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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 marketers skip. But then, they come back to it because they realize how important it is. 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 how to define your target audience and why you need to do it.
In 2019, 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 business online. The bad news is - not all of them will be interested in your offers.
No matter how much you try to attract more customers, you can’t sell your solutions to those who don’t need them.
And, the fact that you understand the need in defining your target audience doesn’t mean that you know how to do it. This is why we’ve prepared some useful and actionable tips for you.
But first, let’s define what 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 and solve the problem. To provide them with the right solution, you should know what problems your product/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 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 and that it should be simplified for people who don’t have technical skills 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, 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/service. While analyzing the data, you’ll most probably find some common patterns in user activity, like their demographics, behaviors, characters, and etc.
These patterns will help you break down your audience into different segments and analyze them separately. Use segmentation to identify the groups of customers which 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 define 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:
Once you have full information about them, you can target a similar audience to get more valuable customers.
Besides analyzing your customers, you need to have a closer 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 and whether or not they convert into customers.
Another advantage of analyzing your existing audience is that you’ll find out who your target audience is not.
It doesn’t matter how much data you have if you don’t use it the right way. Define the segments, analyze, research and target the right audience.
While doing your research, you surely analyze your competitors. 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 profiles, you’ll also see what they are missing and what differentiates you from them.
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.
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 to find more opportunities for business growth.
You probably have the image of your perfect customer in mind. Now, you simply need to have it documented. One of the ways to define your target audience is 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 channels.
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 the 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/service you provide. Remember, consider those who are decision makers and have an influence on the decision makers.
After completing the above-mentioned steps, it’s time to finalize the gathered information and put everything together:
Once you have all this information, you can easily find and engage with your audience in order to provide 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 and the ability to make the right decisions based on information.
Have you ever seen an ad on Facebook, Google, or any other platform that is not relevant to you? We get them a lot. These ads are the results of bad targeting. It looks like someone is shooting with their eyes shut.
What causes a 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 it matters.
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 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, you prepare the offer, write the texts, and a general targeting without thorough research. After spending your budget, 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 budget on any campaign, first, think about who you want to target.
It’s impossible to deliver relevant content that will resonate with people if you don’t know much about their challenges and interests. 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.
If you have a YouTube 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.
The growth of your business depends on how you communicate with your audience and build relationships with your potential clients. So, your content should be based on 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 project itself as an industry expert.
According to HubSpot research, the top 3 most preferred types of content from brands are videos, emails, social images.
While defining the target audience for your brand, take into consideration the following things:
Communicating your brand values to wrong people won’t help you promote your brand and won’t turn people into customers.
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 upgrade your product/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 you create content tailored to your potential customers, which in its turn helps to increase your ROI and build a strong brand that provides flexible and advanced solutions.
These were some actionable steps on how to define a target audience and why you need to do it. If you’ve never done this before, it’s a good start. If you’ve already defined it, then you can try to reconsider your choice by conducting new research.
Learn what problems your product solves, find people who need your solution and write content tailored to their pain points and needs. After all, what matters is your relationship with your audience. Show them that you care about them and become a company that people turn to for help.
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