Why define your target audience?
Is your target audience everybody? Big mistake! The more closely you define who you are speaking to, the more effective your messaging will be.
A visitor to our garden
We have just finished raking out the flower beds and fertilizing our little garden. In a few weeks we’ll spread out the bark mulch, and the heavy work will be over. Through the warm months we’ll only have to water plants and deadhead flowers.
When we started the garden, we just threw plants in the ground without a lot of thought — sort of how I started my business! Eventually, we choose plants that attract butterflies — like Buddleia (Butterfly Bush), and Joe Pye Weed. Now, when it gets hot, we’ll have a parade of swallowtails, monarch, and fritillaries sipping on our flowers.
We recently participated in a meeting with the founder of a new website — a community for people in the healthcare profession. He needed messaging that would speak to his audience, and show the benefits of joining his online community.
A startup for everyone
We asked who in healthcare he wanted to target. He said everyone — from pharmaceutical salespeople, to research scientists, to hospital executives, to doctors. Ambitious? Yes. Smart? Maybe not.
When you try to talk to everyone, you end up saying nothing.
On the other hand, consider our butterfly garden — we knew our audience (butterflies), focused our message (plants they love), and got results (multiple butterfly visits).
Shortcuts to defining your target audience
- Create personas. Break up your target audience into a few segments, and define what their goals and needs are. Then take each segment and turn it into a fictional person — assign demographic traits, names, even photos. For more about this method, visit this blog
- Study your competition — take a look at your direct competitors and understand who they target. See what content they use to connect with their targets, and the look, feel and voice that they use.
FACT OF THE MONTH
The IRS employee manual has instructions for collecting taxes after a nuclear war.
LevinsonBlock is a Brooklyn-based healthcare marketing agency that specializes in mid-sized organizations. Our clients include healthcare providers such as FQHCs, disease foundations, and healthcare technology firms.