What is a Target Audience and Learning to Define Your Ideal Customer

In this week's edition of Kate's Tech Talks we discussed the forehead slapping mistake that I see DIYers make time and time again: creating a website for themselves and not for the target audience.As I edited that talk I found myself wondering how many of my followers would be watching the video and wondering: just what is a target audience anyway? We're going to talk about that today. First though, lets talk about this critical misstep that DIYers make. It's a classic mistake and one that happens all. the. time. In fact, most DIYers that stop, take a step back and properly assess their site typically find some version of this happening in their little corner of the interwebs to some degree or another.

In the tech talk I describe three ways to go about fixing your site, but in today's post I'd like to take a step back and share my advice for helping to you discover what a target audience is and how to define your ideal customer.

What is a Target Audience - The Basics At the most basic level, your target audience is the group of people most likely to buy your product or service. For some, a target audience is a massive group of people while for others a product or service is meant for a very particular subset of people. Generally speaking, there is no right or wrong type of target audience. However, there is a right or wrong type for you and your business. Don't be afraid to be super general or super specific is that's what works for your biz.

What is a Target Audience - Lets Dig Deeper One of the big mistakes that I see many small biz owners making is casting too wide of a net because they want to attract everyone.  Let me be clear: everyone is not an acceptable target audience in 99.9999% of cases.

These business owners want to seem as inclusive as possible -- which is great in theory. But, what typically happens is you turn off or don't really "speak to" your true target audience in your effort to welcome everyone. In this regard, I operate on an 80/20 rule. If you think that at least 80% of your visitors are going to be in your target demo then you shouldn't care about the other 20%. Trying to make a site that somehow appeals to that other 20% will almost certainly dilute the experience for the big chunk of people that you're trying to impress.

What is a Target Audience - Your Ideal Customer Finally, as small business owner should have an ideal customer profile. This is the archetype of your perfect customer. This is the person that you write every blog post, every product description and every piece of email copy for. This is the person you are trying to speak directly to because you know that what you offer is perfect for them.

If you write your copy and design your site for your ideal customer, you will most likely not have to worry about accidentally designing for yourself.

I find that when DIYers that try to create a compromise site usually end up just creating something pretty that they like instead. When you lose focus on your top prospect, you lose your ability to keep your design preferences out of the process.