How To Find Your Target Audience

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published January 5, 2021

Updated February 22, 2021

Published January 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Identifying a target audience and catering to that audience may be the most effective marketing technique a business will use. This is because you can't start marketing your products or services until you know who is most likely to consume your products or services. Your target audience affects all elements of your marketing strategy, including the style and tone of campaigns and the channels your business uses to reach that audience. In this article, we explore what a target audience is, why it is important and how to find your target audience.

What is a target audience?

A target audience is a group of consumers characterized by behaviors and specific demographics who are most likely to purchase a business's products or services. These people have certain characteristics in common. For example, a business offering real estate services will have a target audience that includes homeowners, renters and investors. Alternatively, if you sell athletic shoes, your target audience might be primarily athletes.

A target audience could be based on a variety of different factors, including location, gender, age, education and socioeconomic status. The more specific you can be when defining this audience, the better. As a business, it's important to identify your target audience so that you can cater to the right customers.

Another important and related term is the target market. Your target market is the whole group of people that you as a brand want to sell to. This is a much larger group that encompasses potential clients. For example, if you sell athletic shoes, your target market could be men and women who find athletic footwear comfortable.

Read more: How to Identify a Target Market

Why is finding your target audience important?

Finding and becoming familiar with your target audience is important for several reasons, including:

  • It helps the marketing team develop cost-effective campaigns with better returns on investment.

  • Defining the target audience helps you discover underserved segments competitors are ignoring.

  • It saves the marketing team and the company time trying to tailor the messaging to the right consumer.

  • It can help you advertise more effectively using the best possible channels.

Related: Segmentation: Here's What You Need to Know

How to define your target audience

The idea of a target audience is not to limit marketing efforts to one group. It does, however, help businesses focus their efforts more effectively so that they can invest more time and money into attracting consumers who would benefit from their products or services. Here are some steps you can take to find your target audience:

1. Compile data about existing customers

A good place to find an audience is by looking at your existing customer base. Most current customers probably share some things in common, such as an age range, location and career. All of these factors help form your target audience. Some specific factors you want to look for include:

  • Age: Don't be too specific. Instead, focus on age ranges or generations.

  • Location: This will help you understand the geographic areas that your potential customers live in.

  • Spending patterns: Though it can be challenging to find exact data, you can still learn about your targeted audience's spending habits and patterns by analyzing what they buy from you already. You might find that some of your products sell better based on their price points, for example.

  • Interests: Learning what your audience likes to do can help you personalize your content to yield results.

It is important for B2B companies to consider the size of the businesses they are trying to attract and how they conduct business. Understanding how other businesses operate and how their purchase journeys look are key to finding the right audience.

2. Analyze the competitors

There is nothing wrong with competition. As a matter of fact, it can even be beneficial when it comes to finding your target audience. It's normal and expected for companies to target the same audience as their competitors to try and attract their customers. Social listening tools and customer relationship management (CRM) software can provide a lot of information about a competitor's audience.

While analyzing the competition, aim to spot gaps in their marketing efforts. These could be opportunities to market to an underserved group. Spend time reading through customer feedback that might indicate they are dissatisfied with the competition. Use these new-found concerns and frustrations to offer solutions. This kind of competitor research is excellent for defining where to channel your marketing efforts.

Related: Target Market Analysis: What Is It and How to Make One

3. Create customer personas

In marketing, customer personas are semi-fictional characters you create who behave like potential customers. A persona helps you get more specific about your target audience. Profiling your ideal client by defining their demographic, behavioral and geographic information is key to understanding your consumers.

Here's what a customer persona looks like:

Virginia is a 28-year-old influencer. She lives in Delray Beach, Florida. She has a journalism degree and blogs and posts about skincare products, dieting and living near the beach. Virginia always follows new skincare product launches and even participates in events with other people in her area's beauty niche. As a digital influencer, she cares a lot about what people see on her social media profiles. She likes to spend time indoors and practice yoga in her free time.

Your persona considers the individual in a particular way. It thinks about their personality, goals, motivations and frustrations.

Read more: 4 Steps to Build Your Buyer Persona

4. Find the right social media channels

Use different social media tools or analytics tools to learn more about where your target audience spends most of their time. A marketing agency or advertisement company can also help with this. Think about the type of content that best resonates with your audience. For example, clothes and shoes might do better to advertise on TikTok or Instagram than medical devices.

There is no need to have a presence on every social media channel out there. Instead, spend the time and effort on the platforms that make the most sense for your audience. Keep in mind that audiences shift all the time, and so do their behaviors. Be prepared to adjust marketing efforts and strategies to ensure your messages are still resonating with your target audience.

5. Expand your audience

It's common for some businesses to have different target audiences. The idea here is to target each audience through a separate campaign and still address the overall segment through social media and other marketing efforts. Make sure to test campaigns to see how well your audience responds in order to verify that you are working with the right segment. Continue building audiences as your market analysis uncovers new demographics that could become customers.

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