Business 101: How Do You Identify Your Target Audience?

Identifying your target audience lays the foundation for a successful marketing strategy. If you get your target audience wrong, the rest of your marketing strategy becomes futile and will lead to very few, if any, customers. But how do you identify your target audience?

Understanding your target audience helps you create successful campaigns and develop content that resonates with your customers. The more connected your customer feels to your brand, the more likely they will become repeat customers.

So, are you ready to target your audience?

This post will help you better understand the basics of identifying your target audience. First, we’ll discuss what a target audience is and the various types of audiences you may want to include in your marketing strategy. Then, we’ll offer a series of tactics you can employ to help narrow down your business’s specific audience.

Let’s take aim!

What Is a Target Audience?

Your target audience is a detailed list of specific consumer demographics and behaviors most relevant to your business. This list defines who would most likely purchase from your brand based on current trends in your niche.

fantasy archer taking aim at a target in the sky.

Identifying your target audience is essential to most business decisions you make for your marketing and sales strategies. Your target audience will influence:

  • Where you spend ad revenue.
  • Your brand message.
  • Future product or service ideas.
  • How you build relationships and communicate.

When you work to identify your target audience, it also helps to define your company’s buyer personas.

Buyer Personas

A buyer persona is a detailed representation of the ideal customer for your business. This gives you specific insights into each type of customer your company attracts so that you can best match your marketing efforts with them. 

Build your buyer personas by sorting through your target audience data to determine customer demographics such as age, income, employment, gender, and location. Depending on your niche, you may need to get even more specific with your personas to get quality leads.

Target Market

There often needs to be clarity regarding your target market versus your target audience. While used interchangeably, there is a distinction between the two, especially for your marketing team.

Before determining your target audience, you must first develop your target market. A target market only focuses on the consumers for whom you aim your product or services. This is slightly less specific than your target audience.

For example, let’s say you’ve determined that your target market is “accountants aged 35-50.” Your target audience would expand further by saying, “accountants in large firms living on the east coast aged 35-50.”

Your buyer persona would go even further into this by specifying the exact type of accountants. It could be something like:

“Male, 35-50, lives on the east coast, an average income of $120,000, works for a large firm or Fortune 500 company, over ten years of experience in the field, financially conservative, wants the best tools and advice for accounting.”

To determine this, you’ll need to know more about the different types of target audiences and how you can identify them for your business.

Key Takeaway:

  • Target Market (broad) > Target Audience (more specific) > Buyer Persona (fine-tuned)

Types of Target Audiences

There are several types of target audiences to consider for your own business. Each has its benefits for different kinds of companies. Understanding how many apply to you will help you create more specific buyer personas.

1. Targeting Everyone

Companies targeting everyone traditionally include sales giants, big media, and entertainment niches. The focal point is to appeal to everyone by using commonly shared values that promote positivity. These companies often have a larger budget, which makes it possible to target a broader audience.

2. Demographics

Most niches cater to a specific demographic. This helps you focus your marketing and sales efforts. For example, if you have a younger demographic, a trendy video on your page might have more appeal than written content.

Demographics often used include age, education, gender, income, race, religion, and spoken languages. 

3. Geographics

Some companies prefer to narrow their marketing and sales efforts toward people in a specific region. If you own a plumbing company, you may want to appeal only to locals in nearby areas. A plumbing company in Tennessee may require a different content and marketing strategy than one in northern California.

Geographics used include countries, cities, regions, sizes, area types such as urban, rural, or suburban, and communities.

4. Subcultures

Subcultures are used to group people together who identify with a shared experience. This often works for companies that have a broader audience willing to travel, such as those in the media, arts, and entertainment industries.

A tattoo shop may want to appeal to those with a shared interest in tattoo art. Meanwhile, a movie review company may wish to appeal to movie junkies across the globe.

5. Super Cultures

Super cultures incorporate a group of people who have a shared cultural experience that can span worldwide. Sports-related niches thrive here since most sports teams have a considerable culture built around them.

6. Marital Status

Knowing whether your audience is married or single heavily influences your marketing approach. A single person may be more willing to purchase more expensive products, while a married person may have to be more frugal and is looking for cost-effective methods. This can also be inversed depending on other demographics.

7. Purchase Intent

Your audience may be looking for a specific product, but they may also want additional information before deciding to purchase. The more expensive a product, the more likely your audience will want further information. Knowing this data will help you direct your brand messaging accordingly.

8. Need-Based (Pain Points)

Knowing your audiences’ pain points helps you curate content based on your products or services solutions. Most audiences will have a pain point, so the more research you do, the better your company can understand them.

5 Tactics To Identify Your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience requires a skilled approach to be as accurate as possible. You can use a few tips to help during this phase of your business.

dart on fire flying toward its target
  1. Use an analytics tool to learn more about your customer.
  2. Evaluate your competition.
  3. Ask for feedback from current and potential customers.
  4. Create a reader persona.
  5. Research social media analytics and engagement.

These tips will help you build a specific-enough target audience to market towards. You can then use that data to create more detailed buyer personas based on your findings.

So, how do you identify a target audience? Let’s take a look.

1. Use an Analytics Tool To Learn More About Your Customer

While traditional marketing has its place, digital marketing generates an average of 50 percent more interactions. This is because 70 percent of consumers prefer to learn more about products or services through content channels such as articles and blog posts.

Maximize your business potential online with a website analytics tool. Some of the top analytics tools include:

Data analytics helps you identify your current customer base’s location, demographics, and interests. It gives you a detailed data breakdown using graphs and visual references to help you better understand.

If you need more analytical data from your website, you can investigate your competitor’s analytics using programs like SEMRush

2. Evaluate Your Competitors

Not only can you perform analytics checks on your competitors, but you can also find even more data by manually searching their websites and reviews.

Look into comments on their blogs (if enabled) and their reviews online. Ask these questions while researching:

  • What positive experiences did they have with your competitors?
  • What pain points did customers experience with your competitor’s products or services?
  • How can you solve these pain points to make a unique selling point?
  • What type of content was most engaged with on their website and social media?

The more information you get from your competitors, the better you can position yourself for success within your niche. 

How do you identify your target audience? In this case, the goal is to take what your competitors did and improve the experience for your potential customers.

To extract this information, you should also ask current and prospective clients for feedback on your services to see how they measure up to your competition.

3. Ask for Feedback From Current and Potential Customers

Help determine your target audience by asking your current and potential customers for feedback. You can ask for feedback on your website presentation, product reliability, related products they are interested in, and more.

Take all feedback into consideration. Negative and positive feedback helps you structure an interest-based target audience. 

4. Create a Reader Persona

A buyer persona gives you detailed insights into your target audience, while your reader persona focuses on the challenges your potential customers face. The goal is to curate content that helps them to solve those challenges.

The benefit of a reader persona is that it doesn’t differ much from your buyer persona. In fact, most are nearly identical, which makes the process seamless. Developing content around your reader persona’s challenges also helps you build your reputation within the industry.

Analyze how this content does over time. Record your page views, page retention rage, social media shares, and engagement. This gives you valuable data to discover more about your target audience.

5. Research Social Media Analytics and Engagements

Social media is a powerful tool when researching your target market, audience, and buyer persona. Every social media platform has a different audience, so measuring your data and metrics within each platform is essential.

Look at what content your followers have engaged with the most. Are the posts more engaging when you use humor? Do you attract more business professionals, stay-at-homes, or some other category?

The more information you find, the better you can gauge your target audience. It also helps determine what type of content does and doesn’t thrive. This allows you to market more accurately to your potential customers.

Final Thoughts

Like all businesses, your main goal is to increase revenue. Using the correct data and analytics helps you learn how to identify your target audience in hopes of converting them to paying customers.

Every marketing strategy relies heavily on understanding your target audience. Failure to do so can make marketing campaigns fail and cause an extensive loss in revenue and profit.

If you enjoyed this article or have any feedback, let us know!

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Need help developing content that is marketed toward your target audience? Reach out today and find out how I can help create content that speaks to your target audience.

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