The key to achieving your communication goals is understanding your audience.

Imagine: you’re asked to give a presentation on a topic you know plenty about. The subject matter isn’t the problem; you’re experienced in your field. The challenge is communicating that information successfully to the other people in the room.

But where to begin? Are you presenting to industry luminaries who have long mastered the basics, or novices who’d appreciate some extra context? Will the cute GIF you’ve added to slide three be well-received, or would delegates prefer you stick to graphs over cats?

Whether it’s a presentation, an important email, or a large-scale marketing campaign, identifying your audience and learning how best to speak to them is the essential first step in successfully delivering your message.

Knowing your audience in this way will allow you to adapt your communication to achieve the best results.

Who Do You Think You’re Talking To?

Start by thinking about the audience of your communication. It could be your existing customers, who you understand well. Or, it could be someone unfamiliar.

If you’re targeting an audience you don’t know much about, think about the sort of people that could be included and use that as the basis of further demographic and psychographic research.

Once you know who you’re addressing, it’s time to figure out how they like to be spoken to.

Profile Your Audience

To address your intended audience effectively, it is useful to build audience profiles. These profiles serve as a blueprint for producing communications that relate consistently to the needs, interests, and motivations of your audience.

There are many resources at your disposal when it comes to building audience profiles.

For example, if your audience is someone you work with regularly, your organisation has probably already learned a lot about them. When analysing your audience to determine an ideal communication strategy, canvassing the opinion of colleagues and studying the efficacy of previous communications can be a great first step. Don’t underestimate the insight that can be derived from these first-hand experiences.

If your audience is unfamiliar to you, try reviewing existing research to start gaining some understanding. If possible, talk directly to members of your audience about their background, values, priorities, motivations, needs, and frustrations. These are some of the key characteristics you can use to optimise the style, tone, and content of communications for your chosen audience.

Build, Measure, Improve

Using your newly drawn-up audience profile as your guide, it’s time to produce communications backed by the conclusions you’ve reached about the people you’re talking to.

Then, you can measure the result of your communications using metrics relevant to the goals you had in mind. As you learn more about what does and doesn’t work for your audience, changes can be made to the audience profile until you have a comprehensive document that can be used by anyone within your organisation to produce effective, targeted communications.

Scrutiny = Success

When your communications are informed by a thorough understanding of your audience, they’ll start to produce results.

If you’re not already using audience profiles to guide the production of communications, give it a try! And if your first attempt misses the mark, don’t be discouraged; failure can produce surprisingly useful data, which can be built on iteratively until your communications are producing the results you want.

Get Started with a Free Audience Profile Template

Ready to start building an audience profile, but not sure where to begin? Send us a message to receive a free template to help you get started.