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What is the first thing that every marketing specialist does when starting a new project? Of course, learning more about the business, its product/service, competitors. The second step is setting the goals and creating a marketing strategy to reach those goals.
Did we miss something? There’s a very important step that many marketing specialists skip. But then, they come back to it because they realize how important it is for a successful marketing campaign. That step is defining the target audience.
No matter whether it’s a small business, a real estate agency, or a YouTube channel, you need to know who your audience is. At different periods of time, people face different problems. So, you need to make sure that you provide them with the right solutions at the right place and time.
In this article, we’ll speak about why you need to define your target audience and how to do it.
In 2020, there are almost 4.4 billion active internet users in the world, which is about 58% of the global population. The good news is that you have unlimited access to those users and can easily promote your company and business online to increase sales. The bad news is - not all of them will be interested in your offers.
No matter how much you try to attract new customers, you can’t sell your solutions to those who don’t need them.
This is why defining a target audience is crucial — you need to understand who is the person you are offering your product to. However, the fact that you understand the need in defining your target audience doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to do it. This is why we’ve prepared some useful and actionable tips using which you can boost your digital marketing efforts and increase sales.
But first, let’s define what the target audience is.
Target audience is a specific group of people identified as the intended recipient of an advertisement or message. (BusinessDictionary.com)
Now, let’s go step by step and see how you can define it yourself.
People turn to companies because they face different challenges and problems. Their goal is to find a solution that solves a specific problem. To provide them with the right solution, you should know what problems your product or service solves in the first place.
You can’t create a solution, then try to find what problems can be solved with it, quite the contrary. But, how to come up with a new product/service that solves problems? This process can be split into 4 steps:
For example, we at Renderforest realized that there’s a problem with the video creation process. Many startups and small businesses can’t afford to order custom animations for promotional purposes or don’t have the technical knowledge to create one themselves. The idea we had was that video and animation creation should be simplified for people who don’t have technical skills or financial resources to produce a professional video. There’s a demand for a cost-effective solution. We came up with the best one - an easy-to-use video creation platform with ready-made customizable templates for non-professionals.
Your business depends on your customers and the sales they bring, so their problems are your problems too. When you specify the problems that your offer solves, you can easily find your target audience - those who are struggling to solve them.
Looking through your current customer base will give you valuable insights into how people interact with your product or service. While analyzing the data, you’ll most probably find some common patterns in user activity. This can be their demographics, behaviors, characters, locations, and etc.
These patterns will help you break down your audience into different segments and analyze them separately to have a better idea about who your customers may be. Use segmentation to identify the groups of customers that bring the most value to your business and try to attract more similar customers.
Based on the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule, we can state that approximately 80% of your income comes from 20% of your customers.
Now you wonder how this will help you in defining your target audience. Well, first of all, you need to find out who those customers are and observe them. Here are the things that you should identify:
The results may sometimes be surprising and different from what you’ve expected. That’s why it’s essential to have this information at hand. Once you have full information about them, you and your marketing team can target a similar audience to get more valuable customers.
Besides analyzing your customers, you need to also have a better look at your audience in general. Check how your audience interacts with your company on different platforms and social channels, how they engage with your content, what type of content they respond better to, and whether or not they convert into new customers.
Another advantage of analyzing your existing audience is that you’ll find out who your target audience is not. This may not seem like very useful information to have. However, knowing who not to market your product will save you time and resources at the later stages of your marketing efforts.
It doesn’t matter how much data you on your target audience have if you don’t use it the right way in your marketing strategy. Define the segments, analyze, research, and target the right audience.
While doing your research, you surely analyze your competitors and their marketing strategies. If not, then you definitely should. One of the main points of competitor research is checking out their target audiences.
Why is it important? First of all, you’ll discover your direct competitors by learning more about their target audiences. By analyzing their content, offers, social media marketing strategies, you’ll also see what they are missing and what differentiates you from them.
This can also give you valuable insights into your own potential target audience. Because of the similarity of offered product or service, your target audience may overlap significantly. This can also become the base of your marketing strategy later.
Checking out your competition is especially helpful when you’re new to the industry, so you don’t have customers and enough information to rely on when trying to understand your target.
So, what kind of information do you need?
For example, if you decided to open a real estate agency, you should analyze the existing market and your competitors to identify their strengths and weaknesses, as well as understand who their ideal customer is. Correctly using this information later will help you find more opportunities for business growth and even come up with a better offer.
You probably have the image of your perfect customer in mind. Now, it’s time to have it documented. One of the ways to define the specific audience you’re targeting is by using demographic information. What kind of information does it include?
Identifying the ideal demographics for your offer can help you easily find your target across different platforms and social networks.
How choosing the demographics can help? For example, if you are an online English tutor and want to find students from Japan, your targeting might look like this: 16-20-year-old female students from Tokyo (in case you want to have only female students). This is a very specific targeting based on demographics.
Let’s take another example: if you sell baby care products, you can target 20-30-year-old married females with a $40.000 yearly income.
Of course, the demographics depend on what product or service you provide. The more you understand what problem your product or service solves, the better understanding you will have about what your target audience may look like.
Remember to also target those who are decision-makers or have an influence on the decision-makers (eg. parents and children.)
After completing the above-mentioned steps, it’s time to finalize the information you’ve gathered and put everything together in a marketing plan. Make sure to include the following points:
Once you have all this information, you can easily find and engage with your audience in order to provide them with the right solution at the right place and time.
Now, you know what to do in order to target the right people for your business. It all depends on your research skills. It also depends on your ability to make the right decisions considering the information you have.
Have you ever seen an ad on Facebook, Google, or any other social platform that is not relevant to you? We get them a lot. These ads are the results of bad targeting. Although social media platforms have given us advanced targeting tools, it looks like someone is shooting with their eyes shut, or are trying to reach as many people as possible in the hopes that your buyers will be among them.
What causes the wrong audience targeting? Exactly! Not having enough information about the target audience. So, the results are pretty disappointing.
Now, let’s go deeper into the reasons why having a detailed target audience matters and how it can improve your campaign performance.
In business, every dollar counts. Especially if you are on a tight budget, you just have to spend it wisely. Now, you wonder how the target audience and marketing budget are connected.
Let’s take an example.
You have an X budget and want to boost your sales and get 2X income. After planning to invest your X budget into running a paid campaign on Facebook or another social network, you prepare the offer, write the texts, and a general targeting without thorough research. After spending your budget on a social campaign, you realize that you didn’t get the expected results. Why?
The reason behind your failed campaign is that you don’t know your target audience and thus you have the wrong targeting, not mentioning the texts and visuals. So, before spending your marketing budget on any campaign, first, think about who are the people you want your campaign to be seen by.
It’s impossible to deliver relevant content that will resonate with people if you don’t know much about their challenges and interests. And it’s also not possible to curate content that will interest everyone, as everyone has different needs and preferences. When we say content, we mean any kind of content that you share with people starting from your website content and blog, to your YouTube comments and ads.
Before sharing your content, you need to create it first. If you don’t know the pain points of your audience, you can’t emphasize how you help to solve those pain points. Thus, content creation efforts will be pointless and you won’t get the desired results.
channel, for example, and your goal is to get more subscribers who are interested in fitness, you need to find more ideas related to that topic to keep your audience interested. Then, as time goes by, analyze the performance of your videos to understand which type of content resonates with your audience better. This is an ongoing process, and the results will improve with time.
The growth of your business depends on how you communicate with your audience and build relationships with your potential clients. So, when crafting your content, you also need to consider who your audience is.
Now, we know the importance of targeting for content creation. But, how does it affect your brand? The right messaging helps to strengthen your brand by attracting loyal customers. Besides, consistency and informative content that aims to educate your audience will help your brand to position itself as an industry expert and create trust among your potential buyers.
According to HubSpot research, the top 3 most preferred types of content from brands are videos, emails, and images on social media. Again, pay attention to which medium brings the highest engagement, and try to implement more of it into your strategy.
While defining the target audience for your brand, take into consideration the following:
Communicating your brand values to wrong people won’t help you promote your brand and won’t turn people into customers. On the contrary, it will result in lost efforts and resources that could’ve been otherwise spent on a more relevant audience for your business.
For every product or service, there’s always room for improvement. Yours is not an exception. Another advantage of having a target audience is that you can always rely on their experiences and feedback to upgrade your product or service.
There are many tools that help you track user activity on different platforms, or on your website. If you choose the right metrics and analyze the data, you can effectively use that information to provide a better customer experience.
Having a defined target audience will help your marketing team create content tailored to the needs of your potential audience. This, in its turn, helps to increase sales and build a strong brand that provides flexible and advanced solutions.
Very often the terms target audience and target market often overlap. That’s why when researching and trying to identify your target audience, it’s very important to know the difference between your target audience and a target market.
The target market can be defined as a defined group that can potentially be your customers. Let’s take the example of childcare products. If you are producing child care products, your target market can be women between the ages of 20-45. It’s a single group of people.
Your target audience is a subgroup of your target market. That is, the target audience is a smaller part of a larger target market. It is a more specific group you want to reach with an advertising campaign or another promotional strategy. In this case, you may have several audiences. For example, you may have advertising campaigns for child care products for children of different ages, and target each ad to a specific group of women in a particular location. In this case, your target market is narrowed down to several target audiences.
These were some actionable steps on how to define a target audience and a target market, and why you need to do it. If you’ve never done this before, using these tips will be a good start towards improving your marketing efforts. If you’ve already defined it, then you can try to reconsider your choice by conducting new research for better results.
Learn about the problems your product solves, target people who need your solution, and write content tailored to their pain points and needs. After all, what matters is the relationship between your company with your audience. Show them that you care about them and become a company that people turn to for help.
Engage your audience with personalized videos for your audience for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Pick a template and customize it in a couple of minutes.
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