20 Targeting Questions To Understand Your Target Audience

Updated June 24, 2022

When promoting any product or service, it's important to understand your ideal customer fully. By identifying their key characteristics, motivations and other differentiators, you can create more tailored messaging and target them more effectively online. Reviewing a list of targeting questions can help you develop a complete profile for your ideal customers and improve your marketing strategies. In this article, we discuss what targeting questions are and provide a list of targeting questions you can use within your own business.

Related: What Is a Sales Strategy? Template and Examples

What are targeting questions?

Targeting questions are questions intended to help a business and its marketing team better understand the targeted market. By asking targeting questions and defining your audience, you can customize your marketing messaging to better reach those individuals and increase the likelihood that they will take the desired action.

Read more: Target Market Analysis: What It Is and How To Make One

Questions to ask to know your target audience

Here are some questions you can ask to better define your target audience:

What demographic are you targeting?

Demographics refer to the specific characteristics of a targeted population, your target audience. Demographics typically include information about the audience's gender, age and marital status. It can also include information about education, family size and even income. Identifying these key, relevant data points helps marketing teams to tailor their messaging to best resonate with the audience. It also allows marketers to customize targeting for advertising.

Where does your target audience live?

There are a few reasons why it's important to understand where your audience lives. For example, you may want to create advertising campaigns that use the same type of vernacular that locals in that area use. It also makes it possible for you to customize marketing messaging to address any events in the area. For example, if you are an online retailer that sells summer apparel, you may want to use different messaging in northern and southern states in the U.S., especially if weather patterns are significantly different.

What industry does your target audience work in?

This question is most relevant if you have a business-to-business (B2B) business. By identifying the different industries you serve, you can customize marketing campaigns to most fully resonate with those audiences. For example, if your company manufactures labels for prescription bottles, you might sell to both the medical and veterinarian industries. In this situation, you need to customize the images and messaging to best meet their needs.

What hobbies does your target audience have?

This is an important question to ask yourself because it can help you better target your ideal customer online with advertising campaigns, as you may have a better understanding of the types of websites they browse online or the types of products they purchase. For example, display advertising is a popular method of advertising that allows you to display ads on the networks of publisher websites. If you sell running shoes, you might want to advertise on websites that market to fitness enthusiasts of all types, as runners often are interested in a variety of fitness activities.

How does your target market think?

By understanding how your target audience thinks, you can better understand their values and how to create messaging that will resonate with them. When you're considering this question, think about your ideal customer's lifestyle, personality type, behavior, attitude and values. To better understand how they think, you may want to develop your own list of questions and survey your current customer base. For example, you could ask them how they enjoy spending their time outside of the workplace or what is most important to them.

Related: What Is Behavioral Targeting?

How does your target audience communicate?

This is an important question to answer since it impacts the method you might use to reach them. Some audiences may prefer businesses to communicate with them through phone calls, while others prefer face-to-face communication. Conversely, if you're trying to reach a younger audience, you might want to consider using SMS text messaging to communicate with their audience. Regardless, it's important to know the best method for contacting your ideal customer and which method is most likely to elicit a response.

Related: How To Identify a Target Market

What challenges does your target audience experience?

It's important to understand the different obstacles your audience may be facing. By identifying your audience's challenges, you can shift your marketing messaging to focus on how your company can help them overcome that obstacle.

Who makes the purchasing decision?

This is a critical question to answer since it affects not only your messaging but also who you target with advertising. For example, if you sell children's apparel, then the person who makes the purchasing decision is typically a parent. If you work in a B2B business selling accounting software, then the person who makes the purchasing decision is likely someone working in the finance department or the chief financial officer (CFO). Identifying who makes the purchasing decision allows you to customize your messaging, images and ad targeting.

What motivates the decision-maker to make a purchase?

Once you identify the decision-maker, it's important to consider what motivates them to make a purchasing decision. Think about what motivations they might have to purchase a product or service, what objections they might have regarding making the purchase and what you can do to help them overcome those objections.

Were they buying from a competitor in the past?

This is an important question to answer because you may need to show how your products differ from your competitors' merchandise. By identifying your company's unique value position and how it differs from your competitors, you can highlight those key differences within your marketing messaging.

Additional targeting questions to ask

Here are some additional targeting questions you might ask to better understand your target audience:

  • What are your target audience's fears?

  • What do they most care about?

  • Who does the decision-maker go to when they need advice?

  • In what ways does the product or service you sell make your audience's life better or easier?

  • What does your ideal customer enjoy doing in their spare time?

  • What websites do they frequent online?

  • What types of content do they most enjoy online?

  • Where does your ideal customer go when they want to make a purchase?

  • What causes do they support?

  • What stores do they like to shop at?

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