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Written by Sam Yadegar on Jun 7 , 2021

To create effective marketing campaigns, properly targeting your audience is key.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why audience targeting is important
  • A list of targeting types
  • The best places to leverage audience targeting
  • Expert targeting tips

Audience targeting will help you set parameters for paid search ads, design personalized offers, adjust your email marketing campaign, write effective content, and much more. Not only that, but being able to reach the right people with your message has a huge effect on the ROI of your marketing campaign.

Audience targeting basically means dividing your customers into groups based on their behavior, interests, and demographics. The goal: to create a personalized message for each segment. Segmenting is important, since most brands don’t have an audience that shares the same region, financial status, or job title. 

Let’s take a closer look at audience targeting and how to approach it properly.

Why audience targeting is important

Knowing how to target your audience is a key part of designing an effective marketing campaign. After all, you need to know who you’re speaking to and what they’re looking for from your company, right? 

The main benefits of proper segmentation include:

  • Budget friendly: With the right approach to audience targeting, you don’t waste money or time showing ads or creating content for the wrong consumer. Plus, it helps you optimize your return on ad spend (ROAS).
  • Resource distribution: Knowing which parts of your audience engage with your content and ads (and ultimately convert) can help you put more funds toward the right marketing efforts.
  • Leads with high potential: Knowing which audience to target helps you attract leads with high conversion potential.
  • Turning customers into long-term partners: Designing personalized messages for existing customers and re-engaging them with remarketing tactics helps build brand loyalty and can boost customer lifetime value.
  • Better SEO: Audience targeting allows you to increase website traffic. You can make sure the right consumers are visiting it and create content that’ll get you visibility on the search engine results page (SERP).

With well-defined audience segments in mind, you can get hyper-targeted and reel the right consumers in.  

large audience of people outdoors

Psychographic targeting requires a closer look at your potential and existing clients to figure out how they think. (Image via Unsplash)

Types of audience targeting

Audience targeting aims to help you create a high-converting campaign for specific parts of your audience. With that in mind, it helps to be aware of different audience targeting types.

Demographic targeting

Demographic information is the most common way to target an audience. These parameters include things like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race/nationality
  • Family (parental and marital) status
  • Income
  • Education
  • Job status
  • Location

For some campaigns, this data may be enough to create at least one ideal client persona. Other campaigns may need extra details for a more personalized approach.

Example: Design paid ads to target 40-year-old married men from Denver with incomes of over $75,000 per year.

Psychographic targeting

Psychographic audience targeting divides your audience into groups based on the psychological traits that may influence buying habits. You can pinpoint these traits by studying your audience’s lifestyle, habits, and preferences.

Psychographic targeting requires a closer look at your potential and existing clients to figure out how they think. Consider traits like:

  • Social status
  • Lifestyle
  • Personality
  • Attitudes
  • Activities
  • Interests

Additional things you may want to study to help with psychographic targeting include:

  • Food, sleep, entertainment habits
  • Activity on social media
  • Online behavior patterns

When it comes to this type of targeting, looking at your existing customers can be a great help. Get a clearer picture of how to approach new consumers by studying them through tracking and surveying.

Example: Create an email campaign targeting consumers who enjoy road trips and camping.

Behavioral targeting

Behavior targeting involves segmenting your audience according to their behavior when making purchasing decisions and browsing the internet.

  • Types of ads they click
  • Types of websites they visit
  • Items they’ve purchased in the past
  • Interactions with an app
  • Interaction with your brand

Besides making your message more personalized, behavioral targeting lets you identify buying trends and make predictions to improve your future tactics.

Example: Show flower shop ads to people who have visited flower e-commerce websites in the past 90 days.

Need more help with your audience? Let’s connect!

audience of people indoors at a presentation

Proper segmenting can help you take a direct shot at the consumer’s pain points. (Image via Unsplash)

How to use audience targeting

There are a handful of tools you can take advantage of to get the most out of your audience targeting efforts.

  • Google Ads: Google has a handful of useful features to work with when designing paid ads. Pay special attention to in-market audiences.
  • LinkedIn Ads: LinkedIn’s lookalike or matched audience feature uses the information you collected about your audience to generate more leads.
  • Facebook Ads: Facebook creates a huge playing field for companies that know what their audience wants. Consider exploring custom and lookalike audiences.
  • Email marketing: Segmented email marketing campaigns get almost 65% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns. You can use the information you collect to design the perfect offer.

When you need to create a precise message, audience targeting can help you do it. From paid ads and email marketing to landing page content and blog posts, proper segmenting can help you take a direct shot at the consumer’s pain points.

Audience targeting tips

Looking to improve your audience targeting tactics to streamline your marketing campaign? These pro tips can help:

  • Take the time to dig into your existing audience so you can better understand how to build and segment effectively.
  • Engage with your potential customers through a variety of channels to gather information for psychographic targeting.
  • Save money by creating one ad and personalizing it for each segment of your target audience.
  • Avoid hyper-targeting your audience. Segments are great, but micro-segments are rarely effective.
  • When using paid search ads, make sure to explore all the opportunities presented by the platform. Google and social media platforms offer a huge variety of targeting opportunities. 

The takeaway

Audience targeting is one of the most effective ways to reach consumers with a high buying potential. Without segmenting your target audience, you may be struggling to match your message to the right buyers. 

On the other hand, taking advantage of the available audience targeting tools across different channels can help you maximize ROI, increase brand loyalty, and design marketing campaigns that convert.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Jan 12 , 2021

Knowing your ideal client personas can improve your brand’s sales, marketing, and more.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why you should create ideal client personas
  • How personas benefit your business
  • What defines a negative persona
  • Ways to pinpoint your brand’s personas

Marketing without knowing your ideal client persona (or ICP, also called buyer persona) is like giving a speech without having a clue who’s in the audience. Sure, the message might come across, but it won’t be as successful as it would be when you know exactly who you’re addressing.

What is an ideal client persona?

Your ICP is the group of people you most want to attract to your product or service. Put another way, Hootsuite describes a buyer persona as “a detailed description of someone who represents your target audience.”

By knowing exactly who you’re trying to reach through your marketing, you can be more intentional about using messaging they understand, employing language they’re familiar with, and targeting them on platforms they’re already using. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to defining your ICP — and why it’s worth your time.

hawksem: ideal client persona blog

Knowing your ideal client persona helps personalize and humanize your target audience. (Image via Unsplash)

How knowing your ideal client persona benefits your brand

The more targeted you are in your marketing, the more likely your message is to resonate and the more likely you are to grab the right attention and interest. When you know more about your personas, you can better predict their pain points, goals, and what’s important to them.

Knowing your ideal client persona helps personalize and humanize your target audience (rather than simply considering them a faceless mass of people). This not only helps your marketing, but it can benefit your sales, product, development, and other teams as well by helping them better understand the people your company is looking to reach.

After all, if your verbiage and ad copy speak to your audience properly, you can better avoid unqualified clicks and budget spent on leads that aren’t a good fit. 

Ways to determine your ideal client persona

To identify your personas, first look at your current clients

What trends can you identify? If you don’t have much information on them outside of their names and contact info, try to work additional questions into the existing forms on your website. You could also include a survey in some of your email campaigns when it makes sense so you can have more data to work with.

You can also conduct a more formal research survey with clients and prospects. (To get the best results, it helps to mention that you’re trying to get to know them better so you can better serve their needs, which is true. You can also offer an incentive like the chance to win a gift card.) For particularly happy clients, you can even request a brief phone interview to get this information. 

When you’re gathering info, some good questions to ask include:

  • What’s your age range?
  • What are your primary job responsibilities?
  • What’s your highest level of education?
  • How many employees does your company have?
  • What publications and social media platforms do you most often read and use?

Pro tip: It’s a good idea to connect with your sales team to get additional insight on potential patterns they may have noticed about your existing clients, leads, and target personas.

What to do once you know your ideal client persona

After you’ve gathered a sufficient amount of data, you can begin defining your ideal client persona. Take the trends and patterns you’ve found, then see how they stack up against what you thought your ideal client persona was, if you already had one in mind. 

Do they make more or less money than you thought? Are their roles and responsibilities slightly different? These are things you can nail down at this stage.

From there, you can use a tool like Hubspot’s Make My Persona to bring your persona, figuratively, to life. You can give them a name, face, job title, personal details, and more. Next, share this persona (or personas) with your team and discuss how you all can better implement this persona in your processes moving forward. 

hawksem blog: ideal client personas

When your personas are fleshed out, you can create content that better pinpoints problems, aligns with common goals, and takes each buyer stage into consideration. (Image via Unsplash)

Creating multiple personas

Unsurprisingly, personas often aren’t one size fits all. Most brands don’t have one single ICP with one specific job and set of demographics. Rather, they have a few key personas they target that cover a variety of regions, industries, or other attributes. 

By creating multiple personas, you don’t pigeonhole your targeting too narrowly or overlook potential audience segments that are well worth your time.

It can also be beneficial to create a few “negative buyer personas.” These are the personas that may seem like those you want to target, but they’re actually not the right fit for one reason or another. Maybe they work at too big of a company, have too small of a budget, or just aren’t at the right stage of their career. 

Looking for more digital marketing help? What’s why we’re here.

Other ways to use your ideal client persona

As mentioned above, your ideal client personas can inform multiple aspects of your business. You can use them to create more personalized, segmented emails and to inform content creation. When your personas are fleshed out, you can publish content that better pinpoints problems, aligns with common goals, and takes each buyer stage into consideration.

Thanks to advanced digital targeting tools, knowing your ICP can help you better target your paid search, social ads, and more. These personas can also help your sales team craft better, more nuanced sales pitches, and even lead you in the right direction when it comes to making difficult business decisions. 

Revisiting your ideal client persona

As your business evolves, so too might your personas. That’s why it’s wise to revisit your ICP regularly. You can do this quarterly, semi-annually, yearly, or as frequent as it makes sense for you and your team. 

When revisiting, look at your current ideal client persona and ask questions like:

  • Are these still the job titles we want to target?
  • Is this still the business size we want to go after?
  • Are these still the platforms our audience is using?
  • Have our ICP’s business goals changed?
  • Does our ICP line up with the majority of our clients? If not, how can we get better aligned?

The takeaway

With fierce competition, an unpredictable business climate, and rapidly changing technology, it’s more important than ever to stay hyper-focused on your target audience.

By building a few solid ideal client personas, you and your team can ensure you’re aligned when it comes to who you’re speaking to, how you reach them, and what avenues you use to connect with them.

This article has been updated and was originally published in June 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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