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5 signs your agency is targeting the wrong audiences

Every agency knows the struggle of beginning to work with a new client and having zero idea of who their audience is. 

Most of the time, the agency has to start back at ground zero, and it’s their job to gain a deep understanding of the client’s target audience very quickly. However, this can be difficult when the client doesn’t provide many insights at the start, like their consumer’s preferences and behaviors. 

So many agencies have learned to rely on AI, customer interviews, social media or web analytics etc, to come up with buyer personas. 

But after all this, some still don’t have it right. We know this is the case because 80% of content marketing is still being targeted at the wrong audience,  80% of marketing campaigns fail, and 23% or more of the 88 billion dollar yearly global ad spend, is wasted

Targeting the wrong audience is a major issue, and it’s a huge waste of agency time and money. 

The sooner you can detect that your targeting is off, and change course, the better. So here are five telltale signs that you are targeting the wrong audience: 

1. Your audience is too broad or too narrow

Unless you’re Amazon, you can’t target everybody. A telltale sign that the audience you’re targeting is too broad is if you and your colleagues all have a different description of who the target audience is. 

For example, let’s say you were targeting “Vegans”, half your team might be describing “Raw Vegans” as the target customer, while the other half could be describing “Ethical Vegans”.

You’ve got to narrow it down.  There are 79 million vegans on the planet and 12 different types of vegan diets, so which one is your customer?  

Until your answer is very specific like “Raw Vegan millennial moms from Chicago”, and everyone on your team has that same answer, your targeting is too broad. 

Image vegan audience: Raw Vegan millennial moms from Chicago - Affinio

Another sign that you’ve gone too broad, is if your client's sales team is working with a lot of unqualified leads in their CRM. If sales is spending a lot of time filtering through these leads, and trying to figure out how they qualify, you probably have to get more specific with who your target audience is. 

But, one thing you don’t want to do is get too narrow. Your audience is too narrow if after running your campaigns you are seeing a very low number of prospects, and it is incredibly expensive to acquire them.  

2. High bounce rates

If you are seeing a 55% or higher bounce rate on your client’s website, it could be that you are targeting the wrong audience. There are some other factors you should rule out first though before coming to this conclusion. 

First, check if the pages are mobile-friendly, misleading, low quality, or slow to load. Once these are ruled out, and the bounce rate is still high, chances are that you are targeting the wrong audience. 

3. Your audience is unsubscribing from your emails 

If the targeted audience isn't opening your emails or quickly hitting the unsubscribe button, but your content is solid, then your targeting is probably off. 

If the open rate is low, or people aren’t taking any action on the email itself, and you’ve tested different messaging but still nothing is happening, then the audience is wrong. 

Finally, if the opt-out rate is higher than 2%, the chances are that none of this type of content resonates with them and therefore you’ve probably targeted the wrong audience. 

4. The sales cycle is longer than it’s supposed to be

The sales cycle for every industry is different, but if you are finding that the sales cycle is exceedingly longer than the norm, then it’s probably not on the sales team, but on marketing.

If you haven’t targeted the right kind of customer, one who is open, willing, and able to buy, then you might find at the end of the marketing funnel, a bunch of people who aren’t converting into real customers, no matter what your additional efforts are. 

5. The lead-to-conversion rate is very low

Take a look at your client’s blogs and website pages - are there a lot of visitors but hardly any conversions? You should be aiming for a 3-5% conversion rate. If it’s lower than that it could mean that you have been reaching for the wrong audience. 

There could be other reasons why your client's content isn’t converting, like the CTA’s aren’t clear, or the quality of the content isn't there. But once everything else is ruled out, it means that the people landing on these pages aren’t the target audience, and it’s time to redefine who is. 

So how do you ensure you’re targeting the right audience, from the get-go?

The quicker you can get the exact target audience built out, the less time and money you waste of your clients. Not to mention, it is never a good look if you have to keep going back to them with subpar campaign results because the audience targeting is off. 

So how can you be sure you get the audience right the first time? By using a data-backed approach. 

The trick is to not just segment your client’s audience, but to pick the best segment to action on, or to focus on, in your initial campaign. 

You must first gather the audience with the highest buyer intent/ interest in your client’s brand. 

This could be one of two ways. 

Firstly, you could collect everyone following your client’s brand.

In this example below, we’ve collected everyone following the Skims brand, using Affinio. This is what the Skim’s audience looks like segmented by their shared interests and behaviors: 

Image Skim’s audience segmented - Affinio

The segment with the most interest in Skims, and the one that should be our target audience in this case, is the “Content Creators” segment, with 22,259 members. 

image - Skims followers

The second option is to collect everyone talking about your client’s brand. 

The audience below is everyone who is talking about the Skims brand on social media.  

Image - audience of who is talking about the Skims brand on social media

The best target segment to start with in this case would be the Hip Hop Fashionistas, because they also have the highest interest in the brand overall, and should be an easy win when it comes to targeting them. 

Hip Hop Fashionistas segment - Affinio

These target audiences, surfaced by Affinio can be directly imported into your social media ads account to be targeted against.

By using a process like the one we describe above, it leaves little room for error. You’ll start to find that once you’ve used a platform like Affinio to segment your client’s audience, the closer you’ll get to the target audience. 

This means no more wasted ad budget on the wrong audiences. This also means better campaign performance and happier clients. 

Get started with Affinio today, and never target the wrong audience again! 

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