Here’s the harsh truth: whatever your student brand is offering, it won’t be popular with everyone. However, if you play your cards right, it can win over some people’s hearts – and all of them will have something in common. All you need to do is to find the common denominator.
That is exactly what targeting allows you to do. It means focusing on marketing to particular groups of people that are the most likely to be interested in your product. These people have something in common: hobbies, concerns, needs, etc.
Let’s see how it can benefit your student brand – and how to do it right.
Table of Contents
First, a Piece of Advice
If you’re serious about expanding your student brand, get prepared to invest a lot of time into targeting. It’s not something you do once and leave it alone. You’ll have to revisit your targeting strategy from time to time.
That’s because you won’t be able to get everything right on the first try – and it’s fine. No one defines the right buyer personas, marketing channels and messages, and brand voice from the get-go. You’ll need to experiment (a lot) and learn what works great and what doesn’t.
So, in case you’re short on time, learn to prioritize. Struggling to combine studies and entrepreneurship? Hire a professional essay writer at EssayPro to reduce your academic workload. Having other commitments, like volunteering or extracurriculars? Consider quitting them. You get the idea.
3 Reasons Why Targeting Is Important
You might think, “But my product is going to be useful for everyone!” – and it might actually be the case (everyone uses toothpaste, right?). But you’ll gain more customers, more loyal customers, at a lower cost if you focus on reaching out to fewer people.
Sounds counterintuitive? Let’s break down why that’s the case.
1. You’ll Be Able to Create More Efficient Marketing Campaigns
Let’s say you have two types of potential customers: the ones who rely on their friends’ opinions when shopping and the ones who are interested only in your product’s specs. Would you approach them with the same marketing message?
Hopefully, you answered “no”. Since the selection criteria vary between these two groups, your message should be different as well. For the first group, it should emphasize social proof. For the second one, it’s a better bet to focus on your product’s competitive advantages.
And it’s not just the message that’ll be different. While some types of marketing content and marketing channels, including sms marketing, are efficient for one group, they may do little to nothing for others.
2. You’ll Get More High-Quality Leads- Your Student Brand
Targeting your marketing campaigns means that you’ll deliver the right message to the right people in the right way. All of that combined will boost your conversion rates.
Why? First of all, your target audience is supposed to be more susceptible to appreciate your marketing efforts: they’re already looking for a solution to the problem your product is created for. Second, your message is supposed to be tailored to them, increasing your chances of shifting their opinion in your favor.
But that’s not all. If your first-time customers see that you take their needs and preferences seriously, they’ll return to you. If they like your brand voice and customer experience (tailored to them), they’ll turn into loyal customers – and, potentially, brand ambassadors.
3. You’ll Lower Your Customer Acquisition Cost
Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is calculated by dividing your total marketing and sales costs by the number of new customers gained over the same period of time. And since, as explained above, you’ll gain more new customers on the same marketing budget, your CAC will go down.
No business has unlimited resources. If it weren’t so, of course, you could create hundreds of precise target audience segments and run hundreds of campaigns tailored to each of them. That way, you’d market to “everyone”.
But you don’t have unlimited resources. And how efficiently you use what resources you have – both financial and human – can also be the make-it-or-break-it factor for the future of your venture. If you flaunt your wealth instead of investing it wisely, your bottom line can turn red fast.
5 Steps Towards Right Targeting
So, you’re convinced – targeting is crucial. But that’s not the whole story: it’s targeting done right that’s crucial. Here are five things you should do to determine your target audience properly.
1. Create Buyer Personas
Imagine your ideal customer. Once you describe them as a person, you’ll have your first buyer persona! Here are 5 categories of questions you should ask yourself:
- Demographics. How old are they? What’s their gender? What’s their level of education? Are they married or in a relationship?
- Socioeconomics. What do they do for a living? What’s their level of income?
- Psychographics. What are they like as a person? What personality traits do they have? How emotional are they?
- Needs and wants. What problems do they face? What benefits do/would they seek from a product like yours?
- Sources of influence. What drives them to choose this or that particular brand?
2. Do Your Research on the Potential Target Audience
If you’ve answered these questions without consulting any statistics or first-hand opinions, there’s no guarantee that your buyer persona is realistic enough. This is where doing your research should come in. Here are four ways to gather the relevant data:
- Conduct interviews with your potential or current customers;
- Create online surveys;
- Use a social listening tool to track mentions of your brand on social media;
- Use your web and social media analytics.
In case you have just started your venture and you don’t have enough primary data for a marketing campaign, you can use secondary sources like statistics, market research, case studies, whitepapers.
3. See What Your Competitors Are Doing
You need to stand out. And to do that, you need to know what you’re up against. So, take a deep dive into your competitors’ activities and assess:
- Their market positioning;
- Their customers and buyer personas;
- Pricing optimization tactics they use;
- What people say about them on social media.
Make sure that you learn from their successes and mistakes – but don’t copy their strategy. You need to offer something unique. For that, see what your competitors are missing and use that.
4. Develop Your Marketing & Brand Strategies
Your buyer personas will define both of them. When it comes to your brand strategy, knowing your target audience is crucial for determining:
- Brand voice;
- Mission and vision;
- Visual identity;
- Value proposition.
In its turn, your buyer personas will also inform your choices for the following elements of your marketing strategy:
- Marketing channels;
- Targeted content: its topics, types, and formats;
- Targeted ads’ parameters;
- Email marketing personalization;
- Your website’s user experience.
5. Test Different Approaches & Adjust
You won’t be able to know with 100% certainty whether your targeting is done right until you test it in the field conditions. To do it right, make sure you have all the analytics at hand to collect the data you’ll need to analyze what worked and what didn’t.
Once you have the data, don’t hesitate to go back to your branding and marketing strategies and tweak them based on your newly acquired marketing ideas. Keep revisiting your strategies regularly – ideally, once a quarter or 6 months.
Getting your targeting right is the make-it-or-break-it factor for your student brand. After all, if it’s done poorly, you’ll waste your precious resources on marketing campaigns that simply won’t work.
However, if you ace it, you’ll be able to attract more customers, build a loyal customer base, and corner your niche. But it’ll take time and effort to hone your targeting – so, make sure you’re ready for this.