In an age where social media facilitates simple, widespread communication, businesses try all too often to target everyone they can. The Internet and mobile advertising make it easy for companies to reach mass audiences simultaneously, so many businesses never stop to think about which customers they really need to contact.
However, it’s important to realize that your product won’t appeal to everyone in the same way. Ads that appeal to a working mother will probably use different images and language than ads that appeal to a young man in college. Creating an ad that appeals to everyone is costly—and it typically generates fewer responses than targeted messages.
Identifying Your Target Market
When you’re ready to create effective, targeted ads, you’ll need to identify your target market before doing anything else. Create a specific profile of your ideal customer using some of the following questions.
- How old is the customer?
- Is the customer male or female? Single or married? Does the customer have children?
- Where does your customer live?
- What does your customer do for work? For entertainment?
- Why does your customer need this product or service?
Generally, you’ll enjoy higher response rates when you can narrow down your customer profile as much as possible. For example, imagine that you’re trying to target specific groups such as single mothers with children under the age of 8, high school English teachers, or office workers interested in earning college degrees. These general customer profiles allow you to choose the right advertising medium for the audience—and also guide you in creating a targeted message that will convert.
Reaching a Specific Group
Once you’ve identified your target group of customers, you can begin figuring out how you will reach them. The advertising medium you choose can have a broad impact on your overall results. You need to understand how your customers consume media and figure out where they are most likely to see your message.
Some groups might already belong to member organizations or specialized publications, which can be ideal channels for advertising. In other instances, you might try advertising through a group that is likely to bring in new customers from your demographic. For instance, a home remodeling company could partner with a real estate agent to offer new customers a special rate.
Advertising for Businesses with Wide Audiences
Of course, some businesses simply can’t narrow their customer base down to a single demographic. Large companies like Amazon and Target—and small businesses like restaurants and medical offices—have products and services for nearly everyone.
If your business truly has something that everyone can use, you can still apply the principles of targeted advertising toward your marketing efforts by separating your customer base into distinct groups. Focus particular ad campaigns on specific demographics—using a Facebook message and coupon code to target young customers or email marketing to reach busy professionals. Consider where particular customers are most likely to see your message, and create the appropriate advertisement for each channel.
Creating Ads for Your Customers
Whether your company designs products for a specific type of customer or a wide audience, it’s essential for you to know and understand who you’re trying to sell to before you begin advertising. You can spend your marketing dollars trying to reach as many customers as possible and receive a few vaguely interested replies—or you can target advertising toward a particular group, explain how your product fits their needs, and enjoy the responses from screened customers who are ready to buy. The best way to target customers effectively is to craft each advertisement and message with their specific needs in mind.