Updated: Aug 19
The old adage is true: when you sell to everyone, you’re really selling to no one. What target audience is your business catering to? Without a specific customer in mind, how do you design a brand that will truly resonate with the right people?
Having a nuanced understanding of your target audience is the most important step for building a successful brand and business.
Let’s dive in on why it’s so important and how you can create ideal customer profiles that will make your business a magnet for dream clients.
WHY YOU NEED TO DEFINE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
A large part of the brand strategy phase is spent getting to know who your brand is targeting. Without clarity on who will actually buy your product or benefit from your service, you will struggle to attract customers.
And let's face it, without customers you have no business.
If you sell anti-aging skincare products, you might say your target audience is women between the age of 30 and 65. While that’s a start, it’s still a very broad population to be designing a brand for. Every female between the age of 30 and 65 will have a myriad of nuances that make them different from one another.
So when it comes to defining your target audience, you need to imagine a single individual that will represent one of your ideal customers. Start by building a persona for that customer.
What do they do for a living?
What’s their annual income?
Where do they live?
What’s their relationship status?
These are just a few examples to get you started with the process but you are going to want to dig a bit deeper.
WHO IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE? DO MARKET RESEARCH
In the same way that a marketing company will do research on a campaign’s target demographic, a new brand needs to understand its target audience in order to attract the right customer.
If women between the age of 30 and 65 are your target audience, start surveying people in that group. Create a series of questions that start as simple as the ones listed above and then get specific. In the case of the skincare brand, here are the types of target audience example questions you might ask:
What is your skincare routine?
What influences your decision to buy certain products?
Are you loyal to a specific brand?
What price range are you willing to spend on skincare products?
Where do you shop?
Do you shop online?
Start by asking your mom, your aunts, and your peers these questions. You can easily create a survey using a platform like Typeform or MailChimp to send out and increase your responses from a broader scope of people. Doing this research will give you a better idea of what your potential customers’ behaviours are, both with regards to shopping and their skin care routines.
By positioning yourself in the mind of your buyer, you’re able to build a brand that will speak to them because it’s been designed with them in mind.
CREATING CUSTOMER PROFILES
When working with new branding clients, one of the more common mindset shifts I’m up against is reminding clients that they're not trying to attract their own business. They need to put themselves in the shoes of their customer. In order to attract the right customers, you need to get inside their head.
Creating customer profiles is the best way to have specific individuals in mind throughout your brand and business development. When you put yourself in their shoes it reframes how you approach your business strategy allowing you to craft your messaging, your products and your services to speak to their needs and lifestyle.
How many customer profiles should you create?
I would create between two to four profiles for the different types of customers your business is marketing to. You want to cover the personal specifics but you also want to cover things that provide insight on their behaviours, goals, motivations, and pain points. A customer profile template may look something like this:
Where they live
LIFESTYLE & BEHAVIOURS
What are their hobbies?
What they do in their spare time?
Which social media platforms do they use?
Where do they shop?
Do they shop local?
Do they shop online?
Are they eco-conscious?
What are their spending habits?
Do they value convenience?
What challenges do they face?
What keeps them up at night?
What would make their life easier?
When creating your own customer profile, feel free to customize the criteria to your liking. You want to be as specific as possible to get the best grasp on who your ideal customers are and what makes them tick. This tactic helps you better position your brand’s messaging so that it truly aligns with the needs and values of your target audience.
Give each customer profile a name and keep them on hand throughout your business development so that you can always refer back to them and ask, “Would this [ business decision/product ] resonate with Sam?”
UNDERSTANDING YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE ONLINE
With your customer profiles in hand, you can now create content that will resonate with them. This begins with your website, ensuring it has content that they will find useful and are actively seeking out. It also means designing it in a way that is user-friendly for each of your ideal customers.
Your social media channels
Know which social media platforms they use and how they use them. In your customer profiles you will have outlined what social media platforms they use. Let’s suppose that the target audience for the skincare company are primarily made up of Facebook users. This will allow you to create content specifically for Facebook. It also spares you the time spent creating content for, say, LinkedIn, if they are unlikely to encounter it there.
Now that you know where they’ll encounter your content, what type of content can you provide them that they will find valuable? What type of content will resonate with them? This can range from the type of lead magnets you offer to the promotions you run.
If your target audience is less likely to buy products online, then you know you’ll need to run ads that promote in-store deals. Without a clear understanding of what your target audience will respond to, you'll be wasting time and ad dollars creating content that doesn’t align with their behaviours and lifestyle.
Investing time to truly understand who your target audience is, will give you the clear foundation you need to build a better business. Your ideal customer profiles will anchor your business ideas through each promotion, product launch, or service offered. Start creating your own customer profiles today with my Ideal Customer Profile Template —> Get yours free!
Jenny Henderson is a brand strategist and business mentor. She collaborates with service-based solopreneurs to design memorable brands that allow them to make a living doing what they love. Since 2020, her branding studio has become a place where small business owners learn to think like a brand.