• How to Build an Audience

In order for your small business to succeed and flourish, you have to be able to build your audience. Building an audience allows you to save valuable time, money, and resources while you promote your product or service to the right people: your target audience.

How to Build an Audience

What is a Target Audience?

A target audience, or target market, is the group or niche of people that is a perfect fit for your business’s product or service. It is important for you to have a target audience and use it because this is the group your advertising and marketing is directed towards. Just like dog groomers don’t want to waste their time selling their products to people who hate dogs, it is useless for you to try and sell your products to people who aren’t interested.

Why is it important to know your target audience? Well, once you discover your target audience, you can focus on the marketing itself and try something new, such as starting your own campaign or targeting specific audiences with Facebook ads. Identifying your target audience enables you to reach the people that actually want or need your business so that you can build your audience online.

Identifying Your Target Audience

Now you’re probably thinking that this sounds great on paper, but how do I actually find the target audience of my company?

In order to identify your target market, you can start by examining the information you have about your previous customers. Take note of trends or similarities. Is your audience mostly male or female? Are they parents? Which social media sites do they use most often? Do they go on social media at night or early in the morning? The answers to these questions will depend on who your audience is.

Although you may think you already know who your target audience is, be sure to actually look at your customer information. Dog groomers may think their customers are only dog owners, but a significant part of their business may come from young families who are buying their first pet. As the late W. Edwards Deming once said, “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.” Look at the customer information you have to confirm that the assertions you’re making about your audience backs up your claim. Finding your target audience will put you in the best possible position to get more customers and grow your social audience.

Target Audience Research

Once you identify your target audience, find out everything you can about them. Do some research and learn as much as you can about who they are, including age, gender, location, income, and season. Take this information and use it to find out even MORE about your target audience. Look into their shopping habits, where and how they shop, what they shop for in-store and online, how many hours they spend online, etc. With this information, you can find the most effective ways to reach your target audience and set realistic long term marketing goals.

Let’s go back to the dog groomer example. If dog groomers discover that their target audiences are working professionals who spend time on Instagram or Facebook late at night, they should post photos and promotions on Instagram and Facebook in the evening hours. Knowing that your target audience is on social media during a particular time of the day based on their lifestyle enables business owners to reach that audience during that time period. Spending a little bit of time getting your hands dirty and learning about your target audience will pay off exponentially in the long run.   

Related: Examples of Small Business Marketing Plans

How to Build an Audience

After you research your target audience and know where and when to reach people, get started doing it! If you’re not on the social platforms where your customers are, set up a profile to get started. 

Build an Audience Through Social Media Engagement

Before you work on growing a new audience, engage the one you already have. If you have a following on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, start by increasing social media engagement. You can do this by posting more often, using photos or video, or asking questions that your audience is likely to answer.

Another way to increase social media engagement is by posting more relevant content, such as answers to recent questions, helpful information for customers, or interactions with customers by responding to their comments. Dog groomers can respond to customer’s questions and concerns on Facebook or Instagram or create their own business hashtag to encourage customers to post pics of their pups after grooming! 

Growing your social media audience will create a community for your customers, which will allow your business to increase its customer base and generate profits. If you want to dive deeper into enhancing your social media presence, here’s more information on increasing engagement on Facebook.

Build an Audience Through Blogging

Another valuable practice to building your audience is blogging. Although blogging may seem as an annoyance to many, it actually does help build your audience. Businesses with active blogs get 97% more leads than those without them. Blogging enables you to provide useful content to your audience through tips and tricks and other helpful information. Check out these 130 blog ideas to get started.

Aside from being helpful, blogging also improves your business’s SEO, making your business more likely to get found online. Posting quality content frequently will build your blog audience and create even more customers for your business. Dog groomers can blog about at home brushing or nail trimming tips, DIY dog treat recipes, or even local pet-friendly parks. 

Building an Audience Through Branding

In both social media and blogging, it’s important to maintain a consistent voice for your brand. This is your brand identity, and this is what will help customers relate to your business. 

Your brand identity is what distinguishes you from other businesses and makes you personable to your customers. There’s no set way to do this: choose what you think best fits your personality and your customers. Add some corny puns, use a serious tone, or write in riddles—the choice is yours. Regardless of what you decide to do, your voice will give your customers another way for them to remember you by and give you an added advantage from your competitors.        

Building an audience only takes a few steps, but be sure to carefully go through each one in order to yield the best results. Find your target audience, learn everything you can about them, determine if your current marketing works, and grow your audience. Social media, blogging, and consistent branding are all effective ways for you to gain a substantial following that is interested in your products or services. This process will allow you to spend less time worrying about finding the right people and more time working on what to do with your target market.

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