If you want to build a successful business, it’s importantto figure out who your target customers are and how to reach them online.
If you are talking to everyone, you are talking to no one.
Getting specific about who your target audience is will help you find your unique selling proposition, tweak your messaging for maximum impact and use your marketing budget more effectively.
From building customer profiles to getting in touch with industry influencers, this article will show you how to identify and target your ideal customer online.
How to Target Your Customers Online
Step 1: Know your customers
1. Demographic and psychographic criteria
A marketing plan aimed at recent college graduates will look very different from a plan targeting CFOs of Fortune 500 companies.
To understand who your target customer is, research demographic data, like:
- Income level
- Education level
- Marital status
- Ethnic background
Once you have a basic understanding of who your customer is based on the demographic criteria, it’s time to dig deeper and explore psychographic variables like their:
- Lifestyle preferences
2. Be specific
In most cases, descriptions like “women ages 20-50” are not going to be specific enough to let you effectively target your customers online.
If your product or service is aimed at an age group that large, it’s best to narrow it down based on other criteria mentioned above, like their specific interests or lifestyle preferences.
For example, your target customer description could be “college educated women ages 20-50, working in graphic design and located on the East Coast”.
New entrepreneurs are often worried that going too narrow will limit their earning potential.
That is not true at all: being extremely specific about your target customer from the get-go will help you craft marketing campaigns that work effectively and build your brand’s reputation. You can always add more customer segments as your business grows!
3. Look at your competition
Do research to identify your main competitors. Then ask yourself these questions:
- What is their unique selling proposition? How are they positioning themselves?
- How are their products and services priced? Would your customers be willing to pay you more if you offered something extra?
- What are customers saying about your competitors online? What are their weak points?
By asking these, and similar questions, you will be able to identify your competitors’ weaknesses, as well as overlooked areas within your niche. You can then capitalize on these neglected areas by tweaking your own messaging.
Step 2: Choose the right digital channel
Not everyone hangs out on Facebook.
Choosing the wrong digital marketing channel could lead to the failure of your social media marketing strategy. There is little value in having a beautiful Instagram feed and thousands of followers if your audience is not made up of your actual target customers.
To determine where your target customers hang out online, do research (see Step 1 of this article).
Your competitors’ preferred digital marketing channels can actually be a source of inspiration for you.
However, remember to not follow their lead blindly. When trying to reach your target customer online, the goal is to stand out, not blend in!
Step 3: Have a plan
Publishing a few blog posts per month is better than doing nothing, but if you are serious about growing your business, you need to have a solid marketing plan in place.
(Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a 50-page document full of digital marketing jargon.)
It’s best to have at least a few basic building blocks in place before you launch your marketing campaign, such as:
- What’s your main marketing goal this quarter?
- What marketing channels are you going to use to achieve that goal?
- Do you have any launches or other big events planned?
- What is your content production schedule going to be like (e.g. when will your blog posts go live each week)?
After the end of each quarter, evaluate your progress.
What’s working? What’s not? What could you improve upon to reach your target customer more effectively?
Step 4: Establish trust in the community
1. Connect with the right influencers
Growing a following from scratch is not easy, but connecting with influencers in your niche can help.
Be careful, though. The goal here is to build trust with your target customers, so don’t choose an influencer based on the number of followers.
Their work and audience need to be ultra-specific to your niche. In order for the collaboration to be effective, you need to make sure the influencer understands what your business actually does.
Also, remember this: influencer marketing is a two-way street. Your content needs to provide value for their audience, and vice-versa.
2. Post relevant content on other blogs
Guest posting is still relevant in 2018.
Not only will it help get your business in front of your target customers, but the number of backlinks to your site will also improve your search engine optimization going forward.
Choose a few high-authority sites that are in your niche and send a couple of post ideas their way.
While you are waiting for them to get back to you, make a habit of leaving thoughtful comments on popular blogs to build a reputation in your community.
How Handmade SEO Can Help
Here at Handmade SEO, we don’t just grow traffic.
Instead, we look at your marketing strategy from the perspective of a business owner to help you identify and reach your target audience as effectively as possible.
Want to have your marketing strategy assessed?
Take our FREE Digital Marketing Assessment now.