A common mistake when building and thinking of new products is focusing too much on the product itself and not on the final users. Another mistake is considering “the more, the better,” but there’s a saying in Marketing that could be applied to product development as well: “If you try to sell to everyone, then you’ll end up selling to no one.”
What’s a Target Audience?
It’s a pretty simple concept. A target audience profile is a specific group of customers most likely to respond positively to your products and services. We’re 7.6 billion people on earth of different ages, cultures, interests, and that’s precisely why “everyone” is not the correct answer to who your audience is.
It’s nothing new nor only limited to digital products. There are many examples of physical products with targeted audiences in the market. It goes as far as the 1900s, where you could already see how advertisements targeted specific products. Kitchen appliances targeted women because the typical thing – unfortunately – was them doing all the housework, while men focused on making a salary back then.
While thankfully we’re shifting our mindsets, the concept remains valid. Why would you make your product appealing to people who would never benefit from it or show interest in it? Focusing on the right target will increase your conversion, engagement, and your product success. But to do this, you’ll first need to know who your target audience is. And please, be a bit more open-minded and ethical than 1900s marketers.
How to Find Your Target Audience
Let’s start thinking about what instead of who. What does your product offer, and how does it improve your users’ lives?
Facebook is a product used nowadays broadly by people from all countries, ages, and places worldwide. Still, when it started, it solved a particular problem: “Allow college students to connect with their teammates once they left the university.” They knew people lose contact once they finished their degrees, and they built a product solving this specific problem. Furthermore, they realized the tool could target students and anyone who lost track of old friendships or wanted to have more interaction with beloved ones.
But fulfilling students’ specific needs first made the platform viable, successful, and scalable years later. If they tried to approach everyone initially, they’d have faced a much more significant and complex challenge, and probably their success wouldn’t have been as good.
So, what’s important when thinking of your target audience?
Human beings evolve. We don’t often have the same interests through the years nor face the same issues/problems. What might be appealing for us in our 20’s might not be in our 30’s or 40’s.
There are many factors implied in users’ location. People don’t do the same things in Norway as they do in South Africa. The conditions, culture, and methodologies vary from one place to another, and a life-saver product could be useless in another one. To lay it down with a quick example: selling snow tires in Dubai doesn’t seem a great idea, right?
And by language, we don’t only mean if it’s English or German. It will depend on your audience’s location, but different aged people don’t communicate the same way despite speaking the same language. Younger people tend to use more slang and informal approaches, while senior people will probably appreciate a more formal and regular practice.
Spending power and economy
If you’re building a product, you will want to make money and cover the expenses while keeping its growth. How much you’ll charge might affect your users’ reaction to it. Does the solution you provide worth its cost? Are the people using your product healthy enough economically to pay for it?
While everyone behaves and thinks differently, there are patterns across different group audiences. When younger, we often overthink our living costs or economy, but it starts being important as soon as we leave our parents or start our career seeking our path. Even in every age group, there are many different interests and behaviors.
What problems are these people facing? As mentioned before, our interests, culture, experiences evolve, and at every stage of our lives, we meet different challenges.
We know all these concepts are too ambiguous, but it all makes sense when you start nailing down your audience by gathering information about the above topics.
Where to Start?
In simple words, it’ll ease the process and allow you to focus exclusively on things that matter to your users. Similar to what we described with mission statements, but even more granular and specific.
If we translate this to product design & development, the simpler your platform is, the cheapest and most comfortable it will be to produce. Therefore, thinking of how your users are, how they behave, and their goals will help filter out your product’s features and dismiss others that might help but not be essential for product success.
A good option is starting with the smallest group of people you think could benefit from your product. Focusing your efforts on people with similar characteristics will make things easier. Also, what might sound like a small enough audience like “college students in the US” can probably be narrowed down to even smaller audiences, like ”college students who practice sports in Minnesota”, which is a way easier group to target.
From there, it is all about gathering and researching more details of your audience. Meet people from that group, speak with them, reach them. Learn as much as you can about them, and you’ll have more clues on how your product should fulfill their needs and expectations.
Crafting the Right Products
Building applications keeping in mind who your users are is an excellent foundation for a successful journey. Before designing and implementing our apps, we take a step back to analyze the big picture and help our clients transform their ideas into successful products by understanding and identifying their target audience.
A common way for us to tackle these initial steps is through our workshops. Our designers and developers join our clients to brainstorm ideas and prepare the path for the future design and implementation of the application.
It led to mostly positive results and feedback from both the clients and final users who enjoy using our applications, thus benefiting from the solutions we create. While researching and knowing about your users won’t make a successful product per se, it’s a key piece in the process.