Marketing campaigns for small businesses aren’t just a way to generate new leads — they can make or break your business. However, many small business owners who approach InSync Media feel frustrated and confused because their marketing is not producing results.
You may have a beautiful website and great social media profiles and spend significant advertising dollars. However, these efforts will always fall flat if they don’t reach the people who need your products. Therefore, you must coordinate all your marketing efforts around one central concept: the target audience.
What is a Target Audience?
If you’re a small business owner struggling to see results from your marketing efforts, it’s likely because you still need to identify your target audience. But what is a target audience, and why is it so important?
Your target audience is the specific group of people that your products or services are designed for. It’s not just about demographics like age and gender but also their interests, values, and behaviors.
Identifying your target audience allows you to tailor your marketing messages and strategies specifically to them, increasing the chances of making a connection and ultimately turning them into loyal customers.
Think of it this way: if you try to market your products or services to everyone, you’ll end up appealing to no one. By understanding who your ideal customer is and what motivates them, you can create targeted and impactful marketing campaigns that speak directly to their needs and desires.
Why Understanding Your Target Audience is So Hard
Before generating marketing efforts that translate to sales, you must define your target audience and get to know them intimately. This sounds like an easy enough task, yet most small business owners need help.
Well, in our experience, communicating with your target audience is hard for one or more of the following reasons:
1. Lack of Writing Experience
Small business owners typically start their company based on a dream or extreme passion. This passion doesn’t necessarily translate into marketing savviness, especially when it comes to the written word.
Writing for marketing purposes is a specialized skill. It requires more than a basic understanding of grammar or syntax, and it’s not the same as writing an email or drawing up a business plan.
Writing content that speaks to your target audience requires extensive knowledge of sales tactics, persuasion, conversion tactics, and SEO strategies.
Unfortunately, most small business owners lack this background. Without writing quality marketing content that speaks to your audience is difficult.
2. The Curse of Knowledge
Small business owners live and breathe their work. Unfortunately, this leads to an issue called “the curse of knowledge.” This term, which was first used in the Journal of Political Economy in 1989, is a cognitive bias that is hard for many of us to avoid.
Once you know something, it’s impossible to not know it. And most small business owners start their companies with vast industry knowledge. Unfortunately, being a “know-it-all” doesn’t mean you can effectively share that wealth of knowledge with your clients.
When we feel like “experts,” we start making assumptions about what our customers are feeling. We talk over their heads. We go too technical. We forget that people make buying decisions at a very simple level, almost a gut level. Your customer is not your peer in the industry.
This issue is incredibly common for veteran business owners, such as those who have been in the industry for years or decades.
Identifying Your Target Audience: Our Three-Step Approach
So, how do we overcome these hurdles and speak a language that resonates enough with our clients to generate sales?
Well, by identifying your target audience and generating content written directly to them, of course!
By digging in and learning more about your target audience, you can more effectively communicate in a way they understand. These three exercises will help you effectively communicate with your audience in a simple, clear, and impactful manner.
Step 1: Brainstorm
Whether you just started your business or have operated it for over 10 years, chances are you have at least some idea of who your target audience is. You can take this information and brainstorm to build it out even more.
To create a clear picture of your target audience, answer these questions:
- “Who am I talking to?” (What is your audience’s demographics?)
- “What do they want?” (What do you offer that fits these desires?)
- “What do they need?” (How does your product/service meet these needs?)
- “What are their internal desires?” (What dreams/hopes does your client want to fulfill?)
- “What are they suffering from today that they are looking for you to solve?” (What solutions does your audience need?)
- “Why is it just plain wrong that they suffer from these issues?” (How can you empathize?)
Step 2: Research
Your brainstorming session will help you create a clear picture of who you think your ideal customer is. However, you need to confirm whether these assumptions are true and collect additional data before you can use this information for marketing purposes.
To research your target audience, do the following:
- Read reviews about your business and competitor’s businesses
- Look at competitor’s websites and see what they are saying about the needs of your target audience
- See if your target customer has a clear online presence and evaluate what they’re saying and doing on the web
As you review the material online, ask yourself the same questions from Step 1 and think critically to determine the needs, wants, and desires of your target audience.
Step 3: Interview
Although research can provide lots of great information, nothing beats firsthand accounts from real clients. To do this, you can conduct interviews.
Gather up contact information for some current or former customers. Then, ask them the same questions you asked yourself during the brainstorming session. Record their answers and compare them to how you answered the same questions. Did you profile your target audience correctly?
If you want to expand your reach, try repeating this process with people who aren’t current customers but would be a “good fit” for your business.
Putting it All Together: Generate Better Marketing Content
You brainstormed, researched, and interviewed. Now what?
It’s time to put together all of the data you collected and use it to create better marketing content.
To do this, revise the brainstorming notes to reflect what you learned. Then, write everything out so it clearly outlines the audience you want to win over.
One tool you can use to create effective marketing content is Jasper.ai —an AI tool specializing in marketing copy. This tool is designed to provide informative and persuasive content using direct language, rhetorical questions, benefits-focused language, emotional appeal, specific examples, and a clear call to action.
As with any AI program, it is only as good as the information you feed it.
So, we will take all your research about your target audience, products, and services and add it to the Jasper Knowledge Base. Jasper’s Knowledge Base tool is a powerful resource within the tool to help you create targeted marketing content.
To input data for a Knowledge Base:
- Login at https://app.jasper.ai/. (If you don’t have an account, test it out with a free trial.)
- On the left side, click Brand Voice.
- Under Brand Voice, choose Knowledge Base.
- Select Add Knowledge, then choose the method to share your target audience data.
- Once you have completed the necessary steps, click Add to Knowledge Base.
- Next time you start writing any content with Jasper.AI, you can select this Knowledge Base.
Learn More About Using AI in Content Marketing at Our Upcoming Lunch & Learn
Using AI, along with the knowledge you’ve collected about your target audience, makes it easier than ever to generate marketing content that establishes your brand as an authority while building trust and credibility. However, using AI to generate content comes with a learning curve, especially if you haven’t taken AI tools for a spin before.
At our upcoming Lunch & Learn on Friday, November 3, the InSync Media team will dive into everything you need to know about using AI in all aspects of your digital marketing. Interested in learning more? Read about our Lunch & Learn and register by visiting the AI Unleashed Lunch & Learn page.