First, what is a specific & ideal audience?
You have people that you’re here to serve with your gifts. They are the reason you created your business. But if you’re a solopreneur or have a tiny staff, you are free to ignore the masses to focus on those you serve best.
Niche is also a term you may hear a lot. Or even target audience. However you think of your audience, you have to clearly define who they are. So you know where to find them. And how to talk to them.
As a spiritual entrepreneur, perhaps defining your audience feels too businessey. Not caring enough.
But defining a specific and ideal audience is important to your business – and how you serve your audience.
You can’t sell everything, and you can’t sell to everyone. You have to sell to who you serve the best.
McGlaughlin is the Managing Director for MECLABS, a research group that improves clients’ marketing with the goal of increasing response. Since MECLABS began in 1997, McGlaughlin has seen clients’ results from tests on over 10,000 website landing pages, and in 1 billion sent emails.
Flint McGlaughlin is emphatic that you only serve the people who you serve the best.
He sees proof that when his clients’ marketing is specifically tailored to their audiences along every stage – from copy to offer – those marketing campaigns and efforts get the highest responses.
Companies pay MECLABS to uncover precisely how their marketing can be made more specific and meaningful to their audiences.
You can apply McGlaughlin’s wisdom at no cost. And make your marketing more specific for your audience.
Defining and understanding the audience you serve the best is a narrowing process. But do not think a specifically defined audience limits you. Or that you’ll leave money on the table. Just the opposite.
When you are clearer about who your ideal clients are & what they want – you get clues about how to market to them.
Clues like knowing where to find your audience. And which messages and offers will appeal to them.
Simply, they feel connected to you. Because your marketing works.
And because these are the people you know and serve the best, you don’t have to pretend to be someone different from who you are. You can be your authentic self.
Why is understanding your audience important?
Knowing your audience and what to say makes marketing easier for you (less of a dreaded chore). And your marketing can authentically connect with your audience.
To do that your marketing has to speak your audience’s language. Talking about their wants, challenges, frustrations and hesitations.
Specific messages get attention. When your marketing talks to a person, describing his particular problem, he wants to hear more…because it’s about him.
Use the words, ideas and images that your audience uses. Because that’s what they relate to – what’s meaningful to them. And by sharing what’s meaningful, then you touch their emotions.
Example: This dermatologist’s sign specifically tells women (and interested men) he can them help figure out which skincare products to use. As a dermatologist, he is qualified to do a mole check. But this isn’t the audience he serves the best, and wants to serve.
Your clear messages eliminate audience confusion
Communication is a 2-way street.
If your audience never sees your message or can’t understand what you’re saying –- your communication didn’t do its job.
The point of communication is to be understood. This is why defining a specific and ideal audience is important to your marketing.
Otherwise without knowing what’s important to your audience, what your marketing says is so general –- that it’s meaningless. And your message never sinks in. Your audience will never understand you.
If there is confusion — communication cannot happen.
Talking or writing to your audience in generalities confuses them. And confused people come up with lots of questions.
Who’s this for? Me? Someone else? What does this even mean? What good will it do me?
When they don’t get good answers to their questions – right away – you’ve lost your readers and listeners. No one likes feeling confused.
As humans we avoid confusion at all costs. It’s built into us. Our prehistoric survival depended on not being confused. And knowing exactly how to react to danger.
Hear that noise in the bushes? Could that be food for us tonight? Or is it a saber-toothed tiger hunting me for his dinner?Prehistoric man in the bush
Those prehistoric folks who waited around to clear up their confusion about what might be in the bushes (hunter or food) – well – they didn’t live long enough to become one of our ancestors.
We all still avoid confusion – as if our lives depend on it. To this day.
This webpage is soooo confusing!! Gotta leave. Now. Search Google. Again.21st century woman searching the web
Even if there’s no threat of harm or death. We don’t stay to figure out what’s on that page. Maybe info on that page could transform a life. But it’s the 21st century & we’ve lots of other choices.
And your audience won’t waste time & energy to clear up their confusion on your home page. It’s easier to leave.
Your specific messages answer the eternal question: “What’s in it for me?”
Detailed messages grab the reader. And get rid of his potential confusion.
When messages are clear and understandable, then it’s easy for your audience to answer their very first question.
“What’s in it for me?” runs deep within in us. All the time. (Another leftover survival mechanism.)
And to successfully make a human connection, your marketing must answer this question. It’s why defining a specific and ideal audience is important for you to do for your business.
Example: I’m shopping at my Trader Joe’s one day this fall, and I was at the fruit display.
I picked up a bag of apples and studied it. A variety called Sweeties. I had never seen or heard of them before. They looked good, but…
I only eat crispy apples. I don’t like soft varieties – like Macintosh. Won’t eat them. Refuse to buy them. Yuk. 🙁Me shopping in Trader Joe’s
This bag of Sweeties had 6 apples. Waaaaay too many to take the risk that they might be a
mushy soft variety.
When I’m shopping at Trader Joe’s and picking up bags of frozen shrimp, fresh spinach, and tortilla chips – I always have this question running in my subconscious:
What’s in it for me?
So when I look at a plastic container of (delicious & tempting) Pub Cheese, if I don’t get a good answer to this question – I’ll say, “Nope! Not buying it.”
Back to the apple bag I was holding. I read this line of copy:
“GALA’S SWEETER, CRUNCHIER COUSIN”
Ooooo, now they’re talking my language! The apple growers answered my question – right on the front of the bag. Crispy, sweet, and delicious apples could be mine – if I gave them a try.
Seeing those words on the bag of apples suddenly made this an easy choice for me. Among the many, many choices I faced on that single trip to Trader Joe’s.
Your empathy breaks through your audience’s inertia
The more specific your marketing is about your audience’s desires and needs, the easier for them to feel like you know them. And for your audience to believe you’re the right choice. To help with their very real problem.
People want to connect with people who respect them. Who understand them. And when your marketing makes clear your business both understands and cares about your audience, they sense this.
They feel your empathy. Because you’ve shown in your words & actions that you get them. And understand their struggles.
Your understanding lets you express true empathy for your audience. And this is why defining a specific and ideal audience is important to your business.
Problems you have when you define your audience too broadly
Remember, not everyone is your audience. Knowing who you serve best, helps you be clear in your marketing regarding who you do (and do not) work with. This clarity reduces the chances of ending up with less than ideal clients.
Wimpy messages – too vague or too general – unintentionally attract the people you don’t want to work with. So later, you waste time screening them out.
Sometimes, spiritual entrepreneurs, in their desire to help people, don’t want to leave anyone behind.
But there is a group you can never reach. And it’s not your fault.
Yes, these folks have the problem you solve. And they could get tremendous benefit working with you. But they are not ready to take action. They may not even realize they have this problem.
And because they’re so unaware – they’re not ready for your help yet. They have the freedom to do nothing or say no thanks.
They may appear to fit into the group you serve. But it’s ok that they don’t fit into your narrowly defined audience. At least while they’re in their current state of mind.
Tips on knowing your target audience
Go through the list & group questions to answer in this order:
Group 1: Answers that you know for certain
Group 2: Make good guesses about what your think could be true – but aren’t totally sure about
Group 3: Finally, list questions that could help you but have no idea how to answer & have to do some research
Begin researching for answers to Group 3 questions and to confirm (or not) your guesses to Group 2 questions.
Ways to find out how your audience thinks and feels about their problem & what they want:
- Talk to clients and potential clients
- Survey clients
- Read their complaints, comments and emails
- Check online sources (example: Facebook groups) for insights into how your audience thinks
- Listen to & read what they say about their challenges, frustrations and problems
Research isn’t just for big business. You can get deeper insights into your audience through information that is free or low cost.
If you have a meditation practice, I recommend asking for guidance throughout this process. Rely on your inner wisdom to guide you to discover what’s important for you to know.
Weave your new audience insights into your current marketing. Create stronger relationships, so your marketing works better.
Knowing more about your audience can make marketing easier to do. And more effective in attracting clients.
If you’ve done some kind of audience research before, how did your learning change your marketing? Let us know in the comments.
Download the free PDF: Quick Start: Questions About Your Audience The Quick Start list is free. No email required. Instant download.
Get marketing help delivered to your inbox. Get practical insights & tips that combine tried-and-true marketing principles with your gift of intuition. Find, get & serve more clients.