how to find your target audience
In design school, for our projects we were given a design brief about what the client was looking for, their inspiration, colors they liked or didn’t like, and who business wanted to market to. As a designer, we like to look at who the target market is because this is who we design for. We want to appeal to who we are marketing to and there are different ways to design for different people. Yes, other people might find it interesting too, but we want to be able to speak to our target audience through design. This was always an important piece when designing and this should also be an important piece of your business.
Whenever we work for clients, we always ask them who their target audience is. We want to know so that we can appeal to that market. The problem is, majority of new businesses haven’t done this market research yet and do not know who they want to target. So I have a few short steps so that you can help identify your target audience. Once you can identify your target audience, then you are able to know where they are hanging out, how to design for them, and how to speak to them.
step 1: your dream client
The first thing I like to start with is defining who your dream client is. This is the type of person that you “click” with, who value your creative expertise, and who you have a good working relationship with. If you have had past clients that were a dream to work with, try basing these qualities off of them and what made them great to work with. By defining your dream client, you are deciding that these are the type of people you want to work with and you want to market to these people. So answer these question about your ideal client:
+ How old is your dream customer? (Max: 10 year age range)
A customer who is 43 is going to have different problems and struggles compared to someone who is 25.
+ What is their gender?
Men and women also have different problems and you want to consider your design, colors, and fonts when designing for the genders.
+ What is their profession?
Are they another business? Are they working for a corporation and trying to freelance? This question lets you in on their problems and what their struggles might be. Their profession can also give insight on how much income they have, are they a high end client or a client on a strict budget?
+ How did they find you?
How do you want your dream client to find you? Were they scrolling through Instagram and found your profile? Did you stumble on Pinterest to find one of your pins? This lets you know where your target audience is hanging out. How are most people finding your website? Use that platform to your advantage.
+ Why do they want to work with you?
What do you offer that they like? Why would they want to work with you over anyone else?
+ What problem do they have that you can solve?
Solving problems is the whole reason for having a product or service and so what problem are you solving for your dream client? Are you teaching them something? Coaching them? Providing them with a product or service?
+ What do you offer them that they can’t get from anyone else? What are you offering that is making you unique. Is that unique offer attracting your ideal client? Could I get your offer from anyone else in the industry?
These types of demographics give you clues on where they are hanging out, how you should speak to them, how you should design for them, so you can market your product or services to them.
step 2: creating a dream client mood board
Once you have step one completed, we are going to take the dream client avatar idea a little further. I like to create an actual image of what my dream client is like and what they wear, their interests, etc. I’m a visual person so I like to create a mood board so I can actually picture what my dream client is like. I use Pinterest to start gathering images of what my dream client would pin. What do they like? Are they pinning clothes, recipes, interior design, wedding images? What types of clothes do they wear? I’ll pin what I think their apartment would look like or what their dog might look like, or even what kind of car they drive. Once I gather these images I will create a mood board in Illustrator or Photoshop. Here is an example of what one of our target audience mood board could look like:
Creating this mood board will give you a visual on who you are talking to which makes it easier for you to market to. You can understand their income and what their interests are and this makes it easier to talk to and design for this person. You put yourself in their shoes so you can understand their situation better. It is easier to find out what their problems are and how you can solve them.
step 3: apply this info to your Business
Take all the information from step 1 and step 2 and you should be able to answer the following questions about your ideal client when creating your next product or service:
+ What are their biggest struggles?
+ What are their biggest dreams?
+ What are their biggest fears?
+ What are they passionate about?
+ What is one problem that they have? Something that is holding them back in life?
+ What would their life be like if they hired you or bought your products?
Having a business is about solving problems for your audience and now you have an idea of the people you want to market to. You know their struggles and pain points, so now create your products and services to fix these struggles for them.
Your target audience will probably continuously evolve but as you gain an audience you can start seeing data and getting feedback from your audience. Eventually you will be able to ask them directly what kind of content or help they need. This mood board exercise is something that gets you started but as you get more experience you will get better at identifying your audience. Make sure you check your website statistics and Instagram/Pinterest analytics because these will give you insight on who is viewing your website and profiles.