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Why imagination matters when identifying your target audience

2017-09-18

By: Dario Supan

If you're wondering why that perfectly crafted message of yours isn't getting the engagement you want, you're not alone. It's every brand marketer's nightmare.

So, what's wrong? You've done a meticulous audience analysis, and your content offers great value to them, but day in and out, the results still stagnate.

Related: 5 myths that devalue your content marketing strategy

No matter what you do, you just can't get that significant increase you seek. In time, ideas fade away, and it leaves you without anything new to say. It's a mess that's hard to solve.

Can you influence it? Of course, you can. In more ways than one, actually.

The thing is, you're probably being too broad—your promotional efforts shouldn't be talking to the masses. It's time for that warm-hearted, human approach. Prepare yourself to take a deep dive into a pool of imagination and creativity that you won't want to leave even after your fingertips wrinkle.

What lies beyond (your usual audience analysis)

You've done your homework. You've researched, and you're focusing on your target audience's demographics: age, gender, preferences, etc.

However, in today's digital environment, that alone often isn't enough.

Don't throw your hard work out the window just yet. Take your analysis, gather all the data you have, and create the one persona you're going to be talking to.

Sure, it's a bit hard to comprehend giving up on so many people just to speak to one. But, keep this idea in your mind for a while. If you talk to too many people all at once, you:

  • simply can't be genuine enough.

  • don't give anyone the feeling of being special and important.

  • will never fully trigger the emotions you want.

And the list goes on... People like to feel appreciated, and they love feeling like you're talking directly to them and trying to solve one of their problems. It really should be about them, so you ought to be implementing this simple yet powerful philosophy. The importance of talking to your target audience the right way is paramount. The personalized approach is now the way to go.

So, take all that research and create the ideal persona you want to engage. Get yourself a doll and give it a name—Sarah, for example. And get creative. Sarah is going to be the totem of your success, so you might as well be as specific as you possibly can.

Learn to love your persona

Don't worry—we're not talking about that romance-novel "obsess yourself with the idea of a person and think about them all the time" sort of deal. But once you've defined that ideal representative of your audience, take sincere interest in the person. Really get in there and spend time with Sarah.

There are several ways you can shape Sarah into the ideal representative of your target audience:

Hear what Sarah has to say

If you've published content or done any promotional branding efforts before, you should pay attention to how your actions were received. Customer feedback is one the best ways to pick up relevant insights about your brand and a good indicator of where you should head next.

You will have to sift through a lot of criticism to discover helpful feedback, but that is the price to pay in order to improve your brand message and the services or products you offer.

Spend a day with Sarah

Okay, don't spook everyone around you by going sight-seeing with a ghost. Do it subtly. As you perform your regular mundane tasks—preparing coffee, taking a walk, whatever you do to unwind—simply give some thought as to what Sarah might be thinking about.

What are some questions that could come to her mind? What does her typical day look like? What problems is she facing, and can you do something about them? Suddenly, ideas will start popping up, and that's where the really unique stuff comes to life.

Make Sarah present

As you're finally taking a seat, ready to create your next piece—whether it's an article, a banner, a press release or anything else—you'll want to consider your audience. Here's where many of us unintentionally neglect them. As we're jotting down ideas into a draft that will warm their hearts, we tend to stray away, and somewhere along the line, we lose sight of what's important. We concentrate on what we want to tell them instead on what they want to hear.

Get out of your own head. This is when you talk to them. It's time to place Sarah in front of you and present her with the information she wants to hear. This way, you'll become more specific and concise about the message you're sending out.

Where does it all take you?

Let's get the obvious out of the way. A better, more targeted approach should help you gain followers, waiting for more like it's the next episode of Game of Thrones. (Well... maybe not quite that eagerly, but you get the point.)

Adding imagination to your work returns you to a playful state that will make you love what you do again. Plus, there will be fewer roadblocks as new ideas keep flooding in, and more importantly, you'll create a genuine aura for your brand that your customers will appreciate.

Ready to imagine your audience? Use this handy Brand Style Guide template to flesh out your personas.

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Brand style guide

Establishing brand guidelines is critical to building and maintaining your brand identity. Follow this template to ensure your brand guidelines are comprehensive and distributed throughout your organization.

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Dario Supan

Dario Supan is an outreach specialist at Point Visible. Besides taking care of blogger outreach projects and creating helpful blog posts, his interests lie in graphic & web design. He occasionally throws in an on-page SEO project, just for good measure.

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