IF YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE, YOU CANNOT SELL
my target audience? If you want to know the person you’re selling to, you need to figure that out. But how? And what even is a target audience? In this article, you’re going to find out.
Before I shifted my focus to writing for businesses, I started out as a self-help book and fiction novel writer. We all have our humble beginnings, and those are mine.
So, I still go to a writing group every few weeks where I talk shop with a bunch of talented and unique writers. Only now, they ask me more about marketing than they do about plot lines or grammar. And I’m fine with that.
But yesterday, I had to tell my dear writing friends something that I’m pretty sure they didn’t want hear: that it’s not a good idea to try to market their books with the attitude “I want everyone to be my target audience.”
The truth is, we would all love to create a product or service and have everyone line up for our expert help, but that’s just not the way marketing works—at least most of the time.
There are those perennial bestselling novels. And hey—almost everyone I know has a Scrub Daddy. But those things are the exceptions. It isn’t normal to have “everyone” as your target audience. And if that is the audience you choose, you’re going to have a hard time communicating the benefits of your service or product. Why? Well, before we answer that question, it’s important to ask a different one:
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DO YOU KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?
In the world of business (and business writing), a target audience is made up of the people who need your product or service. And the only way to know the person you’re selling to is to get super specific, so you can explore their unique pain. My mentor, Christa Nichols, always says “Whomever mirrors the pain best wins.” What does she mean by that?
If you can communicate with the person who needs your help in a way that convinces them you understand the pain they have related to the problem your solution solves, you will win. You’ll get the sale. You’ll be able to sell to them.
If you can’t talk to them about the pain they feel related to a specific problem your product or service solves, you won’t make the sale. That’s the simple truth. But maybe it doesn’t seem so simple to you, and if that’s the case, you aren’t alone.
If you don’t know who needs your solution, you can’t sell to them. And if you think everyone needs your solution, the things you write, the messages you tell, will be so watered down, that the people who really need you won’t care about your solution.
This is why you need to be specific about who your intended audience is. If you don’t know who they are, why they need your solution, or the pain they experience, you can’t send them an email or write a sales page they will connect with.
When people ask you about your intended audience and you don’t know, they’ll often recommend some random avatar worksheet. But those don’t usually work because if you aren’t a copywriting or business-messaging expert, you probably won’t even know how to fill one out.
When I meet with clients for the first time they usually ask—with dread in their voices—if I’m going to make them fill out yet another avatar worksheet.
I smile and reassuringly tell them “No, I promise never to make you do that.” Instead, I ask them questions and fill out answers with details that I am trained to know will be important.
And no, it doesn’t matter so much how old your avatar is unless you understand that this number—their age—is only used to help you understand your target audience’s communication style preferences and spending habits. Speaking of age, let’s talk about this more since an example of your target audience will probably be super helpful.
If you think about the behaviors and preferences of people who are two completely different ages, do you think they’ll be the same? You’re right, the answer is “no, of course not.” Put that answer together with the question “Can my target audience be everyone?” and you’ll have a clear answer.
It’s important to know that 20-somethings don’t communicate the same way 50-somethings do. And they also don’t have the exact same values.
If I were writing for a company that sells mindset services, do you think I’m going to target both audiences the same way? Absolutely not. The 50-somethings aren’t going to respond to the words “self-care” the way 20-somethings will. Let me show you how I would write for each.
20-Somethings Copy Sample
Your routine affects everything in life. Make sure you’re fully there, wherever you are, with our anywhere self-care.
50-Somethings Copy Sample
Do you finally want freedom from generational trauma? Our proven mindset methods will help you achieve the peace you’ve always wanted as you enter your next chapter.
As you can see from this example, there might be more than one market for a product or services. But you still have to adjust your copy and messaging to connect with each target audience’s unique pain points and communication styles.
This is the answer to the question we look at earlier, “Why can’t I communicate well if I choose ‘everyone’ as my target audience?”
Because if you can’t mirror their unique pain in a way that helps them become problem-aware, they will never become solution-aware. That means they won’t understand why they need you or the product or service you offer.
So, next time you’re wondering why you need to know who your target audience is, remember that if you don’t know who they are, you wouldn’t be able to help them understand why they need you, and that’s a problem.
What’s the simple solution? Hire an expert copywriter.