Find your target audience and better align your brand to the needs of your clients with these four steps.
As a freelancer, it can be hard to find and get new clients. Not to mention it can be a huge time suck. Every moment you’re looking for clients you’re spending time away from creating new work and making money.
You became a freelancer to make a living doing what you love, not to endlessly scroll through job boards. You need to attract new clients instead of wasting precious billable hours hunting them down.
This means you need to promote yourself in a way that best showcases why your services best solve your client’s problems. But in order to create a strategy to attract your audience, you need to have a detailed view of what your target audience actually looks like.
Step 1: Double Check Your Demographic
As a business owner you should have an idea of who your demographic is with stats like gender, industry, location and interest. Instead of just having an educated guess on your demographic you can double check to make sure your hunches align with your own analytical data using this handy Google Analytics Dashboard from CoSchedules blog.
But don’t stop there! There is so much more to your target audience than your demographic data. Your customers aren’t stats and numbers, they’re real people with wants and needs. You just have to dig deeper to discover exactly what they are.
Step 2: Discover Your Super Niche
Find out what you’re really good at and balance it with what you enjoy the most. Don’t be another jack of all trades freelancer. Believe me, you’ll hate it. So to save yourself some heartache and frustration, really think about that one thing you would be happy to work on every single day.
By figuring out what you want to do exclusively you can be known as a specialist instead of a generalist. http://t.co/ImWinY0dRD
— Dina Rodriguez (@lettershoppe) August 8, 2015
Sticking to a general audience will only hurt you in the long run because a generalist simply can’t provide as powerful of an experience as someone offering a specific skill.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re afraid of missing out on clients by limiting your services. Don’t.
By specializing in just one thing you’ll easily attract a specific audience because your content and products are tailor-made to align with their needs. This will create a more meaningful and lasting experience with your brand, so they’ll keep coming back for more of your awesome, valuable insight.
Have a niche in mind? Great! Now niche it down even farther into a super niche. For example, if you niched down as a WordPress developer, drill down even further as a WordPress developer that exclusively works on websites for apps. See where I’m going with this?
Step 3: Identify Where Your Audience Lives Online
Now that we know who we want to target, we need to figure out where they live online so we can discover their unique pain points. You’ll want to look at social media and forums so you can create a list of resources to find your audience and connect with your community.
Use forums like these to stay on top of industry news, find potential problems of your customers and provide value to your online community.
Social media is huge, but there are tons of ways to drill into more focused groups to discover the needs of your audience. On Twitter you can use advanced search to find specific questions from just about anyone, or create your own Twitter chats on to engage your audience.
If your business is mainly B2B then you definitely need to join some Linkedin groups and Google+ communities and companies to keep tabs on your niche. Join the groups relevant to your community to gather deeper insights into the pain points of your potential customers and what relevant resources they’re sharing.
Once you have your list, look for problems that your audience is expressing. You want to write down what questions they’re asking, their complaints and frustrations. By doing this research you can gather topics to generate content for your blog and sales pages, so by the time a user lands on your site it will feel like you’re already reading their mind.
Step 4: Create A Persona Of Your Ideal Client
This final step is the best way to really get a close up view of who your ideal client is by creating a client persona. This is especially helpful so when you’re creating content for your site and blog you can write as if you were writing to one person instead a faceless crowd.
So what is a persona anyway? Well, Ardath Albee from the Content Marketing Institute defines personas as “a composite sketch of a segment of your target market designed to help brands align with buyers’ needs and priorities to build engagement that results in a profitable relationship.”
Interview your previous clients
When developing personas it’s important to get into the mind of your customer and ask some probing questions. Yes, this requires for you to call back some previous clients and ask for an interview.
You could always try to guess the answers to these questions yourself, but it wouldn’t compare to real feedback. It’s much better to sit down with a handful of your previous clients to find out what your customer values in order to make a deeper connection.
Not sure what to ask? Try these five questions to help dig deeper into solving the problems of your target audience.
What speeded up your need for my services?
What was your process like when looking for my services?
Where did you turn to for advice and information?
Who was ultimately in charge of hiring me?
What would cause your need for my services to lose priority?
A FREE tool for creating your persona
This form will ask you all the questions about your ideal customer that’ll help you build out a persona in your target audience. Then, it’ll generate a buyer persona for you based on your answers, in the form of an editable Word document that you can expand on later. Oh Hubspot, you’re so helpful.
So what do you think?
Were these steps helpful in finding your niche and target audience? Do you have any other suggestions for narrowing down your audience that you think would be helpful for others? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below.