The Ideal Customer: How to Find Your Target Audience


by Stjepan Bosnjak | Sep 15, 2022

Unless you’re selling oxygen, not everyone needs what you’re offering. So, the magical question is: Who does? Men? Women? Children? Old or young? Before building your brand, services, or products, you must know exactly to whom you’re going to offer it. The marketing journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – identifying your target audience.

If you’re not reaching out to the right crowd the right way, connecting your ideal customers to your brand, products, or services will be like throwing darts at a moving target – in the dark. Businesses and marketers need to identify who their ideal customer is; otherwise, all their efforts will be unfocused, without purpose, and miss the mark.

Scroll down because we’re about to let you in on some insider tips and tricks and walk you through how to find your target audience step by step to get the most out of your marketing efforts.

First Things First: What Is A Target Audience?

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In marketing, a target audience refers to your main customers and potential customer base – the individuals that are most relevant to your business and, therefore, the ones you should focus your attention on and try to reach and appeal to.

Your target audience is your ideal customer – the people most likely to be interested in your service or product and fit a specific demographic or a set of behaviors that make them a perfect fit for your offerings. It’s a cluster of people with similar traits — the key one being they have a need that your product or service solves and are, thus, most likely to convert from leads into real customers.

You can look at your target audience as your North Star – it should guide your entire business and marketing efforts, from your products/services and brand voice to your marketing, social media, and content strategies and campaigns.

Target Market vs Target Audience: What Is the Difference?

 

 

 

While the terms target market and target audience are often used interchangeably, they refer to different things and knowing both is key to creating digital marketing strategies that convert.

A target market is a wide range of customers with shared common characteristics that are likely to be interested in your products or services. For example, working moms between the ages of 25 and 35. While there might be some demographic similarities, the target market is a less-defined group of end-users than the target audience. A target audience is a subset of a target market – it’s more narrow, granular, and specific, such as working moms inside the same age range but with little free time and an interest in fashion.

Your target market is who your product or your service is generally intended for, while your target audience is an audience segment within your target market you are trying to reach and appeal to with your marketing efforts and activities like campaigns, advertisements, and promotions.

Getting your brand, product, or services in front of as many eyes as possible sounds tempting. However, “the more, the merrier” is not always true. The more specific you get about your target audience, the more tailored and focused your business and marketing strategies can be. Although a broader selection of ideal customers might help you reach a wide audience, casting too big of a net might means you may overlook the handful of potential customers with a higher chance of buying your product.

Why Is Finding Your Target Audience Important?

Many digital marketing campaigns flank because they fail to define and get to know their target audience. Identifying a target audience is the basis for your marketing campaigns, as it will define and shape all your decisions. The types of platforms, marketing channels, formats, and messaging you’ll want to use will all depend on the specific target audience you want to reach, attract and convert through your campaigns, which is essential for achieving ROI on your efforts.

Consumers are also more likely to trust brands that offer personalized interactions. Identifying your target audience gives you the power to truly understand the people you are trying to reach, communicate your marketing message better, and custom-tailor your approach to connecting with them. The target audience should guide all your marketing, branding, and on-site conversion efforts, such as ad copy, content, and calls to action.

Hence, not knowing who the potential buyers of your product or service are is a sure way to miss out on sales – all your marketing efforts will be fruitless without a specific audience in mind. But what if you aren’t sure which audience you should target? Or, what if you’re targeting the wrong crowd? Keep reading because we’re about to show you how to pinpoint your target audience easily.

How to Identify Your Target Audience In 7 Steps

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Before you start any marketing endeavor, you need to get your target audience down to a T. Who do you want to reach and appeal to? Who needs your products or services the most? These are all key questions that finding your target audience will answer. From there, you can learn more about what interests them, how to relate to them, and what drives them, so you can speak to them the right way and make them an offer they can’t resist.

You will probably need different target audience segments for different campaigns. Whatever the main goal, you can easily find your ideal target audience by using several tried-and-true methods and following these simple yet crucial steps:

1. Tap Into Your Current Audience

The best place to look for your target audience? Your own backyard. Rather than starting from scratch, you can use what you already have to define your target audience. Dig into your current audience customer base and examine it to see where there is room for some nip & tuck. Use analytics tools, your website, social media, and purchasing history data to segment your target market into smaller, more granular groups based on demographic, preferences, or behavioral traits that align with the goal of your campaign.

For example, you can tap into the pool of promising or inactive current customers, people who follow you on social media, are subscribed to your email list, or leads who have performed some qualifying action, such as visiting a landing page for a specific product.

2. Weed Out ‘Till You Find Out

Sometimes, knowing what you don’t want is the first step to figuring out what you actually do. So, you can start by determining who your target audience isn’t in a specific campaign or advertising strategy to eventually narrow it down to the right crowd, and avoid investing your time and money on market segments that won’t be receptive.

You can use the same recipe when you start getting to know your target audience on a deeper level – instead of focusing all your efforts on what your audience wants, think about what they definitely don’t want and what they would respond to negatively, too.

3. Research the Market and Analyze Your Competitors

Burning consumer trends and behavior are great references, so digging around Google might get you the industry intel you need to find your target audience. Detailed market research can help you uncover gaps in the market, industry, target customer pain points, buying motivations, etc., and discover exactly who you should pitch to, how, and where.

You can use various tools like Google Analytics, although even simple customer surveys or Q&A sessions with your customers or followers can go a long way and help you gather audience insights.

Sneaking a peek into what your competitors are doing and who they are marketing to never hurt anybody –sometimes the grass is greener on the other side. A thorough competitive analysis can give you a heads-up about which audiences might be worth targeting, identify the weaknesses and strengths of your rivals, and then offer your audience something even better. After all, you likely share a lot of objectives and maybe even target audiences.

4. Create Your Customer Persona

Finding your target audience without resorting to ineffective generalizations can be challenging and creating audience personas can help. Buyer personas are fictional customers representing your target audience. Some even assign alliterative names to their buyer/audience personas to make them more humanizing, real, and memorable.

Once you identify your audience personas – generalized representations of your ideal customers – you’ll know exactly who you are trying to reach and, thus, determine the best way to appeal to them. The result? Personalized and relatable marketing efforts that truly resonate with your ideal audience.

5. Think About What You Have to Offer

Your solution might be a someone’s dream come true – there are people out there turning stones to find what you’re about to give them. So, identifying the benefits of your product or service can point you towards the crowd who would get the most out of it – your target audience. Put yourself in your potential audience’s shoes.

What group of people would benefit the most from your offering? Whose problem, challenge, or need are you offering a solution to? This will help you narrow your criteria down to the folks that have the most to gain from your pitch and, thus, leads that are most likely to react positively to your marketing efforts and ultimately convert.

6. Don’t Overthink It

Resist the compelling urge to overcomplicate things – the simplest answer is often the right one. Who would be most motivated to respond to your ad, offering, or call to action? Who gets the most out of what you’re offering? Even thinking on the most basic level, in terms of the first person you know that comes to mind, can help – that person is the embodiment of your audience persona.

Then, all that’s left to do is figure out what market groups and types of target audiences that person belongs to according to demographic characteristics. Use their interests, marital status, income level, job title, purchase behavior, and other personal characteristics that define them as a consumer to guide you in the right direction.

7. Dive Deep

The best marketing strategy ever? Caring.

When you know your audience, your audience knows. The secret to effective marketing lies in deeply understanding and addressing your target audience‘s interests and concerns by creating specific, custom-tailored, personalized experiences that directly influence their purchase decision and your conversion rates. It’s about knowing who your main customers are and understanding them so well that the product or service sells itself.

This way, you’ll end up with customers that don’t need to be forced into action because your product or service is speaking to their purchase intention and filling their needs naturally. They eventually become loyal advocates – a free marketing team for your brand that even do some work for you through recommendations and word-of-mouth.

Tailor Your Marketing Plan to Your Target Audience for a Winning Strategy

If your audience isn’t listening, it’s not their fault – it’s yours. The 21st century’s greatest digital challenge is connecting with the target audience in a way that benefits both of you. Armed with the right target audience at your fingertips, you can confidently work on creating highly personalized and tailored marketing to reach your crowd the right way, at the right place, and at the right time. It’s the holy trinity of digital marketing.

Remember that identifying a target audience is not a one-time thing. Audiences shift, so your target audiences, campaigns, and strategies should too. Find your target audience for each objective, then give them something they might not even realize they are missing with tailored marketing campaigns that directly address their needs.

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