5 Successful Strategies To Help Identify Your Target Audience



When you first publish your book, the next challenge that comes is successfully marketing it. Whether you're traditionally published or an Indie author, neither are exempt from self-promotion online and in person. A large part of marketing is knowing WHO your book is for. But identifying which genre our book falls under and what age range it's appropriate for can be difficult, especially when our books can technically fall into multiple genres. This can make identifying our target audience confusing, which in turn muddles our minds when we try to build a successful book marketing strategy.


The problem is simple: If you can't identify who your audience is, how can you sell them your book?


Solution: That's what we're going to explore here today, so read on!


*Note: This post is the first post in a new series! Check back every Tuesday morning at 8am this month for a new installment of this book marketing topic.



5 Strategies To Bring You Success:



1. Survey Your Target Audience


This comes right from page one of the marketing handbook. Maybe you have a general idea of who your audience is, for instance, if you're writing a Young Adult novel then clearly you're targeting teenagers between the age of twelve and eighteen. But when you do your marketing, you need to be as specific as possible. It's not enough to know your targeted age range and stop there. You must delve deeper. An example would be Twilight. The series was clearly marketed to young girls and teens who loved supernatural elements, love triangles, and those who struggled with issues such as self-esteem, finding acceptance, finding love, etc.


If you don't know who your ideal audience is, the best way to get to know them is by asking them questions. A survey is an excellent way to hone in on what interests your readers and what's important to them. You'll learn valuable information about what they'll respond to, what needs you can fill, and what message best resonates with them. You can then use this information to tailor your marketing tactics to best appeal to said group.


What kinds of questions should you ask? Questions about demographics, psychographics, and online behavior will be the most helpful. Need more guidance? Download our FREE questionnaire below:



Who should you send your survey to?


  • Your current followers on social media

  • Your email subscribers

  • Your friends/family/support base

  • Any other existing audience you have

  • Your writer friends/writing groups

  • Fans of comparable authors and similar books

All of the above is who you should be sending your survey to for different reasons. For your friends and family, these are the people who will most likely be the most honest with you about what you may need to add or leave out and why. From writer friends and groups you'll gain insight from those most likely above all else to read books, plus you'll gain insider knowledge that can help you comb through your questionnaire and tailor it further with questions or details you may not have thought of. The rest is *hopefully* your target audience and potential future book buyers.


2. Conduct Reader Interviews


On the flip side, once you know what your readers like, you're going to want to know how they find the books they wind up purchasing. You'll also want to know what influenced their decision to buy and why they chose said book over another. The main reason you should conduct a few of these is because they add further depth to the information you've already collected from your survey.


It doesn't have to be long, a few pointed questions geared specifically towards marketing will work. You can do this in two different ways- by sending another mini survey through email (Google Sheets has an easy-to-use survey template that makes this simple), or you can ask your chosen people questions directly. The primary benefit to speaking to said person face-to-face (or over Zoom, as the case may be) is that you can ask follow-up questions and get immediate answers versus only gaining what you specifically asked for.


You can use this technique no matter where you are in the marketing process. Want to know if your sales pitch is strong enough? Have an email campaigning going out or you want to know if your cover design will attract enough attention? All this and more can be answered through an interview.


Who should you interview?


  • Someone who has purchased your book before

  • A member of your target audience

  • Your current followers on social media

  • Your email subscribers

  • Your writer friends/writing groups

  • Fans of comparable authors and similar books


Any of the above people will give you insight into how you should be trying to market your book. They'll give you indicators that will tell you whether or not your current tactics will be successful, whether your new ideas are sound, and possibly give you new ideas or directions to go in should you find your marketing strategies aren't garnering the results you want. Note: Be aware that you aren't asking these people to do your job for you. The questions you ask should be specific, such as "What comes to mind when you look at my book cover? Would you pick this over x,y, z? Why or why not?" or "Does this banner image/ title make you want to click on this ad? Why or why not?". If your questions are too generic or if you ask them for general marketing advice, you will not get the information you need, if you get responses at all.


3. Create Reader Profiles


This is a quick exercise that you can do to ensure your branding stays on track throughout your marketing campaign and beyond. It can be applied to every area where branding is necessary- your website, emails, ad campaigns, social media, book covers, etc.


It's often easier to create with a specific person in mind versus building marketing materials for a general audience.A reader profile is a brief paragraph that defines what type of person is your "ideal" book buyer. You can create as many profiles as you feel necessary, especially if your target audience consists of more than one group of people. The purpose here is to create an imaginary person in your mind that you can then directly tailor your marketing to. If your branding would appeal to this person, then you're right where you need to be.


4. List Target Keywords


You've probably heard the term "keywords" before. Knowing how to use them, however, can be another story. If you're not tech-y or simply new to marketing, understanding keywords can feel like entering a world that makes your head spin. Doing a quick search on Google can lead to further confusion. Words like Kindle Keywords, SEO, Metadata, and Google AdWords are enough to make you want to tear your hair out.


This is when you should block all of that out and start at the very beginning. What are keywords and metadata anyways? These two words simply refer to the words and phrases that can be used to describe yourself and the contents of your story. Keywords are one or more words used to indicate the content of your book. Metadata consists of things such as your title, author name, author bio, book description, and publication date.


They make your book appear when a reader goes looking for a specific thing online, whether that thing is a book or not. Your goal is to select keywords that best describe your book and then place them around the web where potential readers can then find them, sort of like virtual breadcrumbs if you will. For example, if your book is a how-to guide on how to fish for bass, then someone browsing online for that topic should come across your book due to the keywords you've chosen. They may not have been searching for your book specifically, but you might wind up with a sale regardless because it was an option for them.


The first step to using keywords is to compile a list of those that apply to you. Come up with words and short phrases you think your readers might enter into a search engine to find you and your book. You want to be specific here, so eliminate any generic or broad terms from your list. The reason you want to be as specific as possible is because the people who will be searching for these topics are your "ideal" reader. They are those who will be most likely to buy your book because it's exactly what they're looking for.


Once you have your list, you can then start plugging them into the various places where keywords are used.


5. Make A Plan


If you don't know what your options are, the less likely you'll succeed. Now that you know who your target audience is, you can now build your marketing strategy. Begin by making a list of all the platforms and marketing tools you can use to reach your audience. Include things like Amazon, Goodreads, BookBub, etc. but also off-brand places like blogs, publications, book box/book of the month services and Influencers also within your niche.


After you do this, brainstorm ways to promote. Think about all the ways that you can spread the word about your book and write them down. Include word of mouth, ads, emails, social media, writing groups, any friends and family you know will help, etc. Plan accordingly for each type. What will it take to effectively get your book in front of readers? Refer back to your reader profiles whenever it's necessary.


From there, take it a step further. Break down your different categories and begin listing all the steps it will take to set up each form of media. For emails this would look like: branding, email content, logo, sales pitch/sales funnel, incentives for becoming an email subscriber, and an email service such as Convertkit or MailChimp to help you keep track of your email marketing.


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