Targeting the Right Audience

Targeting the Right Audience

No matter how clever, eye-catching, or compelling the ads you create are, they’ll only be effective if you’re reaching the right people.  Targeting the right audience is a huge key to success.  In digital marketing, there are a variety of tools and platforms that can help you target your ads to specific audiences.  So how can you go about working to reach the right people?  In three words, your target audience needs to be relevant, reachable, and identifiable. 


The first step in any targeting strategy is identifying who, in an ideal world, your marketing efforts would be reaching.  Using market research, competitor analysis, historical data, internal company data, and any other sources you can access, you should figure out which segments of people are the most valuable for your business.  

You can group people based on a variety of factors, such as demographic information, those with certain interests or behaviors, and those located in certain geographic areas.  Your final relevant target audience(s) should clearly  tell you exactly what people you are aiming to reach. 


Once you know who you would like your target audience to be, you then need to figure out how you will identify that audience.  What tools and methods will you employ to separate out those you want to reach from everyone else?  Can you identify the unique characteristics of your target audience using the tools and technologies you have access to?  

Identifiers for your audience need to be clear and tangible for them to really help you in your targeting strategy.  At this stage, you may begin to realize that you will not be able to reach exactly the ideal target audience that you determined in Step 1.  It is possible that some of the traits you used to define your target audience are too vague, or that you do not have access to data that can identify these individuals.  Here, you will determine just how much of your target audience you can actually identify, and then continue to build your strategy from there.  

For instance, say you are marketing a new pet product that makes it easier to walk 3 or more dogs at once.  Your ideal target audience includes people who personally own 3 or more dogs.  While this is a great audience to target in theory, how can you apply it in practice?  Can you specifically reach people who own 3 dogs instead of 2 dogs?  It could prove to be much easier to reach all dog owners, depending what kind of data you have access to, so you might need to broaden your target audience. 


Finally, if you have found an identifiable target audience, your final step is to figure out how you can reach these people.   You need to have a way to access your target audience if you want to advertise to them.  While digital marketing has made advertising easier and more widespread in many ways, it still does not enable you to reach every single person.  Certain segments of the population are harder to reach with digital marketing, like elderly individuals, who do not tend to use technology as much as the younger generations.  Based on the channels you have access to and can use to advertise, make sure you will be able to reach the audience you are targeting.  This is another spot you may need to adjust your target audience, given your individual business’ constraints.  

All of the above factors together will determine the audience you are able to reach.  From your ideal target audience you can build an identifiable and reachable audience that you can advertise to, while still focusing on targeting those who matter most to your business!

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