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Target Practice - Finding your Audience

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Previously, we talked about who you are:  as a person, as a company, as a brand. The second part of the ‘who’ in finding your voice is learning who you are speaking to.

Who is your audience?

I know what you are thinking:  “Everyone is my audience.  I can serve anyone!’

While it sounds like it is a good thing to target everyone, it is far too broad and will lead to frustration for you in the end.  You won’t actually get many of the people that do want and need your service. It can even downgrade your product or service.  And yes, it can even cost your more money in the long run.

Simon Sinek has said ‘we can’t be everything to everyone, but we can be something to someone’.  

This is a good thing to remember when setting your target audience.

When you try to be everything to everyone, you can end up becoming nothing to no one.  It dilutes you.  It dilutes your brand.  Remember in the last post we talked about who you are and why you started the business.  It is likely that you started it because you identified a need that wasn’t being filled.  Or people told you about a need and you developed something that filled it.  In short, your product or service appeals to a certain audience. And that is your target audience:  WHO has the greeted need for your product?

Taking the approach of everyone being in your target market actually has the opposite effect.  It will make what you are offering appear to not appeal to anyone specific at all.  Then your message gets confused, or outright lost.

Just think of your last family gathering.  Maybe your grandparents were there. Then your parents.  Yourself.  And maybe even your children. Aunts.  Uncles.  Cousins.   Four generations spanning up to 100 years.  

Men.  Women.  Boys. Girls.  Non-Binary. 

Did you talk to your grandmother the same way you talked to your cousin’s first born?  Are all of the needs of your grandfather the same as your nephew?

The answer is, of course, NO!  Not everyone seeks or receives information in the same way.  And not everyone has the same needs.  You need to tailor your message to the people who need you most, and in a way they will receive it best.

Defining your target audience too broadly will cost you money.  There are many ways this happens, but I am going to focus on two:

  • A message that is meant for everyone will resonate with very few.  It can be too edgy for some, and too bland for others.  You’ve spent the time to craft the message, and spent money to try and get that message out, and it turns out the message didn’t resonate with anyone.
  • It costs money to reach a large audience.  Sounds great, right?  The more people who see your message, the more clients you will have. But not everyone will want your product or service.  So spending money reaching people who aren’t interested in what you have to offer is a waste of time, money and resources. More narrowly targeting your audience will be more likely to lead to good leads, and more customers.

In order to target properly, you need to ask a lot of questions about what your ideal client is and what your product or service provides.

In the rare case where your product or service is indeed for everyone, it is important to remember that different demographics act differently.  One message will not rule them all.

So as Simon Sinek suggests, ensure that the message to your target audience resonates with them as intended, and makes you something to them.  The last thing you want is for your message to go unheard because you tried to reach everyone.