way to do this is by asking yourself a series of questions.
- What are the goals of your website?
- Which audience can help you achieve that goal?
- Can you break that audience into smaller subgroups?
- Average income?
- What is the average age of the audience?
- Are any of these subgroups more important than the others for your website’s goal?
- As a result of catering to your potential audience, will you exclude another audience in the process?
By answering these questions, you should have a rough idea of what your website is aiming for. If you find that your target audience is very broad, look deeper and find a niche to shrink into. A good way to do this is to ask staff members.
In fact, I strongly recommend asking them the same questions. They may be able to come up with something completely different than you had considered.
Know Your Target Audience
Now that you have a rough idea of what your target audience is, it’s time to actually research those people. Just like every website is unique, every audience is too. Thus, you need to make sure you are producing content and marketing on the proper platforms to reach your core audience.
However, this is not easy to do as there is a lot of research to be done. Today, I have assembled 5 of the most important things you should consider regarding the process.
1. Research Your Current Audience
The biggest mistake I see when it comes to finding a target audience is not actually examining who is using the website at the moment. Many businesses tend to focus on what they want to achieve, which is important but forget to use the foundation they already have.
Thus, you should examine who is using your website right now.
How you go about this largely depends on the website. For example, if you run an online shop, you can easily identify many characteristics like people’s location, interests, spending patterns, gender, and more.
It really depends on what you are selling, but the information can be very helpful when analyzed.
All websites have access to, and should be using, Google Analytics to track how well their website is performing on the web. This tool is your best friend as a website owner, and it can also help you learn more about your current audience.
It has a lot of information to share, but two of the most useful pieces of information are your audience’s age and gender.
I strongly recommend researching who is currently using your website before looking forward.
Note: Many users on the internet will surf the web anonymously. Thus, the statistics you find about your audience might be limited, but it is still a great starting place.
2. Analyze the Competition
Let’s be honest, while you might have a unique spin on a certain type of content or product, at the end of the day, you have competition that is doing something similar. As such, it is very important to compile information on your competition.
Especially if you are going to competing for the same audience.
This is also a great way to determine if you are targeting the right people. Look at the most successful competitors in your industry and try to figure out how they are marketing and who their intended audience is.
Of course, how you go about this isn’t straightforward. After all, this information isn’t going to be on their website waiting for you.
Instead, you are going to need to do some digging around.
Track them down on social media, examine their content or products, look at what keywords they are ranking for, and take a look at any other marketing material they have. Once you have some information assembled, I recommend doing a SWOT analysis.
This is where you list Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and see how you stack up against the competition.
3. What Does Your Target Audience Want
Often times, new business owners focus on what they want from their audience. However, this is a surefire way to fail. Instead, you need to look at what your audience wants and how your business can provide it.
This can help you stand out from the competition by catering to exactly what your target audience is looking for. Of course, this raises the question, how do you find out what they want?
Again this really depends on your business model. If you have an eCommerce website, you need to look at common sale trends for your target audience. Whereas, if you have a blog, you need to examine what their searching and what content they stay or come back for.
Once you find this out, you need to come up with a way to use targetted ads to reach that audience. Thus, showing off that your business has exactly what they are looking for.
4. Social Media Analytics
A big part of reaching an audience is how you do it on social media platforms. These sites dominate the internet and have permanently changed the way friends and family stay in contact with each other.
While at the same time creating new opportunities for businesses to connect with customers.
And each platform is full of useful analytical data to help you track who is interacting with your profile and how you can use the platform to send a targetted ad to a specific audience.
However, you need to find the right platforms for those individuals.
For example, TikTok is really making a name for itself with the younger generation with over 500 million monthly users. Businesses are certainly taking notes and trying to establish themselves on the platform.
However, Facebook still a better option even when it comes to the younger demographic and allows you to connect with more people in general.
Luckily, there is a lot of social media analysis tools that can help you find the best platforms to advertise on.
5. Repeat the Process
Now this one may sound like a copout, but let me assure you, your target audience will change and you need to adapt quickly when it happens. For this reason, you need to regularly reevaluate your business, which really consists of repeating all of the research you did the first time around.
Now you may be asking yourself, how exactly is my target audience going to change, and the answer is kinda tricky. On one hand, the actual group you are targeting may not change, but the people within it certainly will.
For example, let’s say you were marketing to millennials versus generation Z. When you use to market to the younger generation, 18-24, you would be looking at millennials, but now that is Gen Z territory.
This age shift has affected major brands and they have had to change their marketing efforts as a result.
Even a 6-month gap is enough for your target audience to change. For example, the COVID-19 outbreak has significantly changed how certain businesses have to market. Thus, scheduled re-evaluation is imperative to success.
Create A Call to Action (CTA)
After your research is complete, it’s time to create a Call to Action for your website and audience. How you choose to make your CTA completely depends on your business, but the basic idea is simple enough.
A CTA is a clear message that tells the visitors what to do next on your website.
This message should be tailored to your target audience and some of the most common CTAs include:
- Read More Button
- Sign-up for Email Newsletters
- Buy Now
- Browse Now
- Give Us A Call
- Talk to Support
- Free Trial
- Share on Facebook
- And about a thousand more common terms that give the visitor a clear idea of what to do next.
You can also use a CTA as a way to help visitors. However, you should also try to do a CTA that adds value to your content.
A great example of this is Home Depot’s website. If you are shopping for a product, they will often link you to helpful resources on how you can use a product around your house.
This tactic really works well because it provides additional information that helps visitors out and can even lead them to other products. On top of that, if everything works out well, they are very likely to come back and listen to more of your CTAs.
Conduct Surveys and Polls
Surveys and polls are utilized by major corporations around the world, and that’s because they work. The goal of a survey or poll is to collect information from visitors. And while results may vary, the information is invaluable because oftentimes, you can collect information that normal analytical tools don’t track.
Luckily, these are easy to set up and you can even disguise them as social media events.
For example, if you sell a product, you could create an event that asks customers to show off how they are using a product on Twitter. This helps you engage customers on social media, while also helping you collect valuable product information.
The more creative you are, the better the results.
After you choose a great web host, pick a CMS, and get your website online, marketing to your target audience is the next major hurdle. And to be perfectly honest, it is not easy to do and will take a lot of time.
And I don’t just mean the hours you put into research and marketing. It will take weeks or even months to see if the marketing campaign is reaching your target audience well. Especially when you take into consideration how long it takes to build a social media following.
Thus, it should be one of the first things you focus on when your website goes live next to content creation. Just be patient and stay the course.
What is your target audience? What is your favorite analytical tool that helped you find your target audience?