You have something important to say – you just need to find the right people to say it to. Trying to engage your target audience can seem intimidating. But the good news is that there are simple things you can start doing right now.
The Empty Bar
George, a burgeoning comedian, takes the stage, the spotlight framing him from behind. He takes a breath, his stomach full of butterflies. But once he cracks his first joke, his nerves fade and he finds his groove. He even makes the grizzled bartender laugh.
But that’s the only laugh of the night — because there’s no one else there to hear the show.
While it’s good to have interests we pursue just for ourselves, some things aren’t the same without an audience. Finding an audience can be hard. Finding and connecting with an ideal audience can be even harder.
Why does finding your ideal audience matter?
Having an uninterested or ill-matched audience is almost as bad as having no audience at all. Imagine our comedian rolling out a night’s worth of cat-themed jokes to a crowd of dog lovers.
When you put in the time to find and connect with your ideal audience, your hard work will pay off. The content, products, and vision you craft resonate with them. And they respond in kind: they share your vision, enjoy your content, and support your business.
So what makes an audience ideal?
Many factors go into determining your target audience — like age, socioeconomic status, and interests. These factors determine who you’re looking for. Chances are you’ve already given this some thought.
What you need your ideal audience to do varies based on your business niche. Your ideal audience might be people who:
- Share the same values as your company
- Work toward the same goals as you
- Have a need your product satisfies
- Are interested in the niche your company serves
- Enjoy the kind of content you create
All businesses, artists, and causes need someone to engage with. But unless you’re giving away cookies at a garden party, your audience won’t spontaneously appear.
How can you find and connect with your target audience?
There’s a balance to this equation. You create the right environment for ideal consumers to join you, and momentum builds over time. As you work to engage your audience, set the stage and let time work for you.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Get involved in their communities.
This may be the most important aspect of audience engagement. Luckily, the internet age makes this much easier. Search for Facebook groups, online communities, or even YouTube channels that serve your ideal audience.
Some key takeaways you gain from this are:
- Learning their language,
- Understanding more about their needs,
- Getting a picture of their everyday lives,
- Seeing their likes, dislikes, and priorities.
Once you figure out what community means to your target audience, you can begin to create a community of your own.
Listen to what they say.
In their communities and in interactions with your company, your audience tells you a lot. When you listen with intent, your understanding deepens and expands.
Make sure your communication channels are open and strive for authenticity in how you respond. We all want to know someone hears us. When your ideal audience feels that you really listen to them, they’ll be more inclined to do the same.
My high school Spanish teacher was unpredictable, to say the least. One day you’d get an answer to your question, the next you’d get an earful. It made the class environment tense and inconsistent — and her students couldn’t form a positive connection with her.
Consistency is key to developing a real community. Your message should be the same on each platform you use. Your interactions with every customer need to reflect your values. And do everything you can to deliver on what you promise.
This isn’t to say that fresh ideas, unexpected jokes, or needed changes are off-limits. But your values, persona, and message need to be consistent. Then consumers feel comfortable trusting you.
Let your personality shine.
People have personalities, and so do brands. Think of your closest friend — try describing them in three words. Pretty easy, right? Ideally, describing your brand’s personality should be that intuitive.
Is your brand fun, fresh, and quirky? Or are you going for a sophisticated, clean, modern feel? Once you let your brand’s personality shine, your target audience will be drawn to you more naturally.
It’s okay if you find your direction shifting over time. That’s normal! Don’t forget to pause periodically and reassess.
Do you provide shoes? Services? Spicy noodles? Whatever your offering is, your audience wants to know they’re getting real value. Then they’ll feel satisfied giving you some of their time, resources, and trust.
It’s easy to get lost in the grind and create things to fill space. But there’s already a storm of content blasting consumers at every turn. The last thing they want is more clickbait or white noise.
Focus on making your content truly valuable to your audience. Consistently delivering high-quality, value-based content builds loyalty. It also makes it more likely that consumers will share your content — and word-of-mouth marketing is priceless!
Make it easy for them to connect with you.
My local recreation center’s phone menu stretches on forever. And I can never remember the extensions, so I have to listen to the whole thing every time I have a question. Sometimes, I decide to avoid the hassle and not call at all.
Consider what obstacles make it difficult for your target audience to connect with you. Then brainstorm ways to overcome those obstacles. Let’s go through a few examples:
- Shelly is really, really, really busy. Running two carpools, working full-time, walking two Great Danes busy.
- Send content in bite-sized chunks that Shelly can look at when she has a spare second.
- Sam is cautious and thoughtful about what they read and only puts stock in information with empirical evidence.
- Add reputable sources and data to posts so Sam knows you’ve done your research.
- Allison wants to give feedback but never knows where to post it.
- Place feedback tools in easy-to-find areas in emails, blogs, and on social media pages.
When you remove friction from the process, you’ll find more of your target audience connecting with you.
A Full House
George the comedian tried some of these tips. His social media page? Updated. A preview of his routine? Shared. His grandma’s knitting circle? Invited and RSVP’d.
This time, he’s performing in front of a full house. Laughter and chatter fill the room as delivers perfectly-timed punchlines. He’s on cloud nine. Best of all, he’s getting feedback in real-time, building relationships, and honing his craft. George has found his target audience.
Give it Time
Like any important venture, building and engaging your target audience takes time. But don’t lose hope—there is an ideal audience out there for you. Try new things, evaluate your progress, and build on what you have.
Once you create the right conditions, the right people will start coming your way. As a famous baseball movie taught me, “If you build it, they will come.”
Are you ready to revamp your copy and content? Dying to form real connections with your target audience but not sure where to start? Book a free discovery call or send me an email at email@example.com so we can chat!