How to Identify Your True Target Market (Once and For All)

You already know the importance of “niching down” and going after a laser-targeted audience (…versus targeting everybody under the sun).

But this poses a much bigger question, which could actually be killing your conversions…

Are you targeting the right market?

This might seem insultingly simple on the surface.

But with that said, you very well be pulling the wool over your own eyes when it comes to your true target audience.

Spoiler alert…

Your audience might not be who you think they are!

Now, I’m not suggesting that your audience is a bunch of “pod people” from outer space.

However, marketers of all shapes and sizes are guilty of making false assumptions about their prospects…

  • Maybe you tend to craft your marketing messages toward people that look and sound like, well… you?
  • Or perhaps you assume the positioning that’s working for your competitors will work brilliantly for you?

And hey, it happens. We’re only human.

(I’m just as guilty as anyone else.)

But our habit of making assumptions is all the more reason to take a step back, and think about who your target market might actually be.

Because if the world of advertising has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes an “unexpected” audience can be the most valuable.

Just ask Old Spice.

The ad your ads could look like…

Old Spice might seem an unlikely candidate for viral fame.

Pretty sure my grandpa was no stranger to the brand, after all.

Yet they managed to take a totally run-of-the-mill body wash and turn it into an absolute advertising blitzkrieg.

In fact, Old Spice’s inaugural ad campaign in 2010 managed to improve sales by over 100% over a three-month period, smashing their competitors and becoming the leading male bodywash brand.

Heck, you’ve probably already seen the now-classic ad yourself.

Have a look…

This insanely popular ad has been viewed well over 55 million times on YouTube alone.

It’s so downright entertaining, it doesn’t feel like an ad.

What makes this ad so dang good, though?

Well, there are a few things going on that work in its favor.

The ad’s humor and ridiculous premise. Actor Isaiah Mustafa’s charm. And the fact that the audience is being spoken to directly.

Yet it’s that last point that’s perhaps the most striking when we talk about this ad’s audience.

Watch the ad again. Now back to me.

Notice that Old Spice isn’t targeting grunting, sweaty men in need of a shower.

They’re targeting the ladies of those foul-smelling, unwashed men.

And by doing so, the ad directly amplifies a pain point of their actual demographic.

That is, not embarrassing their significant others by smelling like a pigsty.

Conventional wisdom might say that a male grooming product targeting women would be way off the mark.

And yet Old Spice is now a household name (80+ years after being introduced), now beloved by an entirely new target audience for their unconventional style of advertising.

The art of identifying your target market

All of this is amusing but again speaks to how targeting makes all the difference for your advertising.

Because Old Spice isn’t an anomaly when it comes to brands appealing to unconventional audiences.

Think about how brands like Denny’s, Oreo, KFC, Taco Bell, and Arby’s use social media to target Millennials and stand out from their more “boring” chain counterparts.

Seriously, go check ’em out on Twitter or YouTube…

Or how Subaru managed to reinvent their business in the ’90s once they learned that they had an incredibly dedicated base of lesbian drivers (…but that’s a post for another day.)

Oh, and here’s another weird one….

How about when the creators of the most recent incarnation of My Little Pony realized they had amassed a cult following among male twentysomethings?

In response, the show started throwing in references to the likes of The Big Lebowski and Dr. Who as a nod to their adult fans.

And no, I’m not making this stuff up.

The point here is…

You can’t make assumptions about your target audience

…either who they are or aren’t.

So the question remains:

“How the heck do I hone in on my audience, anyway?”

We’re glad you asked!

The keyword here is target.

Remember: you’re not hoping and praying for people to come to you.

Instead, you’re tasked with going after prospects and attracting them yourself.

Over time, you can sniff out what your most qualified prospects look like and what makes them tick.

And below I’ve outlined three distinct ways to do just that.

If you’re a business owner these days, you can’t be afraid to talk to people.

This is especially true because it’s so freakin’ easy to do.

Anything you could possibly want to know about your target demographic is out there in black and white (well, RGB, really).

Curious about what’s keeping your prospects up at night?

Shoot them an email. Peek their Facebook or Twitter feed to see what’s on their minds.

Want to know what other brands, products, and influencers they follow?

Facebook can help clue you in on that, too.

Social media at large represents a wide open public forum where you can talk speak directly to your prospects.

You can likewise use social media as a place to see how you can speak to your audience versus your competition.

And if you already have an audience, your options for picking people’s brains are endless.

Conduct a Q&A Facebook Live.

Ask for comments on your blog posts or in your emails.

The list goes on and on.

When you create a dialogue with actual people, you can learn the in’s and out’s of your target audience without day after day by simply being there.

This isn’t necessarily something you need to spend forever on, but it’s definitely a worthwhile exercise to make sure your positioning is on point.

A customer persona is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an illustration of what your target customer looks like.

Give them a name. A face. A personality.

For example, ask yourself of your current audience…

  • Where do they live and work?
  • How much money do they make?
  • What do they do in their free time?
  • What’s bugging them on a day-to-day basis?

Answering these sorts of questions helps you figure out what the meat of your messaging should be and create a “who” for your marketing campaigns.

Some people go as far as literally drawing a person or using a stock photo to put a name and a face on their audience.

Regardless, an outline of your target audience’s demographics, pain points, and quirks is an invaluable resource.

Think about it…

Boiling down your ideal customer into a persona is incredibly valuable whenever you sit down and write an ad or copy.

Whenever I get ready to write a blog post or do a Facebook Live for our viewers, I know exactly who I’m talking to.

And while EMP does have a diverse audience, our tribe shares many of the same sort of struggles and challenges.

By having those struggles and challenges on paper, getting my talking points together is so much easier.

Maybe you realize that your target market consists of soccer moms.

Or maybe cubicle slaves are more your speed.

Either way, creating a persona helps you move away from being an unfocused, generalist marketer.

The beauty of being a marketer today is we’re knee-deep in data.

Google Analytics. Facebook Page Insights. Etc.

These data points can tell you, by the numbers, who your target audience is, an should be.

Likewise, these numbers can help you create that ever-so-important persona and understand where your next sale is likely going to come from based on your most dedicated followers.

Targeting is not and should not be treated like a guessing game.

The sooner you start spotting common threads between who’s following and buying from you, the better you can reign in your marketing.

In this sense, your customer data is your best friend whenever you’re looking for guidance in terms of where to spend your time and money.

As an example, many marketers find they assume the age and gender of their best customers incorrectly.

But if you don’t have a ton of data on deck yet, don’t panic.

As long as you’re focusing your marketing on a specific network or audience, you’re on the right track.

Because you can always branch out later.

Rather than worry about who you’re potentially missing out on, it pays to start focusing on finding a target audience you can call your own.

So, are you focused on the proper prospects?

The final takeaway here is that you can’t make assumptions about your target audience.

And that’s the thing: these days, you don’t really need to.

From the ability to instantly pick our prospects’ brains and access drilled-down demographic data, we have so much at our fingertips to keep a pulse on our target market.

The key is understanding who they are, what they want, and what speaks to them.

And as Old Spice reminded us, our target audience isn’t always who we think it is.

No matter who you’re currently targeting, taking a step back to reassess your target audience can be a game-changer for your earning potential.

So ask yourself again:

Are you going after the right people?

If you’re not sure, use the tools at your fingertips to find out.

And with that, happy hunting!

Tapping into the power of your true target audience

Whether you’ve honed in on your marketing niche or are still figuring it out, having a well-defined audience is key to your business’ bottom line.

And once you know who you’re talking to, you just need to figure out how to cost-effectively communicate with them.

The good news?

Just about anyone can craft laser-focused, rapport-building, lead-getting ads in the era of Facebook.

If you know how, that is.

So if you’re ready to learn the proven tactics we’ve been using for the past couple of years without fail, we’ve put together a step-by-step tutorial that reveals our exact advertising process in a 100% FREE online workshop, hosted by none other than Tim Erway, co-founder and CEO of Elite Marketing Pro.

You’ll discover how you can put together an effective ad campaign in just 10 minutes a day with as little as $10 in initial ad spend.

So if you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?

Pick a time that works for you to attend Tim’s traffic workshop right here.

Here’s to your success!

Andrew Draughon

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