Moving from Target Audience to Customer


Every business needs to understand its target customer. The best businesses invest time and energy into developing a deep, granular understanding of that target.

They move beyond “middle aged women” to “married women in their 50’s with no children living at home who live along the East Coast and have a strong interest in gardening, health, and leisure travel.” Etc. They get as detailed as possible.

Define the Groups Within Your Target Audience

With an understanding of the target customer in hand, it is time to start thinking about the many stages that these people can be at in their relationship with you:

  • Unaware
  • Newly aware
  • New customer
  • Seasonal customer
  • Active/engaged customer
  • Best customer
  • Inactive customer

There may be more or fewer categories that are relevant to the relationship you want to build with your target audience. The important thing is to define the various relationship stages that can exist. Then, you can develop targeted communication to engage with people at each stage.

Target Communication Based on the Current Relationship

For each stage, you will want to consider:

  • Are there any characteristics common to people at this stage?
  • What does this person want to know?
  • What motivates this person to move to a more active relationship with me?
  • What information or resources will help this person move to the next stage of a relationship with me?
  • Where does this person get information about me? (Website, social media, email, events, print material, networking, etc.)

After all this research, you are now well positioned to develop messaging for your target audience at every stage. You will know what key points to target, and where and how to share the information.

Give Your Brand a Personality

People seek relationships with one another, and yes, with brands. Your brand’s personality is an important part of what will make people engage or ignore you. Spend time to define a personality for your brand that will resonate with your target audience and you will position yourself for social media engagement.

The most successful brands use a variety of ways to connect with their audience, just as there are many dimensions to person-to-person relationships. These brands also portray human personality traits within their communications.

Brand Personality Is Good for Business

Whether they realize it or not, a person’s connection to your brand is driven by how they feel about your brand.

Studies show that the attractiveness of a brand’s personality significantly affects word-of-mouth advocacy. The more attractive your brand personality is, the more customers will recommend your products/services to their friends, families, and associates.

There are other reasons why brand personality is good for business:

  • Builds sustained relationships with your audiences by forming an emotional connection to your brand
  • Communicates the positive traits of your brand in a relatable way
  • Differentiates your brand from your competitors

Bring Your Brand Personality to Your Social Presence

Now that you have taken time to define your brand personality, you need to let it shine in all your social media activities. Social media channels are designed to cultivate relationships, so it is the perfect venue to help people to get to know you.

Share Your Point of View

Tell people what you think and how you approach problems and opportunities. Let them know where you stand. Opinions and outlook are a central part of personality, so you need to let them shine. People won’t be able to decide if they like you, if they don’t know where you stand.

Tell Stories

Stories use simple words to present ideas, feelings, and concepts. Storytelling can capture your audience’s attention and strike an emotional chord, which is unparalleled when it comes to building strong customer relationships.

Any Topic that Showcases Your Personality Is Relevant

People have a wide range of interests. Embrace that. Don’t stay overly focused on core brand messaging. Be willing to comment on whatever you know is on the minds of the people you want to connect with.

Be funny for no other reason than to engage. Share your reaction to news events or historical milestones. All personalities are multi-faceted. Make sure your brand personality is not one-note.

How to Focus Your Marketing on Relationship Building

The most effective marketing focuses on building relationships with the target customer. The opposite of “one and done”, relationship marketing connects your brand with people for ongoing interaction.

How do you build your brand relationships? There’s a lot more that goes into building connections than simply clicking like on social posts or passing our business cards at networking events.

Here are tips that will help you strategically develop relationships and build your brand community.

Identify the Right Relationships 

What kinds of people would you benefit from knowing and would benefit from knowing you? Know the types of relationships you want to build.

There may be more than one community that will support your brand – one that helps you find new business, one that nurtures existing customers, one that provides resources for growth. Know the types of people who will help you achieve your business goals over time.

Then, understand the characteristics of the people that fit these communities or networks that you want to build. Be as specific as possible, so you can be focused on who you need to engage with to build the right communities.

Discover the Best Ways to Connect

What are the most effective ways for you to connect? Social media is a common option, but know which channels are best to reach the people you want. Each channel has its own demographic and intent, so you need to find the ones that are most appropriate for you.

There are many sources of user data. One of my go-to’s is Pew Internet. The have data tracking use and social media trends that is marketing gold for any brand.

There are likely other places where you can make the right connections. In-person events that are for networking, professional development or industry development can all provide great venues. Strategically attending or presenting webinars can be another.

Discover where the people you want to reach gather. Those venues should go to the top of your relationship-building list.

Prepare for a Relationship

Healthy relationships are two-way, and your brand relationships need to be the same. Think as much about what you want to say as what your community may need or want. Plan for both give and get with your community.

As you meet individuals you want to get to know better, have a sense of what each of you brings to the table. Everyone has different needs, desires and abilities. Knowing what these are for you and your connections and acting on those insights builds productive reciprocal relationships.

Be generous with your time, energy and willingness to help. Check in periodically. Celebrate their successes. Ask them about things you know are important to them. Express gratitude when they do you a favor, and follow through if you offer to do one for them.

Whatever you do, don’t be the person who only reaches out when they need something.