• How to Identify Your Target Audience

Finding the right customers for your business is crucial to its success. When you concentrate on the people who are most in need of or interested in your product or service, there is mutual benefit: You allocate your resources to the right efforts, and your customers spend their money on what they actually need. It is important to identify your target audience, so that you can maximize the effectiveness of your marketing. This post will go over the definition of a target audience, and provide some guidelines for identifying and understanding yours.

How to Identify Your Target Audience

What is a Target Audience?

A target audience is a specific group of consumers that will be the most receptive to your products, services, and promotions. The specificity of the group is based on factors like age, location, income, and more. For example, if you are a physical therapist, your target audience might be athletes who are recovering from injury; senior citizens looking to maintain mobility; or middle-aged men and women with back pain.

Niche Market vs Target Audience

Niches are smaller and more specific groups within a target audience. While every business should have a target audience, not every business needs to have a niche market. Some businesses find their niche market by actively seeking one out; others stumble upon it naturally. Some niche markets are so lucrative that they become a business’s target audience. Others simply continue to be the group in which a business specializes while at the same time serving their larger target audience.

Why is a Target Audience Important

It is important to have a target audience because the language, channels, and information you use to communicate with and appeal to one demographic may not be as effective with another. Also, you are better off thoroughly meeting all of the needs of one specific group than meeting only some of the needs of a lot of different groups. Having a target audience gives you direction in your marketing, facilitates more consistency in your messaging, and allows you to deepen your connection with your customers.

How to Define Your Target Audience

Defining your target audience allows you to efficiently market to the people you know you can impact. Here are three steps to take that will help you define your target audience.

Identify Problems and Needs

The first step in defining your target audience is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Identify what problems and needs they have for which your business is the solution. Think specific needs. Do they need fast service or 24 hour customer support? Do they have kids and need special accommodations? What daily activities do they perform that you can make easier for them?

Profile Your Current Customers

To define your target audience, take a look at your current customers. What do they have in common? Repeat and loyal customers can give you great insight into the types of people you should target. Look at broad and narrow similarities. If your customer base is really diverse, you might need to give your business some more time for patterns to develop. Or, you can segment your customer base into a few different types of customers and do some experimentation to see if you can gather any information.

Observe Your Competition

Another way to define your target audience is to observe your competitors. Scroll through their business website, social media feeds, and identify their best selling products or services. Get a feel for who they are targeting, and see if that demographic fits your business. If it does, you may be able to learn a thing or two about your target audience. If it doesn’t, you can learn how to further distinguish your business from theirs.

Understanding your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is not the same as understanding it. After all, being an expert in your field doesn’t exactly equate to being an expert on your target audience. It is important to learn as much as possible about your target audience—their lifestyle, habits, preferences, needs, dislikes, favorites, and more—and to constantly be updating that information so that you can provide superior service. Here are two ways to better understand your target audience.

Immerse Yourself

The best way to understand your target audience is to immerse yourself in it. Host and attend events where you can converse and interact with them. Use social media to engage with your customers and followers, familiarize with their jargon, and understand what’s important to them. You can learn a lot about your target audience members not just in how they interact with your business, but also in how they interact with each other and with other businesses.

Look at the Data

Consumers don’t always know what they like. In fact, we may think we have one preference, only to find that our actions are in line with a different preference. This is why you should use Google Analytics or other analytics platforms for your website and marketing activities. Data will identify behavior patterns of your customers and business website visitors. You can see which pages they frequent or which channels they’re coming in. This provides you with a solid understanding of your target audience, that you can  preferences, that you can leverage for marketing success.

Identifying your target audience is an essential part of marketing your business. With this knowledge you can connect with the right people, and enhance the quality of those engagements. Start defining and understanding your target audience so that you can make the most of your precious time—and theirs.

Kristen McCormick
Kristen McCormick
Kristen is the Content Marketing Manager for ThriveHive, where she geeks out daily over SEO, organic traffic, and A/B testing. When she's not equipping business owners and marketers to get their name out there through effective content, she's out pedaling the streets of Boston on her beloved bike.

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