How to find new audience segments to target
You don’t have to look long and far for your next profitable audience: it might be hiding in your data in plain sight.
You’ve gotten your business up and running.
You’ve amassed a core audience of extremely satisfied—and engaged—customers.
You feel like you’re just about ready to expand into new territory.
The question is, though:
How, exactly, should you go about finding new audience segments to target?
In this article, we’ll discuss how to find these new audiences—and determine whether they’re worth pursuing any further.
Factors to consider when searching for a new target customer segment
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it's important to point out that “new” doesn’t have to mean “brand new”.
That is, you don’t necessarily need to start from scratch and start looking for potential customers that are completely different from your current, core audience segment. Rather, you can use what you know about your current audience as a starting point—and then begin looking for audiences that are “adjacent” or “tangential” to your core base.
Basically, the idea here is to tweak your existing customer personas to the point that you’ve created a brand new customer “type” to target. While there will likely be some overlap between this new segment and your core audience, the former will be distinct enough to be considered a completely different animal.
You might choose to focus on new targets who differ from your current audience in terms of their:
- Demographic and geographic information
- Daily, weekly, and even yearly routines
- Likes and dislikes
- Short- and long-term goals
- Wants and needs
- Purchasing habits and behaviors
- Current solution being used (and how they use it)
(Hubspot’s Make My Persona tool can help guide you through the process of tweaking your current persona.)
Not all of these aspects need to be completely distinct from your current audience to make an overall difference.
In fact, you might only need to change one thing about your current audience to uncover a brand new customer segment. For example, If you sell extreme sports equipment, you might find that skiers from Vermont are quite similar to surfers from California—with the key difference merely being their geographic location (and, thus, their go-to recreational hobbies).
Now, this isn’t to say that tweaking your current persona will always result in the creation of a viable new audience. First of all, you need to ensure that the products or services you provide will actually be valuable to this new audience. Secondly, you need to ensure that this new audience actually exists in the real world—not just in your brainstorming sessions.
Which leads us to the next phase of the process:
Conducting current and target market analysis
As we’ve established, you’ll now be looking for a new audience that either overlaps, or is adjacent to, your current core customer base.
The best way to do so is to simply go to the source: your current audience.
The first step here is to start lurking where your customers are known to “hang out” online. Check out various social media feeds and forums, and see what topics are currently trending (both that are and are not related to your brand). Take note of other consumer “types” that are joining the conversation—and pay close attention to what they have to say. Here’s where you’ll start to get a better idea of how your brand aligns with their needs.
You also want to consider engaging directly with both your current and potential audiences. Read and reply to their posts and questions; send out satisfaction surveys to your most valuable customers; solicit interviews from your satisfied and dissatisfied customers alike.
Learn as much as you can about your current audience, so that you have a better idea of who else might find your products or services valuable.
Then, if possible, start engaging with this new audience on a preliminary basis. Get to know their needs, goals, challenges, and obstacles—again, focusing on where your offering fits into the picture.
The more you learn, the more clear it will be how this new audience differs from your core customer base. In turn, you’ll start to forge a better idea of how you can provide for your new target audience in the near future.
Conducting competitive analysis
Though you may have already begun creating a new persona based on the information gleaned in the previous step, you’ll also want to do some competitive analysis to supplement this data.
Here, the assumption is that your competitors (who may be a bit more established than your brand at the present moment) may already be focusing on multiple audience segments. Generally speaking, there’s a pretty good chance that you should be targeting these additional segments, as well.
To uncover these new audiences, you’ll want to take a similar approach to the one discussed above. That is, start lurking where your competitors—and their customers—are known to digitally hang out. Again, you might go as far as to engage with their audience, specifically focusing on their satisfaction with the experience and value provided by the competing brand in question.
Overall, your goal is to uncover any and all information you didn’t know regarding:
- Who your competitors serve
- How your competitors’ approaches differ from target to target
- What your competitors’ audience members are looking to get from them
Ideally, you’ll be able to identify ways in which your brand can provide more and better value to your competitors’ customers—and use this information to further solidify your new audience segments.
From there, it’ll only be a matter of convincing your new audience to defect from their current solution—and to give your products or services a try.
Using audience analysis technology
So far, we’ve focused on the key ways to manually go about discovering new audiences to target.
But, there are also a number of audience discovery and analysis tools available to help you along the way.
Some tools—such as Google Analytics and Facebook Audience Insights—allow you to dive deep into your current audience’s data. From there, you can manually pull relevant information as needed to be used when seeking out new consumers to target.
Other tools, such as Novarize, offer automated audience discovery functionality. This allows you to almost immediately uncover high-value prospects to target—and quickly begin putting together a strategy for how to approach them.
Be on the lookout for our next article, where we’ll dig a bit deeper into some of the key tools to use as you go about uncovering your next high-value customer segment.