When you’re starting out in business, ‘Who are your audience?’, is one of the fundamental questions that every aspiring entrepreneur has to answer. If you don’t know who your audience is, you don’t know who you’re reaching out to through your sales and marketing. But even more importantly, if you don’t know who your audience are, how do you know that your product or service is actually needed?

Call them customer profiles, avatars or user personas – spending time getting to know them is a really worthwhile activity. It will help you to be more focussed, plan your time and your campaigns better, and make sure that your messaging is exactly where it needs to be.

So think about your business – are you reaching out to professional people in their 50s? Or young people heading to university? Maybe parents of pre- school age children? You may have a general idea, but this isn’t enough. You actually have to get to know your audience.

Getting to know your audience

You can tweak and add to the questions below so that you can develop profiles that are appropriate for your specific needs, but here are some questions to get you started:

1) Introduce yourself…

Give them a name and age. Think about where they live and who their family members might be. What do they do for a job? How do they like to spend their spare time?

2) What’s your personality?

You would figure this out when you meet someone face to face, but for someone you don’t know, it could be a little harder. But taking into account all of the other information you gain, are they likely to be an introvert or extravert? Do they like being around people? Or prefer their own company, or that of a select few? Imaginitive? Analyical? This list goes on!

3) What does your routine look like?

This one is helpful, especially from a social media perspective. You need to make sure that you’re reaching people at the right time. For example, there’s no point expecting a parent of a teenager to see a post that you schedule for the middle of the night. But a parent of a newborn is far more likely to be online at that time!

4) What inspires and interests you?

This is an important one, as the answers you receive will really reveal your customers’ motivations. Are they interested in health and wellbeing? Or are they driven by current affairs? Or fashion and the latest trends? But make sure you think about so-called ‘influencers’ aswell. Are they fans of Radio 2 or read the FT every day? Or do they avidly follow the latest Instagram or YouTube influencer?

5) When it comes to content, what turns you on? And off?

Again, this is an important one. Is your audience looking for strong, inspiring imagery? Or longer, more informative blog posts? Do they want to hear from a serious, suited-and-booted professional? Or a more relatable boy (or girl)-next-door? Do they want short and to the point? Or a more conversational approach?

A starting point

These questions are very broad, and so make sure you take the time to drill down in your answers. Don’t just stop at ‘likes to read’. Think about what they read; when they read; and whether they have a favourite author or publication.

So as you’re starting out with your business, or even if you have an existing one, take the time to consider your audience. Put together some customer personas, and review them every once in a while, as your business evolves.

And for those of you who are considering signing up for the Tabono programme, you’ll be covering all of this in Module 11!