How well do you know your audience? A common mistake is assuming you are your audience when in fact, you’re not. Even if you are a person who’d buy what you’re selling, you have to remember that your motives and your audiences differ and that you need to look outside of yourself and get to know your ideal, target audience to not only tell better stories but also to make conversions.
Why It’s Important to Know Who Your Audience Is
Imagine you are reading, watching, or listening to something. The information you’re consuming resonates with who you are on an intrinsic level. You immediately identify with it. As in, “Yes, I can so relate to having to have that first cup of coffee before I can carry on a conversation in the mornings,” or, “Yes, I feel so invigorating having given up coffee in exchange for 5 a.m. yoga.” Because you identify with the content, you invest. It affirms what you already believe about yourself or the world.
Well, your audience is the same as you. When they read content that really hits home, they also want to invest…with you. So, do you know if your audience prefers a wake-up coffee or a workout or tea or…? If you don’t, you want to.
How to Figure Out Your Target Audience
Broadly-speaking, your audience will be comprised of multiple individuals; however, they will have several key features in common, and these are those features that you want to hone in on. So, how do you find that person?
Look at your social media post history, especially at the posts that really capture your brand identity. Look at who likes your content. If you are being consistent, and if you have reached them, there will be at least one person who likes everything you post. That person is your ideal target audience member.
Once you know who your ideal target audience member is, reverse profile them. Look at their page. What are their likes and dislikes? Contact them. Interview them and ask what it is they want most out of your business. You can do this at any stage of your business. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to do every so often as a matter of course, especially if your business evolves (as might be the case in a mom blog whose content changes and matures as her children do). Use the knowledge gleaned from the interview to shape your storytelling.
Understanding Your Relationship to Your Audience
As important as it is to understand that “ideal” audience member, you should also understand your relationship to your audience. Are you a peer? An outsider? A former member? Understanding how you relate to your audience can inspire the voice you use to reach your audience and can help you figure out where your stories will come from.
You are your audience’s peer. When you’re your audience’s peer, you have a leg-up in knowing some of the things your audience is going through. A common mistake, though, is assuming your audience is exactly like you. Making such presumptive mistakes could cost you followers if you get too narrow with your ideas.
You are nothing like your audience. When you’re nothing like your audience (imagine a woman designing handcrafted men’s shaving kits), you might think you’re at a disadvantage, but you’re not because you’re in no way misguided by how you feel about the product. You’re wide open to listen to your ideal audience and to write stories that speak to their sense of self. The key here is to let your imagination run wild as you put yourself in your audience’s shoes.
You used to be your audience. When you used to be your audience, you have an advantage because you’ve been there, but at the same time, you want to avoid being preachy. Instead, focus on the emotions you felt when you were there as well as what your audience tells you they’re going through. You’ll go from sanctimonious mother-in-law telling her daughter-in-law how to potty-train her toddler to sympathetic appreciator of the important life event your audience is encountering whether it’s learning to put on make-up, learning to waltz, or…yes, potty-training a recalcitrant toddler.
The key behind all of this is not assuming you know your audience. The difference is in the minutia. When you assume, your audience feels generic and forgettable—not what you want. When they feel they’re not memorable, guess what? Neither are you. You’re just one more e-mail to click “mark as read”. Instead, show that you know them by actually knowing them. When you do, you can write stories that make them feel a meaningful connection, which means better stories and much better business.
Let your audience be your guide. If you aren’t sure how to reach your audience, contact us, The Storyteller Agency, by clicking this link. We can help you profile them and to tell the kinds of stories that will ring bells of recognition (and that will lead to conversions) every time.