Level Up Your Digital Campaign With Audience Targeting
Target Your Ideal Customer With These Audience Targeting Tips
By Dan Grech
An understanding of your target audience, the second pillar of BizHack Academy’s Lead Building System™, is a critical asset in creating a digital marketing campaign that is impactful and profitable for your small business. You can only target one audience with each online campaign, so when planning your next advertising initiative, begin by nailing down a target demographic of individuals who you wish to serve.
Marketing to a huge audience with few specific characteristics can be a drain on time, energy and money.
In order to preserve what makes your brand unique, you cannot be everything to everyone. Marketing to a huge audience with few specific characteristics can be a drain on time, energy and money.
By establishing your target audience early, you improve your campaign by specifying your marketing strategy. You also define long-term goals for your business.
But who is your target audience? How do you identify it? How does your target audience coincide with your digital campaign? Keep reading to find out.
TL;DR: When defining your target audience, specificity is key.
While you don’t want the audience for your digital campaign to be too narrow, your advertisements will best serve you and your small business if you have a clear picture of the individual who would best benefit from being exposed to your product or service.
As you identify and define your target audience, keep these questions in mind:
- What type of customer do my team and I enjoy serving?
- What part of the country does this customer live in?
- Who are they? What do they value?
- What do they do on a daily basis? What interests do they have?
- Why do they enjoy these interests? What benefits do they view as important?
Once you have answered these questions and have a specific individual or community that you feel would best respond to your campaign, you can then begin learning more about this type of customer and executing your digital campaign using online resources. Google and Facebook have pioneered audience targeting for digital marketers. These tools provide small businesses with a great place to start.
Identifying Your Target Audience
A common mistake I’ve seen small business marketers make is choosing a specific online channel to launch their campaign—such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Clubhouse—before targeting their ideal customer. These marketers are completing the digital marketing steps out of order.
Before you can plan your campaign, you must first identify where your customer is spending their time online. In other words, if your ideal customer commonly uses Facebook, design your marketing strategy to fit Facebook. Rather than market to a specific social media platform, market to a specific individual you wish to serve.
When identifying your target audience, begin with the customers you love to serve!
As a small business owner or a leader in an up-and-coming company, the time and energy you put into your work requires a great deal of sacrifice. Because of the risk you are taking to do what you love, I suggest that, when identifying your target audience, you begin with the customers you love to serve! The individuals who appreciate your work and get the most value out of your company, and who you find a joy to serve, are often the ideal customer to target when launching your digital campaign. Why would you market to a customer you don’t like?
Try to remember the individual you envisioned serving when you first began your small business or started in your position. This demographic is often a great place to start when identifying your target audience, because this community of people will likely respond to your ads consistently, which will lead to a measurable amount of growth for your business.
Once you have your ideal customer in mind, you can begin transforming this individual into the target audience of your online campaign.
However, first it is important to run your ideal customer through a series of questions that allow you to better understand who this individual is and what appeals to them.
Audience Targeting Question 1: Is your ideal customer definable?
At this stage in the identification process, you must evaluate whether you can use specific keywords to encapsulate the demographics and interests that target the person you want to market to.
To produce these keywords, ask yourself questions about your ideal customer.
- What gender is this person?
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What do they enjoy doing?
- What values are important to them?
- Why do they hold these values in high importance?
Audience Targeting Question 2: Is your ideal customer findable?
While you may be able to generate a list of keywords that describe your ideal customer, this individual may not broadcast these personal traits online.
As you paint a picture of who your digital campaign will target, keep in mind whether your customer’s defining keywords are easily identifiable on online platforms like Facebook or Google.
Audience Targeting Question 3: Is your ideal customer actionable?
This question helps you decide if the individual your campaign is targeting will actually respond to the messaging you put out. Will they engage with your ad? Give you their contact information? Purchase a product or service when prompted?
Audience Targeting Question 4: Is your ideal customer profitable?
As a small business, you may be inclined to engage with any customer who shows interest, regardless of whether the margins are actually good.
I’m sure we’ve all interacted with customers who require a great deal of customer service and personalization in their experience. When you encounter this type of individual, ask yourself if the resources you and your team are pouring into this customer will actually pay off. Your ideal customer is not so demanding that they are expensive to serve.
Audience Targeting Question 5: Does your ideal customer have growth potential?
Consider whether the community you aim to target will grow or shrink in the coming months. Will there be more ideal customers who can be impacted by your marketing campaign?
Your Target Audience Persona
By answering these questions, you are beginning to create a persona of your target audience. This is an actual human being that you can keep in mind when creating your campaign messaging, rather than simply a cluster of interests and traits.
As your target audience begins to come to life, you can start to transition into implementing their community in your online marketing initiatives.
Implementing Your Target Audience In Your Campaign
Having a specific target audience while also ensuring your advertisement reaches enough people is key to a successful digital marketing campaign.
As you begin to devise your marketing strategy around your target audience, segmentation techniques may help with audience targeting by further narrowing down the audience you want to impact with your campaign.
Segmentation refers to dividing up your audience into sub-segments, or groups that share even more specific characteristics based on the online data you’ve collected about your audience. This tactic can be beneficial to small businesses because it is often too expensive to try to reach an entire market. By segmenting your audience, you can target a smaller audience and increase your chance of appealing to your ideal customer.
When creating your sub-segments, you are looking for groups that are definable, doubly profitable and have growth potential. This is similar to your target audience as a whole, except these groups earn your small business more revenue or are more profitable.
Marketers can segment their audience in different ways based on a variety of specific metrics. While you may have a large pool of ideal customers, you may be best served in your online campaign by audience targeting that narrows this community down.
How to Leverage Netflix’s Audience Targeting Tactics
When it comes to audience segmentation online, Netflix has reduced it down to a science.
In the entertainment world of years past, Nielsen ratings were a prime way for television shows to gain insights on their audience. These ratings would ask, “How many people in the 18-34 age range are watching a specific show in a specific area?” This question would evaluate how successful a program was with a key demographic and use the data it gathered to predict what similar types of entertainment would also be successful within this age range.
When Netflix began to rise in popularity, the company took this approach to a new level. Instead of segmenting its audience by demographics like age or geography, the company used past viewing history as a factor to determine future viewing history.
This type of behavioral targeting gave Netflix psychographic data that indicated what its users’ likes and interests were. Put simply, if you consistently watched a certain genre of entertainment, you were likely to enjoy programs that fell into similar television categories. Watchers of Broadway musicals were likely to be interested in programs that fall in the comedy or drag sector. Watchers of supernatural or fantasy shows overlapped with the dark drama and sci-fi clusters.
Netflix then began to use the data it collected to provide users with recommended titles based on their past viewing history, a foolproof way to garner consistent audience interest and attention. Through Netflix’s method of audience targeting, age or geography didn’t matter. Once the company gathered a cluster of interests for customers, it was able to suggest products that would keep them coming back for more.
Google uses similar behavioral segmentation techniques that provide information about users through the searches they make on the platform. Each user’s search queries are used to learn more about the individual and personalize their experience on Google.
Facebook implements psychographic targeting in its audience targeting strategy. Because the platform has access to which topics you like, which people you follow or connect with, and what types of posts you engage with, its algorithms work to customize your experience on the site. Facebook knows you better than you know yourself!
Using These Audience Targeting Techniques in Small Business Marketing
Small business digital marketers can leverage the same tactics that made Netflix immensely successful. If you can collect a cluster of keywords that describes which brands, celebrities and entertainment your ideal customer enjoys, you can better market to them in a way that ensures audience engagement.
Google and Facebook give digital marketers easy-to-use tools that take your audience targeting for online campaigns to the next level—for little to no cost.
With a variety of options that range from retargeting to look-alike audience techniques, these platforms give marketers powerful audience targeting opportunities:
- Facebook Audience Insights allows marketers to discover the psychographics of their ideal customers and leverage this information in their marketing initiatives.
- Google Keyword Planner uses an algorithmic method of discovering which specific search queries potential customers are using. This information helps digital marketers learn which keywords they should be leveraging in their online content and marketing campaigns.
- Facebook Business Manager provides users with a variety of tools that allow them to target their ideal audience using a core or saved audience, a custom audience and a lookalike audience. Because this site offers a great way for beginners to learn the ins and outs of digital marketing, the resources on this platform are covered in-depth in BizHack Academy’s Digital Marketer’s Edge course.
As you leverage these helpful online resources in your digital marketing campaign, keep pillar 1 of the Lead Building System™— your campaign objective—in mind and be sure to check that your advertising works towards this goal.
In terms of connecting with your ideal customer, a common and effective objective is collecting their contact info. This makes it easier to get in touch with them in the future and continue your relationship.
Your goal in narrowing down your target audience is to hyper-serve the ideal customer that connects with your ads.
As you continue your digital campaign using each of the Six Pillars, your customer becomes the center of everything you do. Your commitment as a small business owner is to provide a product or service that will help make this individual’s life better, and in turn make the world a better place.