Before we dive in, here are some questions to have in the back of your mind while you’re going through this audience identifier process:
Your first instinct: Who do you want to appeal to? Do you fall into your own ideal audience? Does your "past self?" Who do your competitors target? Can you differentiate yourself from them by appealing to a different group? If you’re already in business, who are you currently appealing to and can you specify your ideal audience further? What’s working and what’s not? Identify your most loyal customers and see how they could inform your ideal audience.
These are the biggest mistakes I see business owners making:
1. Trying to appeal to a broad group of people with their branding and marketing
2. Not defining their ideal audience in the first place
It’s easy to make this mistake and think that everyone might be interested in your product or service.
But when you use the approach of casting a wide net, you don’t make the deep connections with your true “fans” that could end up being loyal, long-lasting customers.
You want a few people to think, “Yes, this is definitely for me.” instead of thousands of people thinking, “Eh, this might be for me but maybe not.” The second group will forget about you quickly. The first group will remember feeling heard and understood on a deep level.
If you’re having a hard time pin-pointing your ideal audience, or making it specific enough, here’s a way of thinking of it that really helped me:
1. Choose a simple demographic.
2. Go a step deeper. (Choose what is relevant to your business.)
Interests (travel, gardening, painting, saving the planet, sports, photography, etc.)
Goals (working for themselves, making more money, organizing their space, etc.)
Life stages (getting married, having a baby, buying a house, applying for jobs, etc.)
3. Now consider the income level.
It’s important to have a general idea of the income level someone in your audience would have. If you’re selling a line of high-end beauty products, you’re going to want to appeal to someone in a higher income bracket. If you’re selling a $10 E-book of affordable recipes, then you might want to appeal to people who don’t have tons of extra spending money and highlight the affordability aspect.
4. Create a persona.
The last step is to stop thinking about your ideal audience as a hypothetical group of people, and start thinking of them as one specific real person. You can use someone who you know or make someone up. Give them a name and describe how they fit into your demographic, deeper identifier and income level. Write up a bio of them and describe why your product or service would be perfect for them.
Not only does this process help your business make decisions internally, but after you write about your audience, you’ll be able to easily turn that into copy for your website and marketing efforts. There’s no better way to appeal to your audience than by talking super specifically about their needs and differentiators.
Remember, you’re after the “I feel like this company really understands me.” reaction.