Regardless of what kind of marketing you do, the success of any marketing plan often depends on clarifying your audience. What happens, though, if the audience you think you’re marketing to doesn’t exist?
In a recent article, Dana Sitar explains this situation. “Someone has probably told you at some point in your writing journey to think about your ‘target audience,'” she states. “So you went through the exercise: stated their gender, age, location, occupation, income bracket and relationship to your subject.”
Certainly, these demographic details are important. If the content you’re writing is most suited for people within a certain group, knowing the make-up of that group is relevant. However, whether you’re an author writing for a specific readership or a business owner targeting a unique customer base, the most thought out buyer personas mean nothing if real people don’t actually make those personas come to life.
The solution, Sitar explains, is to name actual, real people who fit the personas you create. Once you’ve done that, you can consider what would draw these people to your content. On the other hand, if you aren’t able to identify real people, Sitar notes, “you have to face the possibility that your hypothetical target audience doesn’t exist.”
Naming actual people also prompts you to think deeply about your audience. “[W]hen you force yourself to imagine real people reading your work and ask specific questions about how they’ll react, you can’t just zhuzh up your answers to align with what you’re committed to writing,” Sitar states. She even encourages writers to test out the theories about their audience on the actual people they name to see if their perceptions align with reality.
All in all, developing buyer personas is an effective way to visualize an audience’s unique attributes and characteristics. If you find that your content isn’t getting quite the attention you’d like, though, consider replacing imaginary personas with real people. Doing so may be the key to revealing the audience you really should be marketing to.