? 9 Minute Read
When it comes to spending your advertising dollars, you want to make sure that you’re reaching as many people as possible. But the more strategic method for ensuring a healthy return on investment is to market to a smaller group – the specific group of people who are most likely to become customers or clients.
To accomplish this goal, approach your pay-per-click and social media marketing with demographic targeting. Your audience is looking for you; make yourself visible to them. Here’s a bit of information to get you started.
What is a Target Market?
A target market is your audience in its broadest form. For example, if you are a real estate agent, your audience isn’t ‘everyone.’ Your overall target market is people who are buying and/or selling homes. You’ve narrowed down the field.
To identify your target market, you may consider drafting a customer profile. To do that, you focus on demographic targeting.
What is Demographic Targeting?
Demographic targeting is the art and science of defining your audience in vivid detail so that you can custom tailor your content (articles, blog posts, pay-per-click ads, Facebook ads, email marketing campaigns, etc.) specifically to them. You’ll need to learn to communicate in your audience’s language and on their platforms. This way, you can speak directly to your most likely prospects rather than advertising to the masses.
In older advertising models, business owners could get kind of close to reaching a market, such as running a commercial during a particular program, on a radio station based on the genre of music, or place ads strategically by selecting which publications they go in. But they had no way to access such detailed information about their customers as you can today.
Using Target Marketing with Demographic Targeting
Essentially, your target market is your starting point, and that top layer would then contain demographic targeting, meaning you break that vast audience down by their demographics.
For example, if you’re a real estate agent specializing in luxury golf course homes in a 55+ community, it wouldn’t make sense to spend your marketing money reaching out to college students with no or limited income. Instead, you’d target and tailor your ads and content to people over 50 with an affluent income who enjoy the game of golf and the golf community lifestyle.
Here are the most common general demographics:
- Level of education
- Marital status
- Family size
The Different Types of Demographic Targeting
There’s more than one way to target your audience demographically. In addition to general demographic targeting, there’s also geographic, psychographic, and technographic targeting.
Geographic targeting hones in on your audience’s location. Again, the list starts quite broad and then gets refined as you break it down.
Now, as a real estate agent, instead of marketing to the whole globe (unless you’re an international agent!), you can drill it all the way down to your service area. Imagine how much money you’ll save by preventing your ad from being shown to people on the other side of the world who have no intention of buying or selling real estate in your area.
Psychographic Targeting digs down into the audience’s character profile, such as:
- Activities, interests, and opinions
- Multimedia interests such as t.v. shows and music
- Personal values
- Social Class
- Benefits sought (what are they looking for and why?)
Technographic Targeting is when you specifically market on the platforms that your audience is using. Be where your audience is. For example, if you know your customers are primarily on mobile devices using Instagram, it doesn’t make sense to design ads for desktop on another network. Design your ads for the devices your audience most frequently uses.
Use these types of demographic targeting together to create compelling ads that speak to your customer profile in your desired area, in their language, and on their preferred platforms.
How to Create a Customer Profile
The common thread here, and perhaps the most challenging aspect of demographic targeting, is understanding who your audience is. You might be asking yourself how you get all of this coveted information about people. But it’s easier than you think.
Before digging into creating a customer profile, understand your product or service, what problem it solves or what benefit it brings, and why your audience would choose your offerings over another.
Keep in mind that you very well may have multiple customer profiles depending on the products or services you offer. You’d create marketing campaigns targeted to each one separately. For example, as a real estate agent, you may have a buyer profile and a seller profile.
Here’s how you can get started creating a customer profile, also known as a buyer persona.
Start with Your Customer Base
Start by making a list of the common traits of your current clients or customers. For example, if you own a hair salon, most of your customers may be women between 40 and 50. That doesn’t mean you won’t have customers who don’t fit that profile; it just means that most clients match those criteria, so that’s where you’d put your main focus.
When you’ve discovered an age bracket for your standard client, research to find out what you can learn about their generation. Women ages 40-50 fall primarily into the Gen X category.
A quick Google search of Gen X traits will tell you that a woman in that target demographic is ambitious, flexible, independent, highly educated, work-driven, and tech-savvy. They’re also known to express their individualism and take an informal approach to most things. Furthermore, Gen Xers respond to mixed media such as magazines, television, desktop, and mobile, whereas those in Gen Z respond primarily to mobile.
With the right resources, such as this one from InsightLab.com, you can find out what apps your target market are using, which social media platforms they’re on, the devices they use, as well as tips about how to target that generation specifically with your digital marketing.
This is where you can begin to gather behavioral patterns, interests, and characteristics about your ideal client. What magazines are they reading? What television shows are they watching? What brands do they use?
By the end of this phase, you’ll know your ideal client’s gender, age, and interests. You’ll have a better understanding of their personalities and driving forces. Your buyer persona is well underway.
Get Feedback from Your Current Client Base
Another great way to get real-time information for your customer profile is to survey existing clients – find out what makes them tick, what’s important to them, and what benefits they’ve received from using your products and services. You can use resources like SurveyMonkey.com to get honest feedback from the people you’re already working with.
Peek in on Your Competition
Size up the competition. Who are your biggest competitors, and who are they targeting? What do their ads look like? On what platforms are they marketing? By understanding what your competitors are doing, you’ll get a clearer idea of how to define your target market’s demographics. One resource for being able to peek over the shoulder of your competition is to explore their keyword strategies with SpyFu.com.
Use Google Analytics for Demographic Information
Google Analytics is an invaluable resource that provides a plethora of free data about the various demographics who visit your website or click on your PPC ad campaigns. Google Analytics, using information gathered from Google users who are logged in to their accounts via Android mobile devices, Chromebook laptops, Gmail, Google Chrome browser, YouTube, and other Google affiliated websites.
The information you can garner via Google Analytics includes your viewers’ age, gender, and interests, such as travel or sports, video games, or people actively searching online to make a specific purchase.
You can also learn how viewers are reaching your website, whether they’re coming through due to organic content marketing, social media links, or direct hits. Then, keep an eye on new visitors, return visitors, the amount of time visitors spend on your website, which pages they’re viewing, bounce rates, and more.
Use Facebook Insights
Like Google Analytics, Facebook does a spectacular job of gathering user information, which it then details in Facebook Insights on your business pages and ads. By tuning into these insights, you can not only determine the age, gender, and other statistics of your visitors, but you’ll also discover which days and what times they are engaging with your content. With this data, you’ll know the optimal times for posting links to your website or running ad campaigns.
Creating Multiple Customer Profiles
You may not have a one-size-fits-all target audience. Your target market may reach more than one age group or intertwine with multiple backgrounds, and that’s okay. But rather than aiming at the broad picture, narrow it down to niches to create multiple customer profiles.
For example, a photographer might be able to photograph an array of events and occasions but could create separate customer profiles for pregnant women, young families, high school seniors, and brides-to-be, marketing to each of them differently.
Demographic Targeting Isn’t Just for Ads
While demographic targeting is the number one way to stretch your marketing budget by laser focusing on your audience, it’s not the only use for demographics and customer profiles.
You can also use this information to reach your website goals faster by understanding what kind of content your audience is looking for. You can then create a content marketing plan to nurture that audience.
Excluding Demographic Categories
You’ve worked hard to narrow down your customer profile and their demographics. But you can also stretch your ad dollars farther and have better results by excluding specific demographics. Excluding demographics is known as negative targeting, which keeps your ads from being displayed in front of irrelevant audiences.
For example, if you’re a high-end real estate agent, you could choose to exclude showing your ad to anyone below a certain income bracket. If you’re a buyer’s agent, you can exclude anyone who already owns a home; or as a seller’s agent, restrict your ad from being shown to non-homeowners.
Track and Measure Results
Another effective way to find out what your customers like and don’t like is to discover which parts of your content they’re engaging with and how you can then modify your techniques to create more of that.
For example, you may notice a trend that your most popular posts are infographics; then, you’d start producing more infographics. On the flip side, if infographics performed lower than posts with videos, you’d create more posts with videos. You have to deliver what the viewers are interested in consuming.
A/B testing is a way to determine which aspects of your marketing are working and how you may be able to get your content to perform better. In other words, find out why your viewers are tuning into it.
For example, say you designed an ad where the “click now” button at the bottom was red. You could then run a copy of that same ad where everything is exactly the same except for the button color, which is now green. Which ad performed better, the red or the green?
The same is true with the images you use to promote your content or ads. First, make sure that your photos are appropriate for your audience. For example, if you’re marketing to Millennials, it wouldn’t make sense to use stock photos of senior citizens enjoying retirement. You can then a/b test your pics to find out which has more pull.
When you know what your audience responds to, you can reach them more effectively.
Advertising or publishing content without understanding demographic targeting is like throwing spaghetti at the wall—expensive spaghetti.
But when you take the time to create a customer profile, study your ideal audience’s demographics, and then design all of your articles, blog posts, landing pages, newsletters, and ads specifically for that audience, you can stretch your content marketing budget farther.
Your audience is looking for you; make sure they can find you with demographic targeting.