There’s really no point in designing a website and marketing your business if it never reaches your target market. These are the people who are most likely to purchase from your business and remain loyal.

It’s imperative that businesses do everything they can to be there for their target market. According to a survey of marketing managers from OnBrand, understanding and marketing towards a specific audience is more valuable than landing direct sales for nearly 70 percent of marketing managers.

Reaching your target market is a lot more difficult than many business owners realize; it takes careful consideration and planning to hit that mark. A one-size-fits-all campaign simply doesn’t work for defining your target market. It’s not focused enough, and it won’t allow you the freedom that fully understanding your target market does.

The best solution is a careful evaluation of your business needs using the following criteria:

  1. Define Your Specific Audience First

Unfortunately, many companies don’t do as much homework as they should where their customers are concerned. If you can’t describe specific details about your customers when someone asks, you don’t know enough.

Start with basic market research, including data collection based on your transactions, common customers in your industry, successful competitor advertising campaigns, and more.

Then, create content and advertisements both on your website and off to gain that audience’s attention. A great example of this is the clothing company Ikaria, which focuses on luxury resort wear. They fully understand that their customers are females in the upper class who are also interested in high fashion, keeping up appearances, and staying fit and glamorous. All the content on their website reflects that.

  1. Identify the Primary Desire

If you talk about matters of unimportance to your audience, you’re wasting valuable advertising space and marketing dollars. According to research from a Business Insider infographic, about 42 percent of small businesses fail because there’s simply no market for their products or services.

If you can’t name your audience’s primary desire, go back and rethink your business plan. Catering to the needs of your target market should be the priority in each marketing campaign.

It starts with truly listening to what they need. Ask for feedback after a transaction, conduct market research on your advertising campaigns, and watch what people are saying about your organization online. When you listen, you’ll know exactly how to capture their attention.

  1. Use Geo-Targeted Advertisements

Geo-targeting is one of the best inventions of the advertising age, and you’d be foolish not to use it to your advantage. These advertisements use browsing history and online interactions to find customers who are most likely to buy your products.

Facebook and Google are currently the kings of geo-targeted ads. Since they see the most online traffic of any platform, it makes sense to enlist their geo-targeting services. The expense may be a little higher than a typical advertisement, but most find that the return on investment is much higher.

  1. Communicate on Their Plane

If you’re targeting high-level executives in Fortune 500 companies, you won’t find them wasting their afternoons on Instagram. Likewise, your teenage shoppers won’t spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. If you want to reach your target audience, use their favorite platforms to make your connections.

Go back to your market research and define where your target audience is more likely to go for information. Specific social media platforms are usually a safe bet, since it’s now the number one online activity. You might also consider email, blogs, and SMS messaging.

Also, don’t forget about some of the more outdated, but still widely used mediums like newspapers, radio, and television. If you’re a local business marketing to an older audience, any of these traditional means could be a viable option.

  1. Build Trust and Credibility

A great way to build trust and credibility is through content creation. About 78 percent of consumers see companies that deliver custom content as more trustworthy than those that use generic content. Since 91 percent of consumers also said that they are more likely to buy from a brand that seems genuine, this is a huge selling point.

Consider the Ikaria website we looked at earlier. Their content oozes with information their target audience wants to know, and they use images to back up their points. Their customers trust them simply because the website is open, honest, and directly catered to a specific group.

  1. Rebrand When Necessary

Branding is often the solution for a marketing strategy that’s struggling. BuzzStream research points out that 48 percent of consumers expect brands to know and help them discover new products without prompting. About 45 percent of consumers will unfollow the brand if they succumb to self-promotion and fail to meet service expectations.

A bad brand is not the end. There are ways to repair the damage. According to research from LucidPress, a consumer must come in contact with your brand between five and seven times before they’ll remember it. However, if you design a solid brand and present it to your target audience consistently, you can bring that number down to just three or four impressions.

Does your brand stand out? Do you put it in front of the right people? Does it leave a good impression when they see it? Developing your brand takes time, but it’s one of the most valuable things you can do to reach a more specific audience.