I should perhaps start off with the question ‘why define an audience’. Depending on your niche, it may be very obvious who your target audience is.
For example, if your niche is one of the less popular sports like fencing, then it’s fairly easy to define your audience! (And I’m not sure I would recommend fencing as a niche given the small numbers who participate just to be clear!)
However, what if your niche is weight loss, making money online, or babies? If you can learn how to define an audience, you will not get massively outranked by the competition.
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Start by creating a persona
This is possibly the hardest part and you will never have it 100% right but you have to consider, who is your ideal customer.
By creating a persona (or ‘avatar’) you will be able to more clearly identify their pain points and as a consequence, create content and tailor products that offer solutions to their problems.
If you can do this, you can create a customer for life. There may be more than one customer persona depending on what you are offering, but start off with one.
If you already have a customer base, this will be somewhat easier as you can base it on your existing clients, if not, you have to use a bit of imagination and research.
Essentially you are creating the identity of your customer and can give them a name (and a face too with a photo if it helps!) The sort of questions you want to ask are:
- Am I a man or a woman?
- Am I married?
- Where do I live?
- How old am I?
- Do I have children, if so, what ages?
- What level of education do I have?
- What is my occupation?
- What is my income?
- What do I love to do in my spare time?
- What do I value most?
- Where do I consume content? Blogs? Social media (if so, which)?
- What would I love to achieve in my life?
- What is my favorite quote?
- What are my biggest challenges?
- What are my objections to buying your product or service?
You may find this a really difficult task if you are just getting started and aren’t at all sure, but you have to start somewhere.
When I started this blog, I had no doubt who I wanted to target – people like me who want to escape their job and live the life of their dreams. However, this could be virtually everyone! Ultimately I had to get clearer and define it further. More on how to do that later.
What if I have no idea who my customer would be?
It’s quite likely that you will have a bit of an idea but need something more concrete to start off with.
In this case, you can use Audience Insights on Facebook and click on Ads Manager. Then click on the search button and search for Audience Insights (they have changed it so much since I was last on that I can’t find it any other way!).
Using this method you will be able to find the demographics of people interested in what you are offering. You can even put in that you are looking for people interested in (for example) weight loss, people who follow certain websites or buy particular publications.
This is really well explained by Rick Mulready for Social Media Examiner on YouTube. (How to access Audience Insights has changed so use my navigation above to find it.)
What challenges does your customer have?
If you already have a customer base, it’s easy to ask them using a tool like Survey Monkey. You will already have enough knowledge to craft questions to find what brings them the most pain.
You can also check Google Analytics to find out which pages and topics are your most popular to-date and so can dive deeper into those topics in future content.
If you don’t have a customer base but you do have a strong interest in your niche (as you almost certainly do) you will already know some pain points.
For example in the weight loss niche, it could be how can you lose weight in a certain area, how to exercise when you live in a tiny space or how to lose weight and still eat tasty, filling meals.
For the make money online niche it could be that your greatest pain point is being able to get traffic to your blog, or how to find keywords in such a competitive niche (that is relevant for all competitive niches!).
For the baby niche, the pain point could be how to get your baby to sleep through the night (that will be a common challenge for sure!), how to help a teething baby etc.
The great thing about Google, is people are looking for the answers to their problems so if you are answering those problems you are on the right track. (However, also make sure to do your keyword research.)
For more ideas, check out Quora.com and enter the main topic of your blog. You will find lots of questions that people are currently asking which is great!
How to narrow down your target audience
If you are in a very competitive niche, you can easily narrow down your target audience. This will give you a much better choice of keywords to go after than going for broad terms where you have zero chance of ranking.
(If you haven’t established a niche yet, check out my post How to find an affiliate marketing niche.)
Let’s look (for a change!) at the dog niche. This is a huge, competitive niche. There are several ways you could do this. You could start off doing this by-product, say, dog beds. Then once you had exhausted all dog bed angles, you could move on to harnesses and so on.
Another option would be to focus on a breed or group of dogs. Working dogs will have very different needs and their owners will have different interests than someone who has a dog as a pet. Or you could focus on small breeds or even totally on French Bulldogs! Or it could be a health aspect affecting large breeds, or how to raise a puppy from 0 – 1 year.
Just allow yourself scope with your website name to allow for expansion should you exhaust your starting point niche.
Some other ideas to narrow your niche could be:
- With the baby niche, you could start at the needs of a newborn then expand from there
- With the weight loss niche, you could start with weight loss for people over a certain weight, or people trying to lose weight who have a health condition
- If you are in the make money online niche you could focus on people approaching retirement, or you could specialize in one area of making money such as Forex trading (although you may need to narrow down further as Forex is pretty competitive but you get the idea!)
Getting specific on who your customer is and what they need help with will, in turn, help you enormously. You will have much greater clarity about the problems, the solutions, how you can build out your website content, and never run out of ideas.
Have you already done this process? How has it worked for you? Or have you yet to define your target audience? I would love to hear about it in the comments.
Or, if you haven’t got started yet, check out my review for the training platform that has helped me get this far.