What does life look like without knowing your target audience?
It’s like going to the grocery store without a shopping list.
You end up spending money on food you don’t need or, worse, coming home empty-handed.
And yet, that’s what you do by making assumptions about who your customers are and what they want.
Businesses and marketers miss many potential customers because they are, in effect, not checking their pantries.
In fact, billions are wasted in ad spend every year from advertisements that fail to engage the target audience.
We know you don’t want to waste that kind of money, and that’s why this post will walk you through six simple steps to define your target audience.
Let’s jump in.
What is a Target Audience?
A target audience is a subset of people defined by specific characteristics like age, gender, location, socioeconomic status, as well as their attitudes, beliefs, fears, and aspirations.
Identifying these attributes of your ideal customers allows you to speak to and influence them effectively with your marketing efforts.
In short, your target audience is the people most likely to become your customers because they match your products and services well.
Why Define Your Target Audience
The ultimate goal of defining your target audience is to convert a group of people into raving fans and, ultimately, customers.
For example, Smart Blogger strives to transform aspiring and amateur writers into proficient bloggers and freelance writers.
And because we understand our audience, we’re generating revenue and can afford to produce more content — reaching more writers and serving more students.
Define Your Target Audience in 6 Simple Steps
Let’s begin by saying that you can’t be all things to all people, no matter how great your product or service may be.
Here’s the thing, there isn’t enough of you to go around.
Instead, focus on serving a core group of people by listening to what they want and need and then delivering value that improves their lives.
Move forward with this mindset.
1. Tap Into Your Existing Customer Base
Taking inventory of your current customer list and identifying what’s working and what’s not can yield invaluable insights.
Start by looking at your existing customers’ buying behaviors:
- How often do my customers buy from me?
- What are my best-selling products and services?
Determine whether customers are happy with your products and services:
- What can we do better to align with our customers?
- How can we engage our customers after a sale to learn more about them?
And, finally, make sure you know where to find your customers:
- What social platforms are they on? What blogs do they read?
- What sites or software do they use?
- What physical stores do they shop at?
Studying your existing customers affords you the clarity to create an effective marketing strategy (or at least to get started).
And if you’re a new business, you’ll find it helpful to keep these questions in mind as your customer base grows.
2. Know Your Customers’ Pain Points & Aspirations
Pain points are one of the most intimate ways to know your target audience.
Discovering what pain your customers are experiencing and providing them with helpful insights and perspectives will win their trust.
The key here is to articulate your customer’s suffering using by showing that you understand their problems. In other words: empathize with them.
Dig into their pain points by asking:
- What keeps my customers up at night agonizing over this problem?
- How does the stress of this problem affect their lives?
- What else suffers in their lives because they don’t have a solution to this problem?
Answer these questions and you’ll deeper insights into what motivates your target audience, informing your marketing strategy.
3. Target Audience Details: Psychographics, Demographics, and Persona
Psychographics: How Do They Shape My Target Audience?
Psychographics is the art of segmenting people by their behavioral traits such as attitudes, beliefs, personality, lifestyle, and values.
The best way to obtain this information is through interviews and surveys.
Target Demographics: Just the Facts
Target demographics include more tangible attributes of a person, like:
- Social Class
- Marital Status
- Buying Behavior
A persona is a fictional character that you develop based on your market research.
A target persona includes traits like:
- Personal characteristics
- Social engagement and online behavior
Persona Example:Jane Doe is a 25-year-old social worker located in Columbus, Ohio. Her interests are in the community and giving back.She likes to donate every other weekend to the local homeless shelter to help provide meals.She rarely has time between her job and volunteer work to pamper herself as she feels selfish. And you can find her championing causes on social media that support the underprivileged.
Having a persona of your ideal customer gets you to the nitty-gritty of who your best customer might be.
4. Tune In with Social Listening
Depending on the group of people you plan to target, you may find that some of your best research comes from social media.
By tuning in with the following questions in mind, you can better understand your target audiences’ needs and desires.
Who Is Already Following You On Social Media?
Monitor who is commenting on and liking your existing social channels.
From there, you can gain insights into who they are and how they think.
Although this research can be invaluable for understanding your target market, know that just because people are commenting or liking your posts doesn’t necessarily mean they are your target audience.
You’ll want to dig in further with more research.
What Information Is Your Potential Customer Looking For And Why?
When you know why your customer is following you on social media, you become better equipped to understand what they need from you.
Paying attention to your post’s feedback will allow you to become more thoughtful about how you approach your audience and help them, ultimately shaping your marketing in a meaningful way.
5. Study the Competition
Your competition can be an invaluable asset because their target audience will, in many instances, be the same as or overlap with yours.
Reconnaissance work on your competition’s target audience can pay off, especially if you’re starting out and don’t have a significant following yet.
Ask questions like:
- What do I do differently from my competition?
- How can I overdeliver in a way that my competition can’t?
- Where are my competitors reaching their customers?
For more step-by-step instructions on how to do this, read: How to Do Competitor Research on Social Media.
6. Google Analytics Shaping Your SEO Search
When you want to know something, you typically “Google” it.
And you can be sure that your potential customers are doing the same.
So how do you tap into the “Google Gods” and find out what’s trending and what’s not?
Enter Google Analytics.
Google Analytics provides you with key information that can help you defineyour target audience like:
- How many people visit your website
- Where your visitors live
- What marketing tactics drive the most traffic to your website
- Which pages on your website are the most popular
- How many visitors have converted into leads or customers
To get the most out of utilizing this tool, check out Moz’s Absolute Beginners Guide To Using Google Analytics.
The Pitfalls of Defining Your Target Audience
Once you uncover your target audience, it’s tempting to view it as the “be all end all.”
However, this can create a blind spot if you’re not careful.
You could leave out customers that would like to purchase your product by accidentally dismissing them in your target marketing.
That’s why it’s essential to revisit and revamp your target audience as often as you can.
Your standard operating procedure should include refreshing your target audience research periodically.
Doing so will allow you to pick up and include new people coming into your market.
Target Audience Examples In Action
Chipotle Mexican Grill: A Fast-Food Restaurant Targeting Millennials
Established in 1993 and founded by Steve Ellis, Chipotle is a chain of fast-casual restaurants focused on offering healthier fare.
According to the blog post, “Chipotle’s Segmentation and Target Marketing: Millennials,” Chipotle’s core focus is offering “food with integrity.”
Their target market is millennials (born 1981 – 1996), as evidenced by visiting one of their restaurants.
Chipotle opted against using traditional marketing channels to reach its target audience because Millennials view traditional media as being “less authentic”.
Instead Chipotle focused on building an online presence and strengthening its social media game to gain attention.
Based on this group’s persona and typical traits, Chipotle discovered that this millennial audience values environmental causes and is concerned with the integrity of food production.
Referenced in the blog post, ”A Story about Chipotle’s Non-Traditional Marketing Strategy,” Chipotle’s marketing strategy includes food sourcing and organic farming.
Chipotle’s only mainstream TV commercial depicts an animated farmer who becomes burnt out from the commercialization of his farm.
Cleverly playing in the background is Willie Nelson’s rendition of the song “Back to the Start ” and is the name of the Chipotle commercial.
This video appeals to millennials because it shows the compassionate nature of the farmer going back to his roots.
A wildly popular video that got uploaded to Chipotle’s YouTube channel, gaining millions of views.
Athleta: An Athletic Wear Company Targeting Women
Founded in 1998 by Scott Kerslake and currently owned by The Gap, Inc, according to the blog post “Athleta Doesn’t Ignore Older Women and That’s Why It’s Successful,” Athleta gears their fitness wear to “women who are always in motion.”
As referenced in the blog post, ”Athleta History & Brand Profile,”the ’90s were the decade big companies like Nike started to include women in their fitness apparel.
However well-intentioned, Nike still missed the mark with their female audience.
The biggest complaint is echoed by the following quote; “So, to participate in sports and training, I have to dress like a man?”
It’s considered standard practice to make men’s activewear first and then shrink it to fit women.
Coined by the term “shrink it to pink it.”
And so Athleta was born.
“Athleta began as a catalog brand that used female models which were reflective of all ages, ethnicities, and body types.”
“We inspire her to keep living this full, healthy, active, rich life, no matter what her body type is, no matter her age,” says Nancy Green, CEO.
Nancy Green was able to target the needs of a female population consisting of 30 to 50-year-olds with a marketing campaign in 2016 called the “Power of She”.
And since coming on board in 2013, she has played an integral part of Athleta’s 25% growth year after year.
The following video is the first one produced in 2016 called “The Power of She.”
These videos have widened Athleta’s target audience to include women that are 50 plus years old and young girls.
Target Audience Awareness Equates To Thriving
Remember the forgetting the grocery list example?
Could you imagine ever casually running your business in that way again?
Your target audience is your most valuable asset (even though we don’t put it on our balance sheets) because it is the bridge that links you to your customer and to your ability to thrive in business.
Incorporating the six simple steps to know your audience puts you on track with expansion, growth, and the ability to stay in business for a long time.
By jumping in and employing the strategies from this article, you will breathe new life into your business and remind yourself who you are here to serve.
A target audience is a group of people defined by certain demographics and behavior. Often, businesses use what they know about their target audience to create user personas. These personas guide their decisions on marketing campaigns.How do you define your target audience in 2023? ›
- Analyze Your Customer Base and Carry Out Client Interviews. ...
- Conduct Market Research and Identify Industry Trends. ...
- Analyze Competitors. ...
- Create Personas. ...
- Define Who Your Target Audience Isn't. ...
- Continuously Revise. ...
- Use Google Analytics.
A target audience is a group of people defined by certain demographics and behavior. Often, businesses use what they know about their target audience to create user personas. These personas guide their decisions on marketing campaigns.How do you answer target audience? ›
- What is the desired action of you target audience? ...
- What demographic groups are most likely to take the desired action? ...
- How do they think? ...
- What needs, challenges and frustrations do they have? ...
- How does your idea, service, or product help your target audience?
- What is your target demographic? ...
- Where do they live? ...
- What industry do they work in? ...
- How much do they earn? ...
- What are their hobbies? ...
- How do they get their information? ...
- How do they communicate? ...
- How do they think?
Geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioral are the four levels of segmentation that can help define your business's primary target audience.What are target audience key words? ›
What are targeted keywords? Targeted keywords are the phrases that your target audience and visitors use in search engines when they are searching for a solution or information related to your business. Targeted keywords are usually phrases, not individual words.What is an example of an audience? ›
Some general examples of an audience in literature would be children, young adults, or adults. For example, The Boxcar Children series was written for an audience of children, The Hunger Games series was written for young adults, and the Broken Earth series was written for adults.What are 5 things you must consider for your target audience? ›
- 1 – Why are you researching. Firstly, you need to understand what you are trying to achieve. ...
- 2 – Use existing market research. Defining an audience for an online questionnaire is not only about demographics. ...
- 3 – Be selective. ...
- 4 – Have a plan B. ...
- 5 – Measure what you do.
Identifying your audience allows your business to focus marketing efforts and dollars on the groups that are most likely to buy from you. That way, you are generating business leads in an efficient, affordable manner.
The three strategies for selecting target markets are pursuing entire markets with one marketing mix, concentrating on one segment, or pursuing multiple market segments with multiple marketing mixes.What is a simple example of audience analysis? ›
What is an example of audience analysis? A clothing company might think the world is its target audience, but it could develop several specific audiences, such as skaters and hikers. The process of identifying the characteristics of these target audiences is audience analysis.What tools are used to find target audience? ›
- Social media analytics. ...
- Website analytics. ...
- Your own CRM platform. ...
- Surveys. ...
- Advertising platform look-alike tools. ...
- Social listening. ...
- Your competition.
- The aggressive style is results-oriented. They ask "what" questions, value achievement and fear loss of control. ...
- The expressive, emotional style is people-oriented. ...
- The passive, harmonious style is service-oriented. ...
- The analytical, cautious style is quality-oriented.
- 4 Steps for Targeting a Brand's Audience.
- Segment Your Market.
- Select Your Target Segments.
- Select Your Target Sub-Segments (if needed)
- Meet Your Target.
Types of target audiences
For the best research results, divide these audiences into three categories – demography, interests, and purchasing intentions.
The concert attracted a large audience. The audience clapped and cheered. Her audience is made up mostly of young women.
An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art, literature (in which they are called "readers"), theatre, music (in which they are called "listeners"), video games (in which they are called "players"), or academics in any medium.What is audience in your own words? ›
The noun audience can describe all the people watching a performance, or the part of the general public interested in a specific type of information or entertainment. For example, the audience for a show about raising children might be parents or other care-givers.What are the 4 main elements of a target market? ›
The four target markets are geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral.
The four Ps are a “marketing mix” comprised of four key elements—product, price, place, and promotion—used when marketing a product or service. Typically, businesses consider the four Ps when creating marketing plans and strategies to effectively market to their target audience.What are good questions to ask an audience? ›
- Who Represents the Demographic You're Trying to Reach? ...
- Where Are They Located? ...
- What Is Their Industry? ...
- How Much Does Your Audience Earn? ...
- What Are Their Preferred Communication Channels? ...
- What Do They Do in Their Free Time? ...
- What Are Their Biggest Pain Points?
The subject matter of coming-of-age movies has always corresponded to its targeted audience: teenagers. In most cases, coming-of-age movies chronicle a main character's “bildungsroman,” in other words, the transition from innocence to experience.What are three main target audiences? ›
The three most common types of target marketing fall into demographic, geographic, or psychographic categories.What is the age range of the target audience? ›
The usual ranges targeted are; 12-17 18 to 24, 25 to 34, 35 to 44, 45 to 54, 55 to 64, and 65+. These ranges include everybody from Generation Y to the Baby Boomers, and each range has different interests and needs.
This refers to groups of people looking for a specific product and wanting to collect more information before doing so. Some examples include consumers buying a new laptop, vehicle, clothing, or television. This data is necessary to see how you can better direct your messaging to your audience.What are 2 examples of coming of age? ›
Acquiring a legally significant age (in the United States, either 18 or 21) Confirming an individual as a responsible adult within a religious community. Experiencing a moment of epiphany in which childhood is set aside. Puberty (or, in some cases, loss of virginity)What are 3 characteristics of coming of age? ›
- Focused on the arc of the protagonist.
- Typically young characters just before adulthood.
- Centered around major life changes and milestones.
A target market can be translated into a profile of the consumer to whom a product is most likely to appeal. The profile considers four main characteristics of that person: demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioral. University Lab Partners. "4 Key Types of Market Segmentation: Everything You Need to Know."When your target audience is everyone? ›
Saying that everyone is in your target market implies that your product appeals to no one in particular. It's important to define your target market because everyone is in a unique life stage which affects their buying process.
The common types of target markets are – geographic segmentation (location-based), demographic segmentation (population-based), psychographic segmentation (lifestyle and socio-economic-based), and behavioral segmentation.What is the difference between target market and target audience? ›
While both terms refer to a group of people who are interested in your brand's products or services, a target market is a broader group of all the people who you think will be interested in your brand. Your target audience is a specific segment of that broader market who are the focus of individual marketing campaigns.