What Is a Target Audience?

target market

No matter how great your business’s products or services are, you need a comprehensive marketing strategy to help spread the word. While you may be tempted to market your business to everyone or simply guess to whom you’re marketing, these would both be costly mistakes for your business. That’s why finding a target audience is so important—it’ll give you deep, crucial insight into who your customer really is, what their habits are, and how you can better reach them.

In this guide, we’ll discuss in detail the target audience definition, how to find yours, and how deeply understanding your target market can benefit your business in myriad ways.

Target Audience Definition

A target audience, also called a target market, is the group of people or specific demographic to which your product or service most appeals. They are the group most likely to purchase from you and the group to whom you want to market.

Target Audience Examples

Let’s say you’re a retail candle company. Your target audience would likely include women who are interested in interior design and probably over the age of 18. This would be due to the nature of who uses your product as well as the concerns with using the product safely.

Or, perhaps you’re a business accountant. Your target market would be business owners, CFOs, and other people within companies who helm the process of submitting taxes. They would also be within the state in which you are licensed to do taxes. 

Why Is Knowing Your Target Audience Important?

Knowing your target audience is so important because it enables you to market directly to the people most likely to engage with your company and purchase from you. It will determine if you’re spending your time correctly, and, if correctly identified, could help grow your customer base and boost your revenue.

It will also make sure that you’re using your marketing and advertising budget efficiently so that you don’t spend money on audiences with whom your product will not resonate.

How to Find Your Target Audience

There are a few different ways you find your target audience. These are some of the most common and accessible ways to do so:

Rely on Analytics

Savvy business owners who take advantage of web analytics tools are able to get insights about the customers they’re serving. Different platforms—Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter, and more—offer analytics suites that can give you information including the gender, age, location, and more of the people who most often engage with your business.

Survey Customers

The best resource about your customers? Your customers themselves. Ask customers to complete a survey after they purchase or through an email to tell you about themselves, their habits, and what they like or don’t like about your product. Consider incentivizing your customer to provide information with a coupon code at the end of the survey.

Look to Competitors

If you have direct competitors, try to get a sense of who their customers are to inform your own choices. You might be able to glean information in unexpected places, such as the people who comment on their social media posts.

Do Deep Market Research

The more you know about the market in which you’re doing business, the better informed you’ll be when determining your target audience—that’s why conducting a thorough market analysis is so important for any business. 

Once you have an idea of who your target audience is, learn everything you can about them. There is lots of research available about the motivations and habits of certain generations of shoppers—for instance, Gen Z and millennials. A simple search could bring you a treasure trove of information that will help you shape your target audience profile.

Consider Multiple Target Audiences

It’s extremely possible that you might have different target audiences within your company. This could happen for a few reasons: First, you might have different products that serve different niches; alternatively, there might be several uses for your product or service that are important to multiple audiences for different reasons. Be open to this possibility so you don’t inadvertently ignore an important subsect of your target audience. 

Building a Target Audience Profile

Just answering the question, “What is a target audience?” isn’t enough. Understanding basic information about your target audience can provide a good foundation but really getting into their profiles to understand who they are, where they are, and why they do what they do is paramount.

Get specific with your target audience’s demographic information. This can include many different elements, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests
  • Occupation
  • Language
  • Life stage
  • Family size

…and plenty more. 

But psychographics[1] are important, too. This includes why customers purchase as they do, why they’re willing to spend in a certain way, what kind of ethics or concerns they have, and more.

As you put together these pieces, you’ll get a more 360-degree view of your target market. These insights will then determine how you market your business—rather than trying to appeal to everyone and reach them on every platform, you can pinpoint the places that will most resonate with your target audience and plan your marketing strategy accordingly.

How Knowing Your Target Audience Benefits Your Business

Knowing your target audience can guide you toward important business decisions. Here are two example scenarios in which this information can help you.

Retail

If you’re a retail business, understanding your target audience can help drive sales of certain products when you market them individually based on the people who are more likely to buy them. Instead of marketing your products as one batch, you can focus on them based on their characteristics with the information you have about who is using them. 

B2B Services

Even if you don’t sell individual products, it’s very helpful to know your target audience demographics so you can develop more tailored services. More data will also help you develop different tiers of service that can more comprehensively serve the groups most likely to purchase from you. 

Advertising and Marketing to Your Target Audience

What do you do with all of that data about your target audience? Implement it to give your business an advantage. After all, you have to reach that audience in order to drive sales.

Using Targeting Advertising

Your target audience demographic information can push you toward effectively implementing an effective advertising strategy for your business. Once you know who your audience is, you can also learn where they consume their information. This may be online through social media platforms, through email campaigns, physical mail or promotions sent to their homes, or possibly TV or radio ads.

More than likely, your marketing strategy will encompass several of the above platforms. And within each broader category, you’ll want to get even more specific to best reach your audience. For instance, for digital advertising, platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads enable you to target users based on their demographic information. If implemented correctly, you’ll be able to reach your target audience effectively and spend your ad money more efficiently. Your target audience should also dictate the platforms on which you advertise—if your users use Instagram or TikTok instead of Facebook, your strategy should reflect that.

Additionally, consider designing your advertisements to appeal to your target audience. Get a sense of what they’re attracted to both visually and in terms of copy to make sure your ads resonate with your intended audience. Again, this is where market research comes into play.

Creating Marketing Programs

Along with implementing a strong advertising strategy based on your target audience, you should also be designing other types of marketing plans with that profile in mind, too. This may include experiential marketing initiatives, partnerships, and more.

Getting the word out about your brand takes more than a few well-placed ads. More than ever, consumers want to know what brands stand for and what sets them apart from their competitors. Getting your business’s name out there in meaningful ways, whether through events, partnerships, or promotions, can help your intended audience both notice and choose your brand.

The Bottom Line

Knowing your target market is immensely important: it can truly be the key to reaching the consumers you need and boosting your revenue. It may take some work—and it definitely will need some refining, no matter how confident you are—but, at the end of the day, it’ll be worth every second you spend on it.

However, if you take away one thing from understanding your target audience it should be that it’s not fixed. Your target audience can change—people’s interests change, their motivations change, their life stages change, and more. Plus, as new competitors emerge, you may find that the people consuming your product shift, too. Keep actively collecting data about your audience, their desires, and their preferences.

Then, as you learn, make sure you’re shifting your marketing to reflect these changes. Marketing will only be effective if you’re targeting the right audience.

Article Sources:

  1. Blog.hubspot.com. “How to Use Psychographics in Your Marketing

Meredith Turits

Meredith Turits is a contributing writer for Fundera.

Meredith has worked as a writer and editor for more than a decade. Drawing on her background in small business and startups, she writes on lending, business finance, and entrepreneurship for Fundera. Her writing has also appeared in the New Republic, BBC, Time Inc, The Paris Review Daily, JPMorgan Chase, and more.

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