Written by Dan Marzullo

October 30, 2020

Though people often get confused between a target demographic and an existing customer base, it’s not about differentiating. The real crux is determining if they are aligned.

What is a target demographic?

Demographics are “common characteristics and qualities that describe a person or group of people.” Information such as age, gender, income, marital status, race, and other factors help brands discover who their customer base should be. A target audience profile filters a sizable potential customer base into an appropriate target market. 

In other words, demographic targeting helps brands target the right audience. 

Why do you need a target audience?

Studying, targeting, and communicating with a relevant audience is vital to a campaign’s success. Consumers crave a personal connection; to create such a relationship, you have to find the right people with whom you can connect. Research from Epsilon indicates that 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand that provides personalized experiences. You need to understand your target market’s needs, shopping patterns, and demographics to create an effective marketing strategy.

How to ensure your existing customer base matches your target audience

If there is a discrepancy between your target demographic and your existing customer base, it could mean several things:

  • If your products are selling well, you may have erred when creating your initial target demographic and should consider revising it 
  • If your products aren’t selling, it may be because you’re not targeting the right audience based on your target demographic profile
  • You might not have a good understanding of the individual for whom your product is intended and need to re-evaluate your business, products, and target customer 

Your business’s success hinges on satisfying your customers. If you’re unsure who they should be, you’re probably wasting precious money advertising to the wrong audience.

How to identify your target audience

Experts at the Forbes Business Development Council share a few of their top strategies for identifying a target demographic and catering to that audience through well-planned marketing and branding efforts.

Research, research, research

Conducting pre-market audience research can be hugely beneficial for defining your ideal customer. Connecting with people through multiple communication channels to get answers to important questions about your products can help brands narrow down your ideal customer.

Listen to your consumers

What better way to acquire helpful information that may increase sales than to ask those who are already buying? Speaking with customers helps personalize your customers’ experience with your brand and makes them feel special (while boosting loyalty). 

How do understanding demographics help you connect with your customers?

It doesn’t matter if you have a fantastic social media marketing strategy if the audience you’re trying to reach doesn’t use the platforms included in your plan. Staying on top of social media demographics and trends will help you create the most effective marketing tactics that will be seen by the right audience. 

Social media demographics can help you figure out which platforms to focus your attention on. Take a look at the leading social media websites in the U.S. as of May 2020, based on share of visits:  

social audiences
Source: Statista

Since we know that Facebook is the most popular social media platform used by consumers, we can then utilize demographics such as age and gender to understand the distribution of these Facebook users. 

facebook demographics
Source: Statista

Facebook is essentially a playground for advertisers to reach any target market. But remember, if you don’t know who your target market is or whether you’re targeting the right audience, you won’t benefit. 

Understanding your target audience and their characteristics will enable you to deliver your content to the right people, boosting sales. Helpful demographic information to build a buyer persona may include age, gender, social media platform preferences, devices, usage patterns, and more. We cannot stress enough that in order for you to communicate with the right customers, you must have an idea of what defines them. 

Why is it important to define your audience?

Once you’ve established the right audience, the next step is to cater to them, which will help improve conversions. Defining your audience and the channels on which they may see your ads will put your products in the right hands. Spending substantial sums on thoughtless marketing and advertising in the hopes that the right people will buy isn’t a particularly fruitful strategy.

Here are some questions to consider when defining your audience:

  • Who is most likely to use your product? Consider demographics like annual income, age, gender, geographic location, and marriage status
  • What makes your product unique? How do you stand out amongst many?
  • What solutions does your product offer, and who will benefit from these solutions? This information will help you work out who will find the most value in your product
  • What are your customers’ pain points? Does your product offer solutions for these pain points?
  • Who are my competitors’ customers? Use online analytics to work out who buys their products and the demographics of these individuals

How to ensure your target audience is on point now, and in the future

In case you were wondering, the work doesn’t stop once you are reasonably certain you’ve figured out who your target marketing should include. You should continually analyze your existing customer base to understand their behavior and track any changes in that behavior to keep them coming back. It goes without saying that you should also focus on new customers and their behavioral patterns as well. 

If you’re communicating with customers through Messenger Marketing (which you should be!), you can easily track your conversations, helping you refine your target demographic even further.

Here’s an example of demographic information ManyChat offers its customers:

manychat audience analytics

This information provides more background on your active subscribers by sharing traits like language preference and gender. It also reveals shopping behavior, a critical psychographic that will help you convert a potential customer. 

ManyChat offers a guide to understanding this information so you can compare your target audience to your current audience and see if they are aligned.

target audience guide

ManyChat also helps you qualify leads, which empowers you to avoid consumers who have no intention of purchasing. You can use ManyChat’s qualification metrics as a way to assess how well your website visitors match the individuals you’re targeting. Then, by targeting qualified leads (those who will be interested in purchasing, based on the demographics you’ve selected), you can turn shoppers into customers.

A ManyChat Messenger bot, a chatbot integrated directly into the Messenger platform that enables you to send direct and personalized communication to potential customers, does the real work for you. The bots can answer questions, provide contact information, and even set up appointments for your sales team. Yes, please!

chatbot store example

A chatbot can also reach out to potential customers who have been on your site, obtain their contact information, and secure their permission for you to send them coupons. The information the chatbot gathers will educate you about your site visitors and help you fill your subscriber base with your target audience. 

chatbot capture contact info

Differentiate your brand

As of May 2020, 80 million small businesses around the world were using Facebook Pages. Furthermore, Facebook brought in $17.44 billion in ad revenue in the first quarter of 2020. That’s a lot of competition for eyeballs.

Yet, smart business owners know how to organically advertise on Facebook without spending a dollar, despite this competitive market. How? Turn your Facebook comments into Messenger conversations and you’ll be able to have personal conversations with shoppers, especially as your customer base grows. 

If someone interacts with your business Facebook page, you can configure the amazing Messenger bot you built to automatically send them a message. Cool, right? With ManyChat’s Facebook Comments Growth Tool, your customers don’t have to wait for you to get back to them, and you can easily understand what they need. Once they respond, they’ll be automatically added to your subscriber list. 

As you begin to seriously utilize social media and powerful tools like Chat Marketing in tandem, you’ll be more likely to reach the right people, convert them, and increase your sales.

How to break down your audience

Audience segmentation is an effective marketing strategy that identifies and targets subgroups within an existing audience. You’re probably wondering why you need to take this step if you’ve already put in the effort to implement demographic market segmentation through research. 

More granular segmentation allows you to further build trust, inspire loyalty from your customers, qualify more leads, and achieve your ultimate goal, increasing conversions. By grouping people by common characteristics and sending them tailored offerings, you’ll increase your chances of turning them from a window shopper into a real customer. 

Check out this case study example of audience segmentation using a quiz in Messenger.

Regardless of the strategy, you must put in the time and effort to understand:

  • Who you’re targeting (your market segment)
  • Why you’re focusing on them
  • Their pain points 
  • How to keep them coming back
  • How to personalize their experience 

Don’t stop at demographics 

Consider what makes you unique from a product perspective. What solutions can you provide that no one else can? Have you done the research and studied demographics to discover your target audience, and are you up to date with the latest social media trends? Are you continually learning about your target audience and tracking behavior shifts? 

It’s certainly a lot to think about and sustain, but a necessity for your all marketing efforts to be successful.

Ready to start chatting with your target audience?