How To Reach Your Target Audience

You have a concept. An idea that, once written down, you’re hoping will be read by...whom? You may have a vague idea of who might read your book, but far too often, authors make the mistake of neglecting this step of the writing process. You need to define who that audience is before you even start writing and keep them in mind as you write.

This is the most crucial step in, what will eventually be, your marketing strategy. Without knowing who your audience is, you will never be able to write a book they’ll actually care enough about to read or position the book so they can access it.

In her article How to Reach the Right Readers, Kimberley Grabas gives us some pointers on how to learn who your target audience is. In order to do this, you must first answer a few questions about them.

  • Where are they from?

  • What is their demographic?

  • What are their goals, habits, beliefs? How will these affect how they feel about themselves when they buy your book?

  • What behaviors might lead them to purchase your book?

  • Do they already know of your work, or are they a first time reader?

  • How and where do they usually read? What medium/device do they use?

The key to reaching a large audience is by obtaining a core following. Once you’ve nailed your target audience, the opportunity for gaining readers from other demographics grows exponentially.

If your goal is reach as many people as possible, it is crucial to focus on one demographic. You can use your existing fan base as a starting point. Check your social media pages. Who is following you? Use the insights tool to find out the demographics of those who already appreciate your work. Reach out to them and offer reader surveys. Take advantage of different answer formats (multiple choice or short answer), keeping in mind the time required to process each type of response. Make sure to post the results. This will show your fans that it’s worth their time to post and that you take interest in their responses.

Researching books that are similar to yours will also give you an idea of who is attracted to certain genres or topics. Read the comments and forum posts made by the fans. Who are they? What do they have in common?

Finding these answers to all these questions can prove to be a challenge, but can be completed with a little bit of detective work. Once you’ve decided the general demographic of your reader, start looking into the types of social media channels they frequent, what magazines they read, their presence on forums, and where they typically shop for books. By using these sources, you can learn what type of language would be most effective in capturing their attention and gain some sort of idea as to where to focus your resources. Before you can reach your audience, you must know your audience.

No matter your course of action, you need to view each member of your audience as an individual person. Thinking about who these people might actually be is essential. Giving your audience an identity and catering to it makes it easier for them to identify with you, which then allows them to be more receptive to you and what you’re offering.

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