As a self-entitled entrepreneur, I constantly think of new ideas. Having started a business, I quickly got the bug of entrepreneurship (albeit still in its infant stage. Because of this, I have started to view things in a different way.
My main focus right now is to grow my Digital Marketing Agency. Because it’s marketing, the way I look at pretty much everything when I’m making the commute into Central London has changed. Because it’s business, the way I look at the world has changed.
Any form of advertising is now broken down and analysed, this includes online and offline ads. Even watching movies (sadly) has become an educational and analytical experience.
Now, this certainly is not a memoir of despair, lamenting over the good old days when an advert made me want to actually buy something. No, I’m going to be talking about the very simple concept of defining your target audience + buyer personas and the incredibly positive impact it can have.
Sometimes I would see similarities on adverts (more so online) that had two completely different products. Not just standard advertising devices like urgency or sales. But something more specific, an underlying narrative, similar colours, call to actions...the list goes on.
What I was picking up on was specific messaging to specific audiences. When advertising in the digital space, this is one of the very first things you need to start with. Identifying who you are going to target with your product and messaging.
What is a Target Audience?
Since we are talking about marketing, this is the group of customers that your brand, product or service is aimed at.
In my opinion, this should be (or evolve into, if you're just starting out) the group of people who can benefit the most from your product (there is a discussion here on ethics, capitalism and some other fat cat "stuff").
What is a Buyer Persona?
Hubspot put it best: “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”
What’s the difference between the two?
It can seem confusing at first. Since both are there to help you define your messaging, design, product development, targeting….ect. However, the difference lies in the focus.
Target audiences are built from a selection of different people that fall into some common similarities.
For example, age, gender, annual income, challenges, general interests, demographics.
Buyer personas are a specific example of someone who fits within that target audience.
For example, Jenny who’s single and has no kids, she’s from the block, she’s recently started earning a lot, but she doesn’t want to lose connection with where she has come from and certainly does not want people to be fooled by any of the rocks that she has.
Jokes aside, when creating a buyer persona you want to detail out someone’s day. Try to figure out where it is that they are going to be spending their time and why. What challenges are they facing and what effect does that have on what they do.
Figuring out who your target audience is and who your buyer personas are can be tricky at first. But all it takes is some good homework, research and a little bit of creativity to figure it out.
If you have customers already, ask them, it’s an incredibly valuable source of information because it paints a real picture.
If you don’t have customers already, that’s not a problem. Do some research into how people consume your products.
You have access to LinkedIn, Facebook and Google, so you can see both B2B and B2C worlds. Facebook has 2.4 billion MAU (statistia.com) and LinkedIn has 0.2 Billion MAU (kinsta.com). There are 7.53 billion people in the world so I think you have a good foothold with almost a third of the world’s population for research to start with.
THAT BEING SAID, as with everything digital marketing, you have to make sure you are ready to test variants to make sure you keep improving those personas until they start working in your favour.
Why is it so important in digital marketing to be specific with communication?
The ability to define your target audience allows you to communicate specifically around the pain points and challenges that your brand, product or service can solve.
Taking it a step further, you can figure out exactly when and where potential customers are experiencing these issues and place yourself in front of them at the right time.
This helps with building trust, credibility and authority, allowing you to attract customers rather than directly reaching out to them.
The process naturally lends itself to content marketing and SEO practice amongst other things and can effectively improve your ROI when marketing in the digital space.