At our office we read quite a number of articles throughout the week. We regularly ask ourselves the question for what target audience an article was actually written. In most cases the answer is the same: for a broad audience. However, addressing a broad audience may negatively affect the persuasiveness of an article.

Let me give you an example: when you tell 65 year old people that they can play very awesome games on an iPad, it will probably not sound appealing to them. On the other hand, when you tell them that they can easily borrow electronic books (e-books) at the local library, they will surely pay more attention to that message. This is a simple and very general example, it does however highlight that the manner and style in which you communicate with your target audience is very important. In this blog post I will give you three examples on how you can tailor your communication to your target audience.

#1 Do not try to target everyone

Strategy is focus. Let me illustrate this by an example: you have a restaurant. Which of the three options below would be the most suitable one for you?

  • The focus lies on people between 40-70 for whom eating healthy food is more important than the price and who would like to take a seat in a place with a peaceful atmosphere.
  • The focus lies on people between 20-35 who have a preference for a trendy décor and a wide range of special beers or cocktails at a market price .
  • Focus? Everybody is welcome! There is a large menu so everyone will be able to find something he/she likes.

Obviously you would pick one of the top two options. When it comes to online businesses, this is often not the case. Online businesses tend to forget about the need for focus and try to have an online business that targets everyone. If that is what you are doing right now, you should better split your target audience and target each group in its own appropriate manner.

#2 Segment

Now, when you have determined what market you want to target, it is time to start the segmentation. Imagine segmentation as an orange which is being divided into several parts. According to old standards the division of your target audience would be done based on for instance gender and age. Nowadays, big data is more and more accessible to a lot of companies. Therefore, use big data to gauge the needs of your segment and to address them more specifically with the right type of communication.

#3 Dare to be unique

Your business should be a reflection of who you are, what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. Tailoring your marketing to people who are interested in the same topics is easier when you have a unique identity. This way you speak to the right people and at the same time you are honest about what you are doing. Do you prefer to do business with small businesses? Gently give the impression that you do so. Your external communication will be more appealing to small businesses this way and they will be more interested in doing business with you.

If it is about browsing, the uniqueness of communication plays a major role. Example of companies that distinguish themselves thanks to their unique content are companies like Zalando and GoPro. Think text, images and videos. By communicating to different target groups in different ways, they know how to convince them time and time again.

At GoPro, you do not only see this uniqueness in their products, but also in their job vacancy for a new Director of Ecommerce Operations. A standard job offer in a scarcity market will in fact not conquer hearts of a many people.

In a nutshell

How to communicate with your target audience is of utmost importance and it will make your life way easier if you do it the right way. Your communication with the outside world begins with defining your target audience.

Targeting the right audience in the right way increases the likelihood of successful communication. If you have a limited marketing budget, you will actually be able to take advantage of this principle. After all, you will only have to communicate to a select group.