Learn exactly how to identify your target audience in this complete guide.
When you start a business, one of the first things you’ll need to establish is who your target audience is.
Knowing how to find your target audience is essential for making sure your marketing campaigns are effective and that you’re reaching the right customers.
Sure, you might think you know exactly who your target demographic is when you get your business off the ground, but if you don’t put in the right research and take the right steps to ensure you’re correct – you might be completely off track.
In many cases, businesses start with target markets in mind and end up attracting customers completely outside of this audience.
By understanding your correct target audience from the start, you’ll be able to target this audience more efficiently and produce more effective marketing campaigns. This means more sales with less effort.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to find your target audience.
- What is a Target Audience?
- Why You Need to Know Your Target Audience
- 3 Types of Target Audiences
- Target Audience vs. Target Market
- Creating a Buyer Persona
- How to Find Your Target Audience: 9 Steps
- Know How to Reach Your Target Audience
What is a Target Audience?
Your target audience is the specific group of people who are most likely to buy from your business, i.e., your potential customers. These are the people who are interested in your product or service, and they are who your marketing campaigns need to target.
A target audience is generally defined by factors like age, location, job title, interests, income, and more. The more specific you are in determining your target audience, the more effective your marketing strategy will be.
Some businesses have a very broad target audience. For example, you might run a bakery in the city. In this case, your target audience could be anyone in the location who is hungry. However, you can refine this based on factors like income, what type of jobs your target audience has, what type of diet or food trends your target audience is interested in, and more.
The more specific you are about exactly who would be interested in your brand and why they would be interested, the more likely you will be able to sell to them.
Knowing this is essential when you create content and marketing collateral because it needs to speak directly to your target customer.
Why You Need to Know Your Target Audience
Quite simply, you need to know who your target audience is if you’re going to execute an effective marketing strategy.
If you don’t know who you’re targeting, how will you make sure you’re getting your products in front of the right people?
Understanding who your target audience is ensures your brand develops a marketing strategy that achieves results. It also makes sure you get the best possible ROI because you’ll be wasting money if you pay for ads and marketing efforts that don’t reach the right people.
Of course, your target audience will also help you work more efficiently. By understanding what market segment and customer persona you’re targeting, you’ll be able to:
- Choose the right marketing channels that your audience uses
- Make sure you publish marketing content that targets the right pain points
- Optimize your marketing efforts so that you always reach the right people
- Enhance your product development so that it matches your audience’s interests
- Provide a more seamless buyers journey and marketing funnel
Establishing the right target audience is only the first step though. The other part is understanding why they are interested in your brand and what would drive a purchase decision from them. This will help you create marketing messages that take the most effective perspective and ensure your marketing efforts create maximum impact.
In short, you can’t reach customers if you don’t know who those customers are. By establishing a clear target audience, you’ll be able to attract more customers to your business. It will help you save time, effort, and money, achieve the best possible ROI, ensure you understand the market and competition, and ultimately make more sales.
3 Types of Target Audiences
You can further break down target audiences into three main segments. Doing this is especially important if you have a very broad target audience.
Breaking down your target audience based on interest is an effective strategy. Doing this helps you deliver more targeted marketing messages that appeal to the audience group’s specific interests.
You can break down your target audience based on people who are looking for a specific product. Understanding their exact purchase intent will help you get the right product in front of the right people.
You might have a specific subculture that exists within your target audience. This is a group of people who share the same common interests and motivations. Understanding and joining this subculture can help you tap into a wilder target audience.
Target Audience vs. Target Market
People are often confused between target audience and target market. Your target market is the broader market which your product or services fall under. Your target audience is the specific segment of consumers within that market who would be interested in your brand.
Target market is always bigger than the target audience. Once you establish your general target market, you can refine this and create specific audience segments. In many cases, brands will appeal to multiple target audiences within a broader market.
Creating a Buyer Persona
A key part of establishing your target audience and knowing what to do with this information is creating a buyer persona. This is a detailed representation of a fictional customer within your target audience.
Write down the person’s name, job, income, interests, age, and any other details you know about them. The more detailed you make this, the better.
Once you have established a detailed buyer persona, you can understand exactly what would drive this person to make a purchase through your business. The best way to do this is to visualize their customer journey.
How will they discover your brand, and what steps would they take to learn more, develop trust, and become a paying customer?
Understanding this will help you establish an impactful buying journey and marketing funnel. This will also help you determine what channels, messages, and content your brand should use to attract customers.
When putting together a buyer persona, try to create different personas for the different segments of your target audience. By doing this, you’ll be able to understand the different journeys, interests, and pain points you should target.
When you start to define your target audience and ideal customer, here are a few helpful factors to consider:
How to Find Your Target Audience: 9 Steps
There are various strategies you can take to find your business’s target audience. Whether you’re a brand new business or want to make sure your existing business is targeting the right people, here are some of the best tactics to follow.
There are several ways to find your target audience. Here are a few steps you can follow:
Define Your Product or Service
Before you can find your target audience, you need to clearly define what you are offering. Think about the features and benefits of your product or service, and consider how it meets the needs of a specific group of people. This is an essential first step before you dive into your target market.
When doing this, consider the following questions:
- What pain points does my product or service help with?
- Where does my business operate (if location-based)?
- How expensive is my product/service?
- What other businesses am I competing with?
Answering these questions will give you a better idea of what your product or service is all about and how it can appeal to a certain target audience. Now you can dig deeper to establish who exactly this audience is.
Identify Your Target Market
Once you have a clear understanding of your product or service, you can start to identify your target market. This is the group of people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer. Consider factors such as demographic data, interests, and behavior when identifying your target market.
Of course, this needs to align with the answers to your questions in the step above.
Your target market can be large and broad. The more you look into your target audience(s), the more you can refine this.
Analyze Your Customers
If your business is already in operation, then a great way to establish your target audience is by looking at your current customers.
Research your existing customer base to determine things like their demographics and interests. Try to determine how they came across your business when they made a purchase and what types of pain points you helped them solve. Running customer interviews can be a great way to get this information.
Target Audience Research
At this stage, you should have a good general understanding of who your main target market is. Now you can refine this by researching this market more deeply and establishing more specific target audience personas.
Conduct market research to learn more about your target audience. This can include things like online surveys, focus groups, and demographic data. You can also gather insights by analyzing customer data, such as website analytics, social media analytics, and sales data.
Go back to the pain points that your target audience has and try to establish what specific audiences this applies to in your broader target market. Considering factors like income, geography, gender, and age can also help you refine your target audience more.
Once you have performed thorough research into your target market, you can start to put together target audience personas.
Understand Who Your Target Audience is Not
A key part of finding your target audience is also figuring out who this does not include. Doing so helps you refine your broader target market and turn this into a target audience you can reach.
Be as specific as you can when establishing factors like your target audience’s age or interests. If there are limiting factors here that would exclude people from your target audience, be sure to include them.
Learn From Your Competitors
Your competitors can provide plenty of useful insights to help you determine who your target audience is. Take a deep dive into your competitors’ marketing strategies and pay attention to the kind of content they publish, where they publish this, who engages with them on social media, and so on. These kinds of insights can help you determine who your target audience is.
Competitor research is also important for helping your brand find a unique positioning when attracting your target audience. Once you know what your competitors are doing, you can find better or different ways to attract the attention of the same target audience.
Engage With Your Audience
Once you have a good understanding of your target audience, you can start to engage with them. This can include things like creating content that speaks to their interests, participating in online communities where they are active, and running targeted marketing campaigns.
The more you actively participate and engage with your target audience, the more you will understand them, their interests, and just how interested in your brand they are.
Remember, finding your target audience is an ongoing process, and you may need to adjust your approach as you learn more about your customers. So, the more you engage with your audience, the better you can establish this.
Use Analytics Tools
The steps above for how to find your target audience are mostly based on intuition. If you really want to get specific and make informed decisions, then you need to look at the data. Luckily, there are plenty of great tools out there to help you achieve this.
Every business should use tools like Google Analytics and social media analytics tools (all major social media platforms have their own insights) to learn more about their audience, their behavior, and their interests.
With Google Analytics, you can understand the kind of journey people have on your site, the kind of content that leads them to product pages, and where they lose interest or convert. These are all important factors for understanding your target audience.
Social media lets you see things like your audience’s age, location, and what kind of content they’re mainly interested in. Again, this information is valuable for understanding who your target audience is.
Although it’s simple, the image above shows you the kind of target audience data you can access from social accounts.
Figuring out who your target audience is is the first step, but your job isn’t over after this. Once you have established this information, it’s important to continually research and refine this audience.
You will constantly come up with unique insights into your audience their activity, interests, behavior, and so on. The more you refine this, the more you will be able to pinpoint exactly who your target audience is. This will help you create more targeted marketing campaigns.
Know How to Reach Your Target Audience
Now you know how to find your target audience. The next step is establishing exactly how to reach that audience.
Understanding your audience at the start of your marketing journey is so important because it lets you develop a content marketing plan and sales funnel around this audience.
You’ll need a website – this is essential. Then, you’ll need to know what online channels will help you attract people to this website. This is generally through SEO, paid advertising, and social media. In each case, understanding who your target audience is will help you:
- Focus on the right social media and advertising channels
- Produce relevant content that your audience is searching for
- Target the right audience in advertising campaigns
Of course, this isn’t restricted to online advertising. Consider offline advertising tactics, like handing out flyers, putting up posters and chalkboards, running print ads, and so on. The more you understand your target audience, where they’re located, and how they behave, the more relevant you can make your marketing campaign.
Take the steps above to find your target audience, and you’ll see just how effective your marketing campaigns become. The more you research this and understand your audience, the more successful you’ll be able to grow your business.
Check out the guides below if you’re looking for more ways to attract the right customers, enhance the customer journey, and grow your business.