How to define the target audience when communicating on the internet? Author Alicja Kubów Read bio When running a business, and by the same token – all kinds of marketing operations, it is important to answer two key questions: what is the purpose of the marketing activities and who are they aimed at? To find the answer to the latter, it is worth identifying the potential consumer of our brand and the recipient of our message(s). Could they be different people? Yes, since there can be multiple addresses. But how do we define the target group of our activities, specifically content marketing activities on the web? In this article we will address the following questions: What is a persona and how to identify it? Why is it worth defining the target group of the brand and what are the benefits of doing so? What is the difference between the recipient of the brand and the recipient of its messages? What are the methods for identifying target groups? What to remember when building a persona? What is a persona and how to identify it? Persona is nothing more than a representative of the potential group of recipients of our brand. This is a model client who will be our regular or ad hoc recipient (depending on the orientation of consumer profiling). Therefore, it is good practice to define it using the majority approach – pay attention to the similarities between the clients and their common characteristics. We start with basic information such as demographic data; for instance, gender, age and place of residence. In the next stage, we define our persona, specifying its potential interests, profession, lifestyle, and even appearance. It all depends on the business profile we run and the communication channel we will use to locate our target group. Why is it worth defining the brand’s target group? The most crucial component in the success of marketing activities (including online operations) is to define their purpose and choose the right communication channels. Depending on the industry and target group in question, these channels will differ. Benefits of identifying the target audience The basic profit resulting from defining the target group of the brand is the skillful selection of communication channels (in turn, this will exclude the needless use of unsuitable media). Another positive aspect of defining the target group is the specification of the brand image. In order to get closer to the recipients, our brand should “mold” into them. That means: using a similar language, sending messages related to the interests of a given target group, and contributing to discussions that are important to them. However, to know which of them are worth paying attention to and which are not – you should get to know the habits of your target group on the internet. The last important benefit of identifying the target group is carrying out conscious image-building activities of the company. Sure, we can assume the standard approach in the form of social media presence and arbitrarily choose Instagram or Facebook. But how can we be sure that this is where our potential customers will be, and that these activities will bring results? Defining the persona and understanding our recipients will bring us closer to that goal. What is the difference between the recipient of the brand and the recipient of its messages? The target group will not always be uniform; for instance, women aged 35+. The group of recipients may vary depending on the selected communication channel or tools we use for promotion. Brand recipients are all those who will be interested in our product or service. There can also be several personas even within one channel, such as a company blog. We can designate a number of target groups because the thematically divided posts will suit the needs of different people. For instance, a post on the benefits of content marketing will be addressed to potential consumers, and a post on essential Chrome tools will be of interest to novice specialists and potential agency employees. And yet, although a novice specialist may be the recipient of our messages, they will not be a customer of the Elephate brand, since we do not address our offer to them. What are the methods for identifying target groups? Defining the target group is seemingly a simple task and can be performed intuitively by identifying the use of the offered product or the benefits of a given service. However, to make a deeper and more in-depth analysis, it is worth implementing several methods. Google Analytics This tool allows us to check the profile of our consumers. We can examine demographic data over a period of time, as well as behavioral and geographic data about our customers. Thanks to this, we can determine the region of Poland in which we have the highest conversion rate, the gender of our clients and their interests, and the province from which we have the highest traffic on our website. Such data can provide knowledge that will work towards specifying our persona. For more information, see our article on GA data Facebook By analyzing the profile of the recipients of our messages on social media, we are able to determine their age, gender, nationality, interests, or profession. When performing initial targeting, we should consider who may be in our circle of interest and exclude those who will certainly not take advantage of our offer. During initial segregation, it is worth specifying information such as location, language, age, and gender. Based on this data, we will outline a general group of people who may buy our product or be interested in our service. It will also allow us to narrow down the target group on an ongoing basis. Psychographic segmentation and surveys Based on psychographic segmentation, we can properly target our offer, and thus – the messages sent by our brand. Anyone brand is able to simultaneously communicate its activities to different groups of recipients. However, such classification is only an arbitrary division of the basic groups of consumers. Depending on the brand, services or products we offer, we can conduct more detailed research. There are many analyses available on the market that present the needs of specific groups of recipients, e.g. enthusiasts of healthy eating or young women. Furthermore, some of these studies are free of charge. General classifications should be treated as a starting point for in-depth research – we should not base our conclusions solely on assumptions or beliefs about a certain group. The more accurately and in detail we describe our target group, the greater the chance of the communication of our brand to stand out. What to remember when building a persona? Who is our recipient? It is worth considering demographics; age, sex, place of residence, or education allow us to adjust the message to the individual. For instance, we will direct the information differently to a twenty-year-old woman from a small town than to a fifty-year-old university professor. We can choose several versions, but it is important to remember that there is no “one size fits all”. What do they do? Are they working? Industry, job title, the scope of duties, company size… All these aspects are an introduction to further, deeper questions. What are their habits? What does a typical day for our recipient look like? What time do they get up, what do they read with their breakfast, how do they commute to work, and what do they do in their spare time? This part will allow us to define the ideal points of contact with the brand. If our recipient uses the tram every day to get to work, we can record a half-hour podcast or offer an extensive written piece for them to read. The possibilities are endless! What’s bothering them? What problems can we help them solve? These doubts can only refer loosely to our product – the point is to present the recipient with a wider context instead of purely product-related matters. Once we identify their problems, we will successfully gain his or her interest. What’s important to them? What do they value and what are their ambitions? By identifying with the recipient’s values, we can easily find a common language. Once we find the “carrot”, it will be much easier to respond to their needs. As such, the scope of values of the target recipient should be precise and extensive. What are they afraid of? The other side of the equation is the “stick”. If we want the recipient to take action, we should bear in mind that fear is a great motivator. What are the fears of our readers? What concerns can be dispelled by our published content?