Creating a strong brand is important for magazine publishers, as we shared in our article focused on tips to create a strong brand.
But none of your hard work to will matter if your message doesn’t align with your target audience’s priorities.
Identifying your target audience is one of the most important things you can do to make your marketing more effective and efficient. Focusing in on a targeted set of people allows you to focus money and energy on those who are most likely to buy, read or advertise in your publication.
In this article, we share some easy and inexpensive ways to hone in on identifying your target audience.
Do your research (or confirm your answer)
If you aren’t sure who your audience is, or even if you know and want to confirm your thoughts, there are easy tools you can utilize to get some answers. Better yet, get answers that come straight from the source. Surveys are one of the fastest and easiest ways to collect data. Typeform and Survey Monkey are two easy-to-use sites that make it simple for the user and the customer.
You can create a short survey that will give you a snapshot of your audience. For example, you could create questions that give you details on your reader demographics in terms of age and gender, which digital channels they frequent most, their hobbies, their propensity to read print and if that translates into purchasing subscriptions. Once you’ve created the survey, you can easily post links to it on your website and any of your social media channels.
If you aren’t sure how to build a survey, or how to formulate your questions, there are a lot of great resources online that can help you conduct market research.
Develop audience personas
There are many different ways to approach persona development. In general, it is a way to put your audience into human form instead of relying on flat demographics. After all, you’re speaking to humans and not numbers, and you want your audience to relate to what you have to say. For publishers, you might have two main audience: readers and advertisers. To develop personas, just think of a description of the person you want to reach and engage with your publication. It also helps to give each persona a name.
For example, if your magazine caters to a high socioeconomic demographic of a small to medium-sized Midwestern city and focuses on lifestyle, you could create a reader persona with the name Tess. And because you are looking for a reader who keeps tabs on events and has money to spend, maybe she is a stay-at-home mom with a household income of $120K+ per year always looking for things to do with her kids or for new ways to treat herself. Write out all of the things she does: from her daily routine to the places she shops and the things she usually buys, even her motivations in life. Any details that help you focus in with the right tone, voice and message will allow you to develop marketing that is much more targeted and relevant for the audience you want.
When it comes to advertisers or potential advertisers, the persona can be that of a company decision maker or of the type of business with whom you’d like to work. In other words, the persona can be either of an employee in the company they represent or just the company.
Think of the types of businesses that would have the most success with your target audience. If your publication focuses on vacation activities in a specific region, what is the ideal type of advertiser in terms of employee personality, ad spend, business size and category? Are there touchpoints for the decision makers for those businesses that you could include in the advertiser persona?
If you aren’t sure where to gather information on your target’s habits and demographics, here are a few resources that might be of help:
- Pew Internet has a wide variety of information about internet use among different demographics. Their fact sheets are particularly helpful.
- Nielson Audio has good information that is specific to radio and breaks down how people consume media. You can read their 2018 Q2 report here.
- A simple Google search about your target market might also get some good results. Blogs written by people in your target audience are a great way to gain first-person insight into their habits and routines and what motivates them. The same holds true for researching specific companies or industries.
Do you know where your audience is?
After establishing personas, it’s time to develop an understanding of where your target audiences are, both online and in terms of their daily routine and media consumption habits. This is something that you can ask in your survey as well.
Does your audience utilize all social media channels, or do they skew heavily toward just Facebook or Instagram? Do they tend to read print, or do they read their news online and read their books on tablets? Getting these answers and delivering the messages your personas want to hear will allow you to more effectively target your audience and spend your marketing dollars wisely.
Get to know your audience
As always, test and learn to see what works with your target audience(s). You can refine your brand message based on your own market research as well as the feedback and engagement levels you see from your audience. If you are consistent with your tone, voice and message – and share them on the channels and mediums where your target audience spends time – you’re on the right track.