Defining Your Audience in 10 Questions or Less

So if you’re trying to nail down a new testing ground for ads, or you’re a little blurry on your customer avatars—or, if you’ve never made one in the first place—this is a great set of evergreen questions for getting started.

№ 1: Does your business/product serve individual customers (B2C), other businesses (B2B), or some combination? Whatever your answer, stop to define it a bit more specifically. For instance: if a combination, exactly which kind of combination?

№ 2 (if B2B): Which verticals are most successful for your product? In other words, from which major business categories (manufacturing, media, travel, health, etc.) are your best/ideal customers drawn? You’d want to do some simple conversion-rate analysis here, then look at your lead metrics and look for patterns in your existing consumer base.

№ 2 (if B2C): What are your consumers’ typical characteristics? Exactly what information you have about your customers will vary—especially since deep tracking might be going the way of the dodo bird—but there will be patterns within their collective profile data, and some patterns will be clearer and/or more meaningful than others. This is always useful information to have on hand.

№ 3: What’s your current lead flow cycle? In other words: how long does it typically take someone to go from lead to converted, paying customer? In most cases, B2C businesses will have a much shorter cycle (call it 1-7 days) and frankly don’t usually need to track that metric.

With B2B, lead-flow cycles are naturally longer—weeks or even months in some cases—and it’s important to factor this into what you’re doing, partly so your math lands in the black and partly so you’re keeping the customer squarely in mind through the whole length of that process.

№ 4: Are your current consumers one-time buyers, returning purchasers, or ongoing subscribers? Obviously, the mix will vary from biz to biz—but what is your mix here? What are your proportions of each type? (And is there are any way to “upgrade” buyers to returners, returners to subscribers?)

№ 5: How did members of your current audience find your business? You can dice this question a couple different ways. Like: what’s your breakdown of traffic by channel? Or: what paths do site visitors tend to take through the site? Or: how many people are using mobile vs. desktop at checkout?

№ 6: What’s your unique value proposition (UVP)? In other words: what’s the defining reason somebody would choose your business or product, and not the competition? There are really two parts here: defining your UVP to be as Unique and Valuable as possible compared to the competition, but also, thinking about who would most want to hear about your exact UVP once defined.

№ 7: Would you honestly choose your business/product if you didn’t work there? The point of this question is not to be a downer; it’s just a bit of a reality check. First of all: if you had a twinge of uncertainty (or maybe a couple), leave judgment aside for a second and just ask yourself where you wouldn’t be fully convinced. Because (secondly) of course you want the thing you’re selling to be compelling; since there’s a good chance you’re part of your own target market (or at least neighbor it), your private sanity check can be worth something for your audience’s sake.

№ 8: What are your audiences’ biggest pain points? This question is useful from brainstorming and ideation all the way through service and support—because pain points can occur at every stage, and yet they’re not good at any stage. You know, because they’re pain points.

Assuming the business and product(s) have identified the Central Pain Points, try to think about littler pain points at each stage of the customer journey

  • Can your site navigation make essential info easier to find?
  • Can you improve 404 pages, whether the page itself or how frequently people land on them?
  • Can you create content to fill big gaps, like a lack of educational content OR a lack of support content?
  • Can you do more to favorably (but directly) compare yourself to competitors and to make your UVP more obvious and memorable?
  • № 9: What are your existing customers’ FAQs? Somewhat self-explanatory: what questions do your customers ask most frequently? Because, in a pretty direct and intuitive way, those are the pieces of information which (A) the customers very clearly want and (B) the businesses very clearly need to provide. These FAQs are also a good source of content, marketing, and product-development ideas!

№ 10: How easy is it for customers to find the answers to those FAQs on your website? Quite simply, it doesn’t matter how smart or stupid the FAQs seem; those Qs get A’d quite F because people don’t know the answers, and they care to know enough that they’d ask (which, actually, says quite a bit in our time). So you’re only shooting yourself in the foot—and costing yourself extra support tickets, and losing yourself some conversions—by making those FAQs’ answers hard to find where people would think to look.