How To
18 min read

How to Find Your Target Audience & Reach Them Better

Soniya Khubchandani

August 10, 2022

Advertisers spend $37 billion annually on ads that don't connect them with their target audience.

Well, let that sink in for a moment.

That $37 billion could have been spent on products and services people want, but unfortunately, it wasn’t.

The reason is simple: businesses often get so caught up in their product or service that they forget the people using it.

They get stuck in their little bubble, trying to convince themselves that everyone loves what they do.

But the truth is that just a fraction of people need your product, and if you want your business to succeed, it's essential to find out who those people are.

It certainly sounds like a lot of work, but it's not.

This guide will teach you what a target audience is, how to find them, and how to use that information to create better content and more effective marketing. This will help you get closer to your ideal customers, which will help you grow your business.

What is a target audience?

A target audience is a group of people likely to be interested in your product or service. You can identify your target audience by looking at demographics, psychographic, and behavioral data. We will talk about these types of data in the next section.

For now, let's consider a few examples to better understand the concept of a target audience.

Example 1:

Let's say you are a clothing designer and want to create a line of women's clothing. Your target audience might be working mothers interested in fashion but don't have the time or energy to shop around for clothes. If you design a line of stylish yet comfortable clothes that fit these busy women's lives, you will have a better chance of making a sale.

Example 2:

If you are selling shoes, you may want to target people who spend a lot of money on shoes or parents with children who need shoes. You could also decide you want to market to people who have recently purchased a new pair of fancy designer shoes.

In both examples, you have decided to target a specific audience. You can then create your brand marketing strategy around this audience.

What are the types of target audiences?

There are three main types of target audiences: demographic, psychographic, and behavioral. Each has its characteristics.

Demographic and geographic

Demographic characteristics describe the basic facts about a person. They include gender, age, ethnicity, education level, and family status. It's generally straightforward to target an entire demographic group.

For example, your target audience is clear if you sell shoes and want to reach women between 25 and 45 years old who live in the United States.

Keep these in mind when choosing a demographic

  • Demographics don't always provide a clear picture of what people want or need.
  • Demographics can be difficult to target because they are broad and general.
  • Demographic groups are not static; they change over time as people move, get married, have children, and so on.

To reach women between 25 and 45 who live in the United States, what do you do if one is Hispanic and another is Asian?

There are ways around this problem by using microsegments (see below), but it can still be tricky.

Demographics help get a general idea of what people want or need. They are also helpful in targeting people who have already shown an interest in your product or service. However, demographics are less effective at attracting new customers than other data types, such as psychographics.

Psychographic

These characteristics are more subjective and less concrete than demographic ones. These include lifestyle preferences (such as sports fan or frequent traveler), attitudes (like liberal or conservative), and interests (such as hiking or cooking).

Psychographics are more effective at targeting people who have not yet shown interest in your product or service, but they help you understand what types of customers you already have.

They can also help identify new growth opportunities by looking at how different groups respond differently.

Considering the above example of selling shoes to women, knowing their age and location isn't enough. You need to understand what shoes they are looking for (are they athletic, casual, or dressy?) and how much money they want to spend on them (do they want designer shoes or something more affordable?). Psychographic data can help with this.

Behavioral

characteristics describe how people act rather than who they are. You can use behavioral data to predict how users will behave in the future and what they have done in the past. This can be useful for identifying new opportunities to see which products are most popular among a specific group or improve existing outcomes by seeing what features are missing.

So, to keep selling shoes to women, you need to understand why they buy shoes, their lives, and how your products fit into that picture. This will help you create content that speaks to them on an emotional level and encourages them to buy from you again.

When it comes to audience data, there's no such thing as too much. The more information you have, the better you can serve them and grow your business.

What are the benefits of knowing your target audience?

Knowing your target audience is essential for any business. By knowing who you're selling to, you can create marketing campaigns that are more effective and resonant with your audience. 

So why is figuring out your target audience important? Here are a few reasons to define your potential audience to help your brand with your digital marketing efforts.

Make your marketing plan and strategy explicit

Knowing your target audience will help you create a more effective marketing plan. You'll know what kind of content and messaging resonates with them, which will also help you create a strategy for social media, SEO, and other marketing channels.

Build rapport with consumers and communicate more clearly

When you identify your target audience, it's easier to communicate with them in a way that resonates with their needs. You can also tailor your marketing approach to speak directly to them.

For example, if you realize that your customers are millennials, it makes sense to use social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, where they spend most of their time.

Define your buyer persona

A buyer persona is a specific subset of your target audience, such as "mom who shops at Target" or "college student looking for new tech accessories." Creating a buyer persona helps you to understand your customers better and creates a more personalized marketing strategy by including specific details about their demographics, preferences, and behaviors.

Helps your campaigns reach the correct people

Knowing your target audience makes it easier to find and connect with the right people. This helps you reach more potential customers and build a stronger customer base.

For example, if you're trying to reach parents looking for products for their kids, then it's helpful to know the age range of your custom audience. By understanding this information, you can tailor your marketing efforts to a specific age group and create content that appeals to them.

Eliminate your expectations about your audience

We all have expectations about the people we hope to reach with our marketing efforts. These expectations can be based on gender, age, location, or other factors.

Unless you conduct in-depth market research on your audience before you launch a product, how will you know if it will appeal to them?

Influence product development

Understanding your audience can also influence the products and services you create. You might find that certain features are more appealing to your target market than others.

It can help you refine your product development process and create something people want to buy.

What is the difference between your target market vs. target audience?

A target market is a group of people who share similar characteristics and are likely to have common interests or respond positively to the same marketing campaign.

A target audience is a subset of your target market—a specific group of people you're trying to reach with a particular message, offer, or product.

For example, if I'm selling a new online course to help home cooks create delicious meals without spending hours in the kitchen, my target market would be people who want to eat more healthfully but don't have much time, like busy parents who love cooking and enjoy quick and easy meals that are healthy for their families.

Depending on your audience type, you can reach a variety of people. Businesses often segment their target audiences into different personas, fictional characters representing a particular type of customer persona, aka, buyer persona. In essence, you can describe your target market by finding the people most likely to buy what you are selling—your target audience.

Let's take an example of McDonald's target market and target audience for Happy Meals.

McDonald's, as a brand, is targeting kids. They have created a Happy Meal that has toys in it, and they are also promoting their food with cartoon characters such as Ronald McDonald. 

McDonald’s is trying to reach out to kids who like eating food because of the toys that come with it. The target market for McDonald's Happy Meal is children between 4 and 10 who love cartoons and toys!

However, as kids don't have the purchasing power, McDonald's targets their parents as the decision makers or target audience. The parents are likely to buy what their kids want and will go out of their way to get it.

McDonald's happy meal

This is why McDonalds promotes their Happy Meals through cartoons and toys so that kids will be more excited about eating there, and their parents will also come along with them because of this excitement!

As you can see, the difference between your target market and target audience isn't just semantics. Knowing these concepts' differences is vital to creating an effective marketing strategy to reach your ideal customers.

How to find your target audience

So now that you know who your audience is, how do you find them? Well, there are several ways:

Analyze current customers

To find your target audience, you have to start by analyzing the needs of your current customers. You can't expect to attract new customers if you don't know who they are and what they want.

One method is to create a survey for anyone who has bought from you in the past year and subscribes to your mailing list. Try to make it as easy as possible for your customer to respond—the more people respond, the better!

Questions to ask your customers to find your target audience

Ask questions that get at the heart of what you are hoping to achieve to narrow down your target audience.

  • What were they looking for when they bought your product?
  • How often would they consider purchasing again?
  • How often do they buy from you or your competitors?
  • How often do they use your product or service?
  • How much does it cost them (both money-wise and time-wise)?
  • What do they like most about your product and why?
  • What do they dislike about your product and why (if applicable)?
  • What do they think of the current state of your product?
  • How could you have improved their experience with your product?
  • Would they recommend you to their friends or family?

Once you've collected all that data, analyze it carefully and look for patterns in what people say about your brand.

Look at your followers on social media

When trying to figure out your target audience, it can be helpful to look at your followers on social media. Here's how:

  1. Start by looking at the demographics of your followers. If you have more than one platform, use each one's analytics to see what they say about the demographics of their users. For example, if you have a Twitter account and a Facebook page, you'll need to look at both data sets.

  1. Look at what topics people in this demographic talk about most often on each platform. Are they posting photos of food or memes? Do they post more political content than other users? This will give you an idea of what kind of content will most likely appeal to them.

  1. See what posts get the most likes, shares, and comments from these users. Do people like photos of puppies or inspirational quotes? The more engagement these posts receive from your target audience (and the less engagement they receive from other users), the better off you'll be!

It's important to note that not all of the most popular content for your brand will be useful for your business. Some of it might even be counterproductive. But by examining what does well with your target audience, you'll get a better idea of what they want and how they engage with social media platforms.

Dive into your Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool for websites and apps that lets you measure your website's performance. It's a valuable resource for helping you understand how users interact with your site, where they come from, and what they do when they're there.

It also provides information about your site's traffic, including the number of visitors, their geographic location, and other demographic information like age and gender.

While you can use Google Analytics to get a general sense of who visits your website (and why), it can also help identify specific people who might be interested in your offer.

You can also look at data points like bounce rate (what percentage of people who visited your page and bounce back to results without navigating to another page), time on site (how long people spend looking at your page), and exit rate (what percentage of people left after viewing any amount of pages).

You can even split-test different versions of pages to see which one gets higher conversions. This data can be beneficial for you to understand what content is resonating with the right audience, as well as which pieces of content need improvement.

Check Facebook Insights

Similarly to Google Analytics, Facebook provides a free audience insight tool that helps you analyze a ton of data about your Facebook page and how people interact with your social media.

While it gives you helpful performance data so you can see what is working and what’s not, you can also dive into the people who follow your page to gain more data towards developing your target audience.

Once in your Insights, visit the People tab to view the location demographics of your followers. Assuming that you have a lot of followers to get enough valuable data, you will be able to see what countries and major cities your followers live in. This can be another way to help decide or validate your location demographic section of your target market.

Analyze customer feedback online to identify trends

Identifying the trends in your customer feedback online will help you figure out the problems that need to be solved and who would want them solved.

To do this, look at what people say about you online and on social media—and make sure you're reading between the lines. If someone has a bad experience with one of your products or services, what about the product or service led to dissatisfaction?

If someone says something positive about your company, ask yourself why they feel that way. Is it because of something specific you did? Or is it because of some other reason? Maybe they like your logo! Whatever it is—make a note of it!

Take these custom audience insights and apply them to future marketing strategies. What can you do differently next time so customers have a better experience?

Finally, try using social listening tools like Mention to take it a step further. These will help you find out what people are saying about your company online in real-time.

Competitive analysis

Analyzing your competitors can help you learn more about your industry and consumers' wants. It can also help you narrow down on what makes your brand unique.

  1. Start by identifying your competitors. Think about who your target audience interacts with outside of your business. Are there any brands that share similar audiences? What platforms do they use? How can you reach them?
  2. Next, look at what kind of content these brands produce and how they reach their audiences. Is there something unique about how they market themselves? Do they have a social media strategy that seems particularly effective? What makes them stand out from the crowd?

These can help you define your brand identity and give potential customers a reason they should choose your company over others like it.

Know who isn't your target audience

If you're just starting and don't have a clear idea of who your target audience is yet, it can be tempting to try and appeal to everyone. The problem with this approach is that it will dilute your message and render it less effective—especially if you're trying to reach customers who are very different from one another.

The best way to figure out who isn't part of your target audience is by asking questions. For example, if you're selling dog toys, ask yourself: "Who would be least likely to buy my product?" Maybe it's someone who doesn't have a dog, or perhaps it's someone who already has enough dog toys. Either way, use that information to help you identify who isn't your target audience.

Keep refining your target audience as you gather data

As you gather more information about your target audience, keep refining it until you have a particular group of people in mind. The more data you collect, the clearer the picture of your ideal customer will become. You'll be able to see what they do and don't like about your product or service, how they use it—and if they're using it!

Ask yourself questions like: "What else do these people have in common?" or "How can I narrow my focus even more?" Don't be afraid to change your target audience as you learn more about it. For example, if you're selling dog toys and realize that people with cats also want your products, then add those customers to your target audience. The more specific you are about who will buy from you, the better off you'll be in the long run!

Questions to ask to define your target audience

Here are some questions to ask yourself and your team to help you define your target audience.

What are their biggest pain points and goals?

It is essential to understand what your target audience wants to accomplish, what problems they face, and their goals.

This can be very different depending on who you're targeting. You should also consider whether other products offer solutions for the same pain point or goal that yours does. You should know about them to find ways to differentiate yourself and convince customers why they should choose your product over others.

What benefits do you offer to solve them?

Once you've identified your target audience's pain points and goals, it's time to show them how your product or service will help them achieve those goals. This is where the value proposition comes in—what makes your offering unique and valuable to your customers? Why should they choose it over others like it?

Where do they trust to find information online?

What are the most trusted sources of information online? What's the best way to reach your target audience? You need to figure out where your customers go for information about products like yours. This is where you'll find out which blogs, forums, and social media platform sites are popular with your target demographic.

How to reach your target audience

There are many ways to get your message in front of the people who want to hear it. Here are some tips for getting started reaching your target audience.

Create helpful content for your target audience

Your content should be relevant, helpful, and interesting to your target audience. Look for specific questions or problems your target audience is facing and provide practical solutions to your content marketing. You can also create educational or entertaining content that helps people learn about a new topic or industry.

This can be as simple as writing blog posts that offer advice on how to use your product or as complex as creating an entire online course that teaches people how to use your product in their own lives. The more time you spend understanding what your customers need, the more insight you'll have into how they want to learn about products like yours.

Develop content for each part of your funnel

Create content for each part of the funnel as you build your audience. For example, suppose you're selling software and want to attract customers just starting their company. In that case, you might create educational content that helps them learn how to use your tools when new customers try integrating it into their workflow.

Remember that your audience is moving through the content marketing funnel as you develop content. Each stage has needs and interests, so tailor your message accordingly.

The more you can help customers understand the value of your product, the more likely they are to buy it. You can also make content that helps people decide if they need what you're selling in the first place. If they don't know how to use your software or where it fits into their business, they won't be able to get any value out of it.

Use paid advertising and social media

When people visit your site for the first time from an ad or social media, they're most likely looking for more information. That's why you should be ready with blog posts and other content that can help them out if they aren’t ready to buy yet.

You can also use Google AdWords or Facebook Ads Manager to target specific keywords related to your industry. That way, you can reach potential customers who are already searching online for answers about those topics or have shown interest and likes on Facebook about a certain topic.

Use Facebook Ads to create a lookalike audience, which looks at your existing customers and their audience demographics and characteristics to create a new potential audience with similar interests to market to that are likely to become a target customer for you.

Remember that a conversion goal is not just about getting people to visit your website but also getting them to sign up and become paying customers.

Once you get people to your website, use social media marketing to drive them further down the conversion funnel. You can offer valuable content on your social profiles (such as blog posts or videos) that links to your website. That way, when people click through and end up on your site, they'll better understand your offer and why it matters to them.

Influencer marketing

Reach more of your target audience by finding influencers in your industry or niche using influencer platforms and reach out to them to work together. You can see who their followers are with these platforms, which will help to choose the right fit for you and an influencer to collaborate. 

Influencer marketing helps your business get in front of your target customer by gaining access to a wider number of followers through influencers. Depending on your niche, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat are great social media platforms to work with influencers to become a brand ambassador that helps promote your content and business. 

You can use influencer outreach templates to get started that can help with emailing or messaging influencers until you find a good fit.

Target brand examples to help you define your target audience

1. Nike

Nike has two popular Instagram handles:

  1. Nike
Nike Instagram page

  1. Nike Sportswear

Nike sportswear Instagram page

Their audience is primarily composed of men and women between 18-35. They are highly active on Instagram and post frequently.

Nike Sportswear's account has over 7 million followers, while Nike has over 230 million followers.

Nike Sportswear's audience is more athletic and fitness-focused, while Nike is a lifestyle brand. This means that their content will differ depending on their target audience.

Both accounts share many of the same visual content, but they also have specific content tailored to their audience.

This shows that the company clearly understands its target audience and what they want to see. They use this understanding to create high-quality content that appeals to their audience and keeps them happy.

2. Starbucks

Starbucks 

Content created by Starbucks is aimed at a particular audience. They know exactly who their customers are and what they want to see by targeting primarily men and women aged 18 to 44 who are not looking for a quick coffee fix. Their target audience wants something more than just a cup of joe; they want to be able to sit down and relax while they enjoy their drink.

Starbucks has done a great job creating content that appeals to this audience. They offer free Wi-Fi so customers can sit down and enjoy their drinks while they work on their laptops or tablets.

They also offer the Starbucks Rewards program, which allows customers to earn free drinks by visiting the store and making purchases. Starbucks is always looking for new ways to attract customers and keep them returning.

3. Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts is a great example of a brand that has done an excellent job building it. They are known for their large donut selection, which includes everything from jelly filled to chocolate covered. They also offer a wide variety of coffee drinks and breakfast sandwiches.

The main differentiator for Dunkin Donuts is that they offer drive-thru windows. This makes it easier for customers to get their coffee on the go, which is especially helpful in busy morning hours. Their target audience is anyone in a hurry who doesn't have time to sit at a restaurant. They also try to appeal to families looking for something quick and easy on the go.

Their marketing strategy is very effective because they make it easy for customers to get their morning fix without leaving their car. This has helped them build an enormous following, which translates into millions of dollars annually.

Frequently asked questions about target audiences

What is the difference between a target audience and buyer personas?

A target audience is a group of people that you want to reach. A buyer persona might represent the target audience (like an average user), or it could be someone who's engaged with your product, such as a fan or advocate.

For example, if you're selling a product to dog owners, your target audience is all the people who own dogs.

Your buyer persona might be "Sophie," an owner of two Shih Tzus who has been using your product for years. Sophie loves her dogs and considers them part of her family, but she also wants to ensure they're safe.

Why should you define who your target audience is?

Defining your target audience helps you understand who will be more likely to buy your product, enabling you to determine if you're making the right product. It also lets you know how to present your product to your audience so they'll want to buy it.

How can you specify your target audience?

You can specify your target audience by defining who you want to reach. For example, if you're going to reach people in a specific age range, you might want to know if any particular websites or apps cater to that age group.

You can also specify your target audience by defining what they want out of your product or service. If you're selling a product and one of the things that makes it unique is that it's small enough to fit in your pocket, then talking about how small it is might be more effective than talking about all its features.

What is an example of a target audience?

For Copy.ai - an AI writing tool, the target audience is:

  1. People earn their living from the words that they write.
  2. People who spend a lot of time writing.
  3. Companies who use content to grow their business.

Copy.ai popular toolset

Conclusion on finding your target audience

Finding your target audience is crucial to building an online business. It's essential to find a specific group of people with a common need and want what you're offering. That way, when they discover your product or service, it will feel like it was made for them, increasing their likelihood of becoming repeat customers.

We hope this guide has helped you to find your target audience and has given you some ideas on how to approach them.

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