Defining your audience may from some companies be a relatively easy process however for startups or businesses that have not been operating for a long time it can be incredibly difficult.
In fact, in some cases, it can be one of the most important things that a startup or small business decides not to do. I have seen countless companies spend years building products and running general marketing activity without having a clear sense of who their ideal customer is. On the other hand for some small businesses, defining your audience might seem very simple. If you are a bricks and mortar business that is located in a specific part of the UK you might feel your potential audience is in part clearly defined by the people that you have in your close geographic area. However, this is a simplistic definition of your audience for most businesses. Unless you are selling an everyday commodity like vegetables or soft drinks that most people have the money to purchase at any point in time, income, age, interests, skills and a hundred other data points are going to have an impact on how much someone wants your product or service and as a result on how big your audience is.
In order to make things simpler try to split audiences into two groups, high intent and low intent.
High intent audiences are defined as people who have at that point in time, an immediate desire to purchase your product or service. Low intent audiences are usually defined as being made up of people who would consider your product or service, however, have no immediate desire to purchase your product or service, either because of a lack of knowledge of your company existing or a lack of understanding of your product or service, or because they don’t think it’s the right thing for them at this particular point in time.
A good example of this is the electric bike industry. When we first started working with Fully Charged. We focused on high intent audiences. This was defined as people who were actively looking out particular electric bikes to purchase at that particular point in time. So for example, people on Google in the local area. You were typing in specific models of electric bike. This usually indicated that that person was interested in finding out more information about that particular bike. It could be just because they are interested doing research, but more often than not, if they’re typing in keywords that then include phrases such as buy or cost or price. These people are usually considering making a purchase of that specific like these. This high intent widget is great, making specific sales and making getting you from a position of not making any sales through to a position of starting to starting to generate orders. However, the audience, always been limited by the size of the market. And for new products or services. Often, The amount of people looking for a specific product, the specific products or services at any point in time can be relatively small.
However going back to the example of Fully Charged and electric bikes. The low intent audience we defined as commuters in London who currently used other means of transport primarily bus or train or car, who were in higher income brackets. So therefore had the disposable income to invest in an electric bike. This was a significantly larger audience. However, because there is no immediate intent to purchase the audience self is much harder to convince to, to purchase and to engage.
We had to come up with significantly more complex and intricate methods of “warming up the audience”, in order to be able to gain financial value from it. As you can probably see from this example, there are significantly larger financial gains to be made from focusing on lower intent audiences but there are significantly higher risks as well. That is why, further to what I mentioned in the section on defining goals, we focus primarily on high intent audiences to begin with. Before then moving on to lower intent audiences.