If you were an actor, you wouldn’t put on a high-budget performance for an empty theater.
The same concept applies to your content strategy: there’s no point in creating content without an audience in mind.
Simply put, it’s a waste of time. Yet many businesses do this regularly—pump out content aimlessly without a clearly defined target audience—in hopes of attracting at least one customer.
If you can relate, chances are, your own content strategy may be in need of some fine tuning. Defining your business’s target audience can help upgrade your content marketing efforts and ultimately boost your business’s total conversions.
Target Audience: Definition
In marketing, “target audience” refers to the group of people you're aiming to communicate with, generally for the purpose of selling your product or service. This audience represents your ideal customer or customers, and can be as broad or specific as you decide.
To find your target audience, you need to consider customer information such as:
- Demographics - gender, age, occupation, income, education level, marital status
- Psychographics- values, interests, attitudes, lifestyle
- Behavior Patterns - method of purchase (e.g., online or in-person), frequency of purchase, how a customer conducts product research
- Geography - customer’s location and the location’s traits (e.g., urban or rural, climate)
Defining these details can help guide you in ideating and creating content that’s tailored to your target audience—meaning more customers and leads to your business.
<div class="tip">Your target audience offers a broad overview of your ideal customers—but you can narrow in on these customers further by creating user personas. These fictional representations of your target audience help individualize who you’re looking to sell your product to.</div>
Why Your Target Audience Matters
Marketing works most effectively with a clear picture of your ideal audience in mind.
After all, if you don’t know who your customer is, how do you market to them?
Moreover, customers now expect brands to offer meaningful and personalized content that’s relevant to them. Otherwise, they won’t bother giving a product a second glance.
The importance of a target audience in marketing thus cannot be overstated. It’s absolutely critical to understand who you’re speaking to in order to position your brand as a true leader in your field.
And regardless of whether your business uses a B2B or B2C model, the importance of understanding your target audience holds true. In both cases, you’ll need to consider the backgrounds, preferences, and needs of your ideal customer, either on an individual or organizational level.
Target Audience Examples
Curious how companies use target audiences in their content strategy?
Below, we’ll look at two examples of how brands identify their target audience and create content accordingly.
Knix’s flagship product is a line of undergarments designed to replace disposable menstrual products. Right off the bat, their marketers can remove a large cross-section of consumers that won’t benefit from their product—men.
Thinking in deeper terms about those who might be interested in their product, Knix’s marketing team can dig deeper into who might actually be willing to buy a product such as a pair of leakproof underwear—not just women, but women who are:
- comfortable purchasing clothing and personal goods online,
- interested in sustainability, and
- have enough disposable income to spend about $20 on a single pair of underwear.
This narrows the target audience demographic to millennial women, typically aged 22-37, who are employed full-time and heavy internet users.
Taking a peek at the Knix blog The Lift, it’s clear that their content is heavily geared toward this audience and their various interests.
Let’s look at Airtable as another example of finding a target audience—this time, for a B2B organization.
This cloud-based project management tool is designed with file storage and project organization in mind. While Airtable offers enterprise-level service for massive organizations, its product is clearly designed to support smaller, project-based teams that need to collaborate online, require easy access to large files, and prefer a visually simple platform.
With this in mind, Airtable has narrowed in on creative and advertising agencies, in-house marketing teams, software development teams, and project managers as their target verticals. You can see this on its Universe page, where the brand shows off how its platform is used across different industries.
The multitude of companies and industries shown might suggest that Airtable has no need to target a specific, niche audience. However, these listed businesses are similar in that they’re relatively new and tend to employ younger, tech-savvy individuals in major metropolitan areas, including brands such as WeWork, Buzzfeed, and Medium.
In fact, Airtable has very clearly outlined each of its target verticals on its Inspiration page, but the way the brand speaks to each is totally unique. It’s essentially made a template of what type of messaging it wants to offer each vertical—a short paragraph outlining how Airtable can help in that space, a library of features and templates, and a case study with a quote from an industry leader.
Understanding your target audience is crucial for creating and executing a successful content marketing strategy.
But, like every other aspect of your content marketing strategy, your target audience should evolve alongside your brand.
As you roll out new products, services, or updated features, you might discover another audience segment that can benefit from your product. Remember that your content marketing strategy should be a living, breathing set of ideas—in other words, it should be open to evolution and experimentation to accommodate new personas as your business grows.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Amanda Baird.