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How To Define The Ideal Marketing Audience

How To Define The Ideal Marketing Audience

1st October 2021
23 Minute Read

Getting the attention of the right marketing audience by putting prized products in front of as many eyes as possible is essential for your store's success.


Written by Madeleine

1st October 2021
23 Minute Read

Ideal Marketing Audience 📢

A major part of a retailer’s time is often occupied by gaining the attention of the right marketing audience by putting prized products in front of as many eyes as possible. This is without a doubt one of the most obvious ways for retailers to market their products, but what if we told you that merchants could optimise their promotion efforts even further?

That’s right, one of the best ways for online businesses to resonate with current (and potential) customers is by getting to know them and tailoring any marketing efforts towards a specific target audience. If you’re not sure where to start, this guide will be a perfect read, as we’re going to walk through everything there is to know about identifying and reaching a target audience, whilst keeping individuals coming back for more.

Are you ready to improve sales and retention for your business? Let’s get started by answering one of the most important questions within today’s article:

What's A Target Audience Profile? 🤔

A target audience profile is a group of people whose marketing and advertising efforts are geared towards and when there’s an ecommerce business in the mix, identifying a marketing audience is very important for this strategy to work soundly.

The role of a target audience is to enable a business to find new customers easily whilst drawing potential buyers onto a website. When the right marketing audience is exposed to a brand, the business at hand will likely witness a higher number of conversion rates and sales.

The Role of A Target Audience Profile

The brands that know who they are talking to will be in a position to market more effectively with tactics that strongly resonate with their audience reach.

Having insight into what works and what doesn’t can help retailers to double down on effective campaigns and pull back on the duds and with our top marketing tips, merchants will be able to work from strategically gained data by following the simple steps below:

N0.1: Smarter Marketing

Essentially, creating different target audiences is done with the purpose of marketing to a group of people in segments. If you think about it logically, this approach is a lot more strategic in terms of advertising because not all people in one group will think and feel the same way.

Of course, everyone is different, but to reap the benefits of personalised marketing materials, targeted audiences are segregated and exposed to tailored; messages, imagery, promotions and channels. Then, it’s down to the business at hand to decide which strategy will work best for each target audience.

Target marketing is like smarter marketing and in 2021, this approach is extremely important. Data published by Accenture shows that 91% of consumers claimed that they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. Whereas 66% of consumers said they would not purchase from a brand if the content isn’t tailored to them specifically.

N0.2: Smarter Product Development

Brands who take the time to get to know their customers will better understand the; challenges, struggles, hopes and dreams that consumers experience. All of these elements should be considered where the big picture is concerned as well as day-to-day, but the point is, when a retailer puts themselves in the shoes of the customer, that outlook has the potential to reveal where products and services could be improved.

“The best ideas come from going down rabbit holes,” said Amanda Natividad - the Marketing Architect at SparkToro.

For those of you who haven’t heard of SparkToro before, this solution is a handy audience research tool that is used by merchants on the web to find unlikely niches and sources of influence.

If a search on SparkToro reveals frequently used phrases or hashtags that are related to a brand’s product lines, merchants can seize this opportunity and go down the rabbit hole.

“Say you're a DTC drink company and you're considering a new flavour. I'd start with a general query, like ‘My Audience frequently talks about: soda.’ Then I'd see that among people who frequently talk about soda, that there are other hashtags and phrases they commonly use.” - says Amanda.

See, this level of insight into a customer base will sufficiently enable the product development team to learn what customers truly want and need from the brands they buy from. By defining those hurdles and aspirations, it’s easier to design and test products that are directly relatable to niche market segments.

N0.3: Increased Revenue:

Perhaps the most glamorous beneficial effect of target marketing is the increase in sales. Target marketing allows retailers to focus on efforts and audience segments that generate the most revenue for their business.

However, finding the right marketing audience is not just about focusing on the big spenders, as retailers can also analyse why certain audience segments may not be spending as much as others.

If this is what the data reveals for your business, there are a few questions to ask, for instance; Are there better ways to market your products? Or do buyer personas need to be revisited to include a more relevant audience segment?

A study conducted by Campaign Monitor found that marketers who used segmented campaigns reported as much as a 760% increase in revenue and commonly market to three audience segments at minimum.

Types of Target Audience ✍️

It’s important to remember that one marketing campaign won’t appeal to everyone, as what attracts a single, 55-year-old metropolitan woman will be much different than what interests a 25-year-old male who’s married with children in the countryside.

However, it is the job of a merchant to understand these differences and similarities to create different target audiences and selling points which can be tailored specifically to a business.

Note:A target audience profile can be created up to any size and can contain several personalised attributes depending on the type of business.

N0.1: Demographics

Demographic groups divide the market into small categories based on common traits such as; age, gender, ethnicity, income, level of education, occupation and marital status which is pretty important where demographics are concerned. This information is super important as it is one of the most common ways for a target market to be divided.

For instance, a demographic target audience could be, 30 to 40-year-old women with master's degrees who are married with children and who are also entrepreneurs.

Online businesses could also tap into free census data, analytics software such as Google Analytics and consumer insights to discover additional information about users visiting an online store.

N0.2: Geographical Location

The purpose of location-based groups is to divide the market by geographical location so that merchants can better serve their customers who reside in a specific area.

A target audience profile based on a specific location can zone in on different; countries, states and cities, but this form of segregation also includes other factors such as; cultural preferences, population and climate.

SUGAR Cosmetics, for example, is a brand that targets women in India, as the company develops products that last throughout the day in the regional climate, which is hot, humid and rainy during monsoon season. This is unique to SUGAR Cosmetics, but as the brand know what the needs and wants of their customers are.

N0.3: Interests

Interest groups are built around psychographics, as they cover a wide variety of attributes such as; attitudes, interests, personalities, opinions and the overall lifestyle of a target market.

Interests can cover pretty much anything that a group may have a passion for such as; books, movies, dancing or hiking, but it’s important to know which interests are relevant to a brand’s audience reach to better service; relevant ads, create content that customers care about and develop products of interest for the target group at hand.

N0.4: Purchase Intent

For those of you who don’t know, purchase intent is the mindset which a consumer is in when they buy a product from a business. When it comes to purchasing intent audiences are divided by users who’ve recently interacted with a brand or who have looked for a product.

So, for the individuals who are interested in buying a product from your store, wouldn’t it be cool if you could give them a little nudge to complete the purchase? Well, with a purchase intent audience focus, your business can.

Purchase intentions take different elements into account so that retailers can visualise their customer’s paths to purchase. Such elements considered include; behavioural data, demographics, channel usage and the device used by the consumer.

This information will allow online businesses to retarget ads or content towards different intent groups to help consumers move closer to the purchasing process.

Examples of purchase intent audiences include:

  • Using the search box to look for products.
  • The session length on product or category pages.
  • Abandoned cart rates.
  • Watching 75% of a video ad.

Note:These groups won’t always exist separately, but online stores can either focus on one type of target audience or mix and match different types to create one detailed target audience and reach out to them specifically.

Determining A Target Audience

There is plenty of reputable marketing and advertising firms and agencies that can help retailers define their target marketing strategy, but for the retailers who want to do this themselves, here are some key steps to take and incorporate it into a marketing plan:

N0.1: Defined Marketing Goals

The key question to ask here is what is your business is trying to accomplish? For some brands, key performance indicators (KPIs) are obvious, such as sales. However, KPIs can also include; an increase in brand awareness, more customers from a specific demographic, or the growth of an email subscription list.

Once these unique goals have been defined, target marketing will become more effective and we think that it’ll be easier for brands to come up with messaging if retailers know what they’re trying to make their audience do, as this will better direct marketing efforts and keep a marketing team aligned.

N0.2: Audience Research

At the core of a target, audience profile is the idea of building buyer personas to better understand a group of individuals and this is where the market segmentation comes in.

Buyer personas can be built through several approaches, but a combination of as many as possible will make a brand’s audience persona more effective, researched and defined.

Adrienne Barnes, the founder of Best Buyer Personas, encourages businesses to use more than one source of information as opposed to relying solely upon; interviews, surveys, or digital intelligence individually.

Adrienne explains that “using multiple sources helps verify ideas, behaviours and motivations with stronger clarity.”

Merchants can move forward by curating their marketing audience buyer personas using the fundamental characteristics below:

Purchase History: If merchants were to gather customer data for every transaction made, this would quite possibly be one of the best sources of information that any retailer could access. So, be sure to include data on how much your customers are spending and what product(s) they are purchasing within the realms of your brand's online store.

Digital Analytics: Take a look at your online audience and gather as much defining customer information as possible from these groups. Be sure to include; your brand's website, its email subscription list, any social media accounts, alongside any additional digital platforms that your brand has a presence on.

Consumer Surveys: We’d highly recommend taking the time to encourage your brand’s audience members to take a survey whether they’re loyal customers or first-time browsers.

To make this task a little more attractive, why not incentivise this request to receive more responses from consumers? Merchants can conduct interviews; over the phone, via email, or through the retail website.

Each method will reach different customers (or consumers with the potential to turn into customers), so it’s not a bad idea to conduct a variety of interviews across several mediums to cover all bases. Then, the business at hand can rest assured, knowing that a true representation of the brand’s target audience profile has been interacted with.

If you'd prefer using an online questionnaire, we’d recommend SurveyMonkey, the tool that creates and distributes questions whilst collecting responses from consumers.

This approach is a great way to ask an audience reach basic questions about; their age, family, occupation, earnings and gender to create a thorough profile of the marketing audience that a company should be targeting.

It’s also important for merchants to get to know their customers and one good way to do is this by inquiring about their; hobbies, beliefs, passions, values and pain points, but don’t forget to include specific questions that relate to your brand's industry as this will present merchants with an even wider outlook from a customer perspective.

We think that the most important goal when pursuing consumer surveys is to find out who is making purchasing decisions and where they are making these purchases.

Industry Research: Many studies are conducted with consumer trends and behaviours at the forefront of the investigation as these are great references for merchants to utilise.

Nielsen and the Pew Research Center are two of the most well-known market research organisations, but there are many other companies out there that sponsor and conduct such studies. With a little digging around on Google, merchants should be able to find what they’re looking for.

Competitive Analysis: Last but not least is competitive analysis. With this strategy, merchants will be able to identify their competitors and take an in-depth look at the audiences here.

Online stores will not require access to any back-end data to extract this information, however, we would suggest that merchants check out their competitor’s social media profiles to gauge a good idea of what type of individuals are engaging with these brands the most.

N0.3: Identify Key Information

From here, retailers and marketers can build and document buyer personas. Personas detail basic demographic information such as; age, gender, occupation and salary, as well as other common characteristics within that specific group.

These traits may be both general and specific to your brand, product, or service, but no matter the situation, we’ve listed the key elements below which merchants can use to define their buyer personas:

  • Geographical Location: Where do people from this persona live?
  • Age Group: What is the age range of this persona?
  • Gender: What is the gender of people in this persona?
  • Interests: What are the interests of people in this persona?
  • Education Level: What is the education level of this persona?
  • Job Title: What field of work do your customers work in and what types of job titles do they carry?
  • Income: What is the income range of this buyer persona?
  • Relationship Status: What is the relationship status of this buyer persona?
  • Native Language: What languages do people in this persona speak
  • Favourite Websites: Why type of websites do people in this persona frequent?
  • Buying Motivation: What are the persona’s reasons for buying your product?
  • Buying Concerns: What are the persona’s concerns when buying your product?

Note:When collecting information, retailers should keep in mind that not all of the questions listed above about each audience persona will need to be answered. However, the purpose of discovering such information should always be to understand a brand’s ideal customers so that merchants can communicate clearly and advertise more effectively to their reach.

N0.4: Market To An Audience

You’ve done all the legwork and now you know what target audience profile your business should be marketing to, not to mention what they may need and how your brand is going to reach them. So, the next step is to roll out a strategy and execute it thoroughly.

Then, once the pain points have been identified it’s time to figure out which products in your inventory will cater to those needs and desires the most. When a business is ready to market to its audience, it’s important to emphasise why a product will make the life of the customer better. Additionally, brands will also need to know where to send this message.

Note:During the persona development, we think that businesses will find it useful to find out what devices consumers are using and how they interact with the brands they love.

N0.5: Analyse Performance

When it comes to analysing the performance of your business, the success of target marketing should be judged against those defined KPIs. For the best results, we’d recommend tracking everything, whilst doing more of what works and fixing what doesn’t - it is that simple.

Looking at the analytics of a brand’s campaign(s) will enable a business to gain insights and trends over time. Just remember, it’s okay for your company to change its approach. We’d expect it to change as customers and consumer habits evolve. After all, that’s what performance analogy is supposed to highlight.

4 Ways To Reach A Target Market 👇

N0.1: Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are mostly used by most ecommerce brands who are looking to expand their reach, regardless of the budget available. Anyone willing to learn the basics of Facebook advertising can reach their target audience and drive growth with social ads on the platform.

Facebook uses advanced ad targeting to find high-intent buyers. Every action a user takes on Facebook and Instagram compiles a detailed user profile that merchants can tap into whilst exercising Facebook ads.

Brands can then match their products along with a list of; demographics, interests and behaviours to find the right audience for their ads.

What’s the best part? Merchants can easily send ads to Instagram users from Facebook’s advertising platform which gives businesses the chance to connect with groups of people across different platforms, all with one ad.

N0.2: Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is the fastest way for a business to reach its target audience, as this involves working with highly reputable individuals who’ve built relationships with their followers by talking about topics that reside in a specific niche.

When working with an influencer, brands can request that content be created and shared on the influencer’s channels which ultimately serves the purpose of further brand exposure.

Think of influencers as internet celebrities who double as brand ambassadors. Data has shown that nearly 80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective, which is why 75% of businesses surveyed by the Influencer Marketing Hub have dedicated influencer marketing budgets in 2021.

The best channels to utilise influencer marketing include; Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat.

Note:For the brands that have a low budget, merchants do not always need to pay for content to be posted in exchange for money, as many collaborations occur on a gifting basis. For instance, retailers like Nominal, the online jewellery brand, send free products to potential influencers to post on their social media channels.

N0.3: Referral Program

A referral program is a system that encourages current customers to recommend a brand’s products to their friends and family.

Ecommerce brands create referral programs to reach their target audience and it works by incentivising happy customers to promote branded products in return for; gift cards, cashback, future discounts and free products.

Referrals were rated as the most effective tactic for marketers at every stage of the funnel, as new customers earned through referrals are likely to already trust the business at hand.

Note:Tools like Referral Candy make it easy for small businesses on Shopify to set up referral programs. The application also automates the entire process, so that customers can enrol and share the brand with their friends. Referral Candy will then automatically send rewards to the customers who are the cause behind every referred purchase made.

N0.4: Hashtags

Did you know that making use of the right hashtags on social networks such as Instagram and TikTok can extend the reach of a business whilst allowing merchants to engage with their target audience?

Hashtags that are attached to posts will show up in the discovery feed on these platforms which will enable users to find new content and trends that are related to the hashtag topic at hand. If a user finds a brand’s feed content interesting, they can click through and further explore the company’s profile to see what it has to offer.

However, hashtags aren’t a one-size-fits-all affair, as businesses who mean business will need a hashtag strategy behind their posting approach to ensure that they are connecting with the right audience.

Reaching Specific Audiences

A target audience profile will likely change as a brand uncovers new information and discovers entirely new buyer personas altogether as their business grows, but with defined buyer personas ad targeting and communication stands a much better chance.

From increased engagement on social media channels to a greater ROI for online ads, taking the time to define buyer personas can help an online business to succeed by better knowing and understanding their core customers.

Ultimately, the role of identifying the ideal customer will help businesses to dictate messaging, alongside which products they’ll market and to whom they will be advertised. Additionally, the topic of how customers will be reached and what pain points a brand can solve for its audience is a must.

If conducted sufficiently, the result of these marketing efforts will be relatable data that demonstrates which marketing audience will resonate most with the business at hand.

So, that’s for today’s article. Have you found our guide on defining and reaching the ideal marketing audience useful? Reach out and let us know. Equally, if you’re actively looking to work with a Shopify agency designer or developer to assist you with your business, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch to get started!

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