How to find the correct target audience for your business

5 May 2023
Illustrations of how to find the target audience

Just because your product’s perfect, and it’s being exposed to a vast number of people on your website, it doesn’t mean your business is going to be successful. You could in fact be damaging your brand, as you hemorrhage money on useless tactics that simply won’t pay off. As an example, imagine you run a strictly heavy-metal-oriented music festival, and decide to keep the final headliner as a mystery until all of the tickets have sold out… Only to announce to all of your customers that Kanye West is performing. It’s not even as simple as ‘right place, wrong time,’ as quite frankly, if you’re attempting any form of marketing strategy before determining your target audience, it’s more likely to be ‘wrong place, wrong time.’ 

What is a target audience? 

In essence, a target audience is a specific group of consumers that you are trying to reach with your marketing campaigns. These people are your ideal customers, who your product appeals to the most, and generally share goals, interests, and problems, among other characteristics. Besides wanting what you have to offer, this demographic has the means to purchase it, all of which is why you’re targeting them.  

The data that defines a target audience typically includes their age, gender, educational background, purchasing power, social class, location, and consumption habits. This paints a broad picture of the general group that you need to reach with your advertising efforts, unlike personas which are more detailed profiles of your audience’s members, and provide a clearer image of what they may be like. To determine a persona, you need to consider a consumer’s personal characteristics, lifestyle, interests, profession, and level of social media engagement, as well as, again, their purchasing power. This enables you to practice a more refined approach to audience targeting. 

What role do target audiences play in advertising? 

The thing is, target audiences are the role, to some extent. If you’re starting to catch my drift, audience targeting is primarily focused around enabling you to execute your campaigns successfully, by ensuring that your message doesn’t fall on uninterested ears. It doesn’t matter if you’re developing a strategy for print advertising or social media marketing, the principle is still the same. You want to tell the correct demographic about your product, because it will solve their problems and complement their lifestyle, for a price they can afford.  

Examples make things easier. Alcohol manufacturers don’t target children in their marketing campaigns, as, ethics aside, they aren’t of the legal age to purchase the product. It doesn’t matter how large a volume of kids they run the adverts past, or how much money they sink into the venture, they will never see any form of return on that investment from that specific target audience. Similarly, an entrepreneur in their 20s looking to establish a new platform to buy and sell trainers and streetwear, isn’t going to gain the traction that they seek, by handing out flyers around an old people’s home. Although the demographic may possess the financial means to support the business, it’s unlikely to solve any of their problems or spark their interests.

White illustrations of finding target audience with blue background

How to choose your target audience

You hopefully now know why you need one, so let’s go over the key steps of audience targeting. The easiest approach is to answer the following five questions: 

Who are they? 

By establishing the forementioned characteristics (their age, gender, educational background, purchasing power, social class, location, and consumption habits), you should start to have a pretty good idea of who your target audience is. 

What are their key problems and desires, and how do you fit in with them? 

In removing your own opinions from the situation, and by putting yourself in their shoes, you can define the problems that your target audience is striving to solve, and the ways in which you are the one to help them. 

Whereabouts are they likely to do their research online? 

Locating the communication channels that your demographic primarily frequents is half of the battle. It not only gives you an insight into another level of their personality, it also helps you to cater your content to the most effective and relevant platform to reach them. 

What do they definitely not want? 

This leads you to the opposite end of things, but it also tells you exactly what you need to be the opposite of. If your demographic looks to be environmentally conscious, perhaps don’t bombard them with printed pamphlets and flyers. 

Who are they likely to trust? 

This is who you need to be. Nobody wants to support or deal with an enterprise that they deem untrustworthy, so it’s crucial that your reputation reflects what the audience you are targeting deems reputable. Third-party reviews, exterior website mentions (in the correct places), and positive feedback from existing customers are great for this.  

Top tip  

Once you’ve followed our advice and successfully determined exactly who it is you’re targeting with your products and advertisements, there are certain apps, plugins, and services that can help you refine your newfound knowledge even further. Google Analytics, for example, offers you extensive data on the users visiting your site. This information can be leveraged to identify key insights, such as which channels your target audience is primarily coming from, and the forms of content they’re engaging and connecting with the most. This intel allows you to make more data-driven decisions. 

Another supporting avenue, when it comes to developing the correct strategy to reach your newly established target audience, would be to drop us a line, and let us give you a hand. Click here to contact us.


Written by Steven Dobinson.

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