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Your Target Audience: The Key to Effective Public Relations

People need to see themselves in your content and stories. How will their needs be met by your business? How can they live out their values by engaging with your brand?

Tailor your messages to your customers’ unique experiences, goals, and needs. So knowing your target customer is your first step in planning successful marketing of any kind.

Make the most of your PR campaigns by understanding who you serve and how you can help them.

Caption: Two female-presenting people on a couch looking at a laptop screen.

This post will cover how to define your ideal customer and create a customer avatar. We’ll also share why ethical brands are in a unique position to build genuine connections with their target audience.

How to identify your target audience

Without a clearly defined audience, your message could fall flat. Your hard work may go to waste, as the content you’re sharing isn’t designed for the customers who are looking for you. Follow these simple steps to figure out who you need to talk to via the press (or other platforms like your blogs and socials).

1. Who is your ideal customer?

Where do they live? What do they enjoy doing?

Not sure? Think about an existing client or someone who's expressed interest in your service or products.

Describe their lifestyle. Are they interested in responsible and sustainable travel? Do they volunteer on the weekends for litter cleanups in their neighbourhood?

From there, determine their age, gender identity, and any other characteristics such as where they spend their time online.

2. What are their goals and needs?

What does your product/service help your customer achieve? Based on the problem you solve, make an educated guess on the goals or needs you help them meet.

For example, if you provide diversity and inclusion training, your customer’s goal is likely to improve their workplace and to be more inclusive.

So you need to make sure that you communicate how you can help them achieve greater inclusivity.

Caption: Five people at a table receiving a training.

3. What frustrates, inspires, or motivates them?

Let’s say you run an ethical design agency. Your business provides logo design for sustainable products, and you’re starting a PR campaign to get the word out there.

Your PR needs to plug into how your ideal customer is mostly frustrated by their lack of time and inability to find a trustworthy designer who gets sustainability. This is where design and sustainability awards can be valuable (applying for awards is a strand of PR); a shortlist or a win demonstrates that you’re genuine and anti-greenwashing. You’re exactly what your ideal customer needs!

You can also survey your audience. Share polls and open-ended questions on your Instagram stories or LinkedIn. Send a short survey via email. Any information is helpful in your back pocket as you begin to create your customer profile for all of your marketing and PR.

Creating a customer avatar

For many small business owners, the ideal customer emerges over time, in an organic way. You may not have a customer avatar yet – and that is okay.

However, if this is the case, now is the time to pause and slow down to get ahead. Transfer your knowledge into a visual form to consolidate your thoughts. You may realise that your ideal customer has changed - or needs to change - depending on how your business or the market has evolved.

Once you create an updated avatar, it can be used in many ways:

  • A focus for all of your planning

  • Inspiration during tough times

  • A tool to return to if you detect customer needs are shifting

Reaching value-focused consumers

Consumers are incredibly savvy about their purchasing decisions. They’re becoming more discerning and recognise unethical tactics like greenwashing and rainbow-washing a mile off.

They don’t entirely trust advertisements either and only 4% of people believe marketers practice integrity.

Ethical brands are uniquely positioned to connect with valued-focused audiences. Be open about your background and values through storytelling.

Caption: A person sitting on a blanket outdoors, holding boxed water.

People want to know why you started this business and whether or not your motivations are authentic. Use storytelling as an opportunity to build lasting, genuine connections. To start, ask yourself:

  • Why did you start the business originally?

  • Why is this business important to you?

  • Did you create a solution to a problem that you were experiencing? (If so, it’s likely your ideal customer is similar to you!)

With 71% of consumers choosing brands that align with their own values, ethical brands are well-positioned to share inspiring content. Create a list of stories and examples you can share with your defined audience to increase your collective impact today.

Put it into practice. Who is your target audience? What frustrations and fears do they have? Start here.

For more advice on defining your target audience, talk to Elma.

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