How to establish the right target audience and create a digital persona for your brand

“Everyone is not your customer”, Seth Godin, the best-selling writer, entrepreneur, public orator once said.

Among a sea of businesses and brands trying to grab a customer’s attention, the marketer needs to have in-depth knowledge about the ideal buyer to furnish them with a targeted, personalized experience. In today’s busy world, auto-generated, generalized ad emails barely go noticed. So, how do you appeal to your audience so that they become your loyal customers?

What is a target audience?

When you’re thinking of running a start-up, one of the first questions which should pop up is who are you looking to reach out with your products and services. This is governed by multiple factors such as age, location, interest, sex, income, etc.

Think of a brand which began as a start-up providing educational facilities for school-going children. The business boomed as profits skyrocketed in a short time when the brand hit the bull’s eye by targeting the right audience. Working parents looking to provide their children with a holistic education were the perfect target audience for this online education platform as it ensured a hassle- free and safe learning experience for the children from the comfort of their homes.

Why need a target audience?

Given the current economy, it is more important than ever to have a well-defined target audience. No brand can target everyone. With the help of a niche market, small brands can successfully compete with bigger companies.

If you’re running a company selling baking equipment, for instance, you need to ask yourself who your potential customers are. You might think of targeting new mothers who are on a maternity leave and are looking to pursue their dream job from home as it allows them to spend time with their children. 

How to establish the right target audience

A company’s target audience can be defined by delving into some of the core areas of your business. 

Knowing your current customer base

It’s important to know who your present customers are, and what kind of services/products they buy from you. The key is to look for common features and interests to find out which brings in the most business. In all likelihood, there will be others like them who might reap the benefits of your business products and services.

Conducting market research and analyzing industry trends

A target audience is not a random group of people you have in mind. How do you know who are your likely buyers? This is where market research comes in. It helps define the customer’s location, demographics, psychographics, current industry trends, consumers’ buying habit, motivation, competition, etc.

Knowing these factors which play a part in your company’s market and purchase path is a crucial step in establishing the right target audience.

Understanding purchase path and identifying pain points

An integral aspect of market research lies not only in establishing a target audience but also in understanding their different considerations to a purchase path and pain points.

A good way to deal with this is to think like the buyer and ask relevant questions:

>How can I find a fix to a problem?

> What goal is my target audience aiming for?

This will help you create personas besides designing content that addresses those issues relating to stages of the purchasing cycle, namely, awareness, consideration, and decision.

This brings us to the next important concept-that of a digital persona.

Personas are fictionally crafted characters based on research and come in handy while defining the various user types who might use your business in similar ways. 

Why are buyer personas useful in marketing?

Think of buyer persona as a friend with various attributes and hobbies which can be their defining traits. Creating buyer personas help in naming the goals, challenges and ways your brand can be of help to your target audience so that you can develop content that will cater to them. It further allows in targeting or personalizing marketing for different groups among the target audience.

How to Create Buyer Personas

A buyer persona is based on real-life data and strategic goals. Think of it as creating a fictional buyer that is the ideal fit for your brand.

  1. Detailed Audience Research 

It is important to go through your customer database and find out your current customers, your social audience, and competitors in the market.

Social media analytics like Facebook Audience Insights and Google analytics aid in compiling your audience data to pin down details such as age, location, spending power and patterns, interests, etc.

There are search streams that can help you figure out who your competitors are targeting.

  1. Identifying customer objectives and pain points

Based on the product and/or services your brand has to offer, a customer’s goal might be personal or social. Pertinent questions need to be asked like what motivates the customer and what are their objectives.

On the other side lies pain points which indicate the hassles a customer faces on the purchase path. Besides the company’s sales team and consumer service department, social media engagement can help find out these answers.

  1. Understanding how to help

Once you have the customer’s goals and hassles, it is time to brainstorm for ways you can help. You need to go beyond the features of your product and focus on analyzing the true benefits that can help make the customer’s life easier.

For instance, consider your customer’s purchasing barriers, and ask yourself how your brand can be of help.

  1. Creating Buyer Personas

A brand can create and share a buyer persona with the team in multiple ways- bullet points, stock photos, illustrations, etc.

For instance, a successful beauty e-commerce website like Nykaa has users belonging to different age groups. A group between the ages of 18 to 30 would be prone to look for products that will make them stand out and look trendy, while people in their 40s are likely to prefer products that have a more muted appeal. The former can be given the buyer persona of a peppy and fun college girl while the latter a beauty-conscious stay-at-home mother. These two groups can be targeted separately with content catering to their individual needs. Instead of sending the same nurturing ads and emails to all users in their database, their target audience can be divided into different buyer personas to tailor their content to what they know about each one.

“The key to failure is to please everyone”, as Seth Godin rightly said. The foundations of any business lie upon the faith of customers. When you filter out a niche group in the market, you not only end up catering to them successfully but also saving ad revenue and eradicating pesky competition. It’s a total win-win! When your brand is committed to delivering the best to your customers, you build a bond of trust which stands steady through the sands of time.

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