How to find your target audience
Got amazing ideas for marketing campaigns? Fab! But they’ll only succeed if you know your target audience. Here’s how to find yours.
Target audience is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot in marketing. Like an intangible concept, it can feel difficult to nail down. In reality, you should consider your target audience alongside your marketing strategy in order to make it as effective as possible.
Great marketing can generate an audience, but if only half of them actually buy at the end of it, how effective has that marketing really been? Taking steps to identify and reach your audience will result in more sales. Here’s how to find your business’s target audience.
What is a target audience?
Your target audience is the group of people who would benefit the most from your product or service – the ones most likely to buy from you. These groups are defined by their demographics, such as age, gender identity, profession, and income.
For example, an affordable fashion company is likely to have a target audience of young people, either students or low income.
B2C vs B2B target audience
It’s important to distinguish whether your target audience is B2B or B2C. Do you have customers who buy your product as an individual, or a client whose company uses your product? If you’re B2C, it’s likely that:
- You have a short selling process
- Your content focuses on evoking emotions
- Members of the general public buy your product/service
If you’re B2B, it’s more likely that:
- You have a longer or recurring buying process
- Your content focuses on sharing knowledge in a niche market
- Companies buy your product/service
We’re focusing on B2B target audiences in this blog, but there’s still useful information for B2C businesses. With a B2B target audience, the aim is to build a relationship with the brand/client, building trust and sharing knowledge. If they choose to buy your product/service, it wouldn’t be an impulsive decision as with many B2C offerings.
How to understand your target audience
In order to truly understand your target audience, you need to step into their shoes. A simple exercise you can do is to answer a few questions about your brand, such as:
- What problem does your product or service solve?
- Why is there a need for your product on the market?
- Who are your current customers?
- Who are your competitors?
- Why are you different from them?
For example, different airlines all offer the same thing: flights. But they differ vastly in their price points. This indicates that their target audiences have different levels of income.
These questions should hopefully be quite easy to answer, and from them, it may help to create a sentence describing your product, target audience, and problem your product solves.
For example, [product] helps [target audience] by [solving problem].
Doing this means you’re easily able to look back to it as a reference point when you start developing marketing content to target your audience.
How to find your target audience
So now you know roughly who your target audience is, it’s time to use data to back it up. The following methods allow you to get tangible data on who your audience is, which you can then use to create a buyer persona (more on that later on).
Perhaps the most obvious route to take, but if you want to find out about your audience – ask them! It doesn’t need to be obvious, but a simple demographic section in an anonymous survey will already tell you a great deal. And tailoring the survey so that every question is valuable will have the best results.
Simple questions like where and why they use your product can give you a deeper insight into your target audience. An incentive (like a prize draw or discount) can help increase participation.
Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools for analysis, and for good reason. It breaks down data into easy-to-understand statistics and graphs so a simple glance will provide insight. It’s mostly used for demographics, but it also has an Affinity and Market Segment, which shows what category your brand aligns with the most. Although this was originally made for TV adverts, it can be useful to further understand your target audience.
Outbase also has a database with analytics, but you’re able to search it with different data points, meaning it has more potential than the basic overview on Google Analytics. Different searchables mean you can be specific in your search, and is especially good for B2B brands in finding your target audience and mapping them effectively. Try it for free.
Monitor social activity
Many brands (and potentially future clients) use social media to connect with other companies, particularly if it would be mutually beneficial. Many people interacting with your social media may be employed by brands, so you could also use this method to see if there is any correlation in that specific audience. For example, if most people working in a marketing department of a brand are female, you can tailor it for them.
Competitor analysis is a whole topic of its own, but simply put: if you know your competitors’ target audience, you can be fairly certain that a similar group of people will also be interested in your product. This may be trickier with B2B – as B2C customer analysis is common and easy to find online – but it is possible.
One way is to use the methods previously mentioned, such as looking at their social media, and asking your clients in a survey if they know of any competitors or have been approached by any. Although it may seem a little overboard, this is often one of the most effective ways to find your target audience.
Creating a user or buyer persona can be done at any stage of finding and understanding your target audience – it may even be an idea to make one of your ‘ideal’ customers before beginning the journey to find your target audience, and one after. That way, you can compare and contrast the two, and have tangible evidence of what you’ve learned.
A buyer persona is an ID of your target audience, including their demographic and any other information you think will be helpful; the more detailed, the better. Here are the basics of their demographic:
Now start to dig a little deeper with these prompts:
- Personality (you could use ‘what if’ scenarios here)
- Frustrations (relevant to your product)
For B2B target audiences, keep in mind things like:
- Purpose of their brand (and how it fits with yours)
- Pain points and challenges within the brand
- What a day in the life of an employee looks like
You can create these online or simply write in a document. Bear in mind that you’ll probably have more than one buyer persona.
Can you have more than one target audience?
Yes. The people who use your product won’t be solely from one demographic, particularly if your product can be used for multiple purposes. For instance, a middle-aged woman using Facebook to connect with friends is very different to a young startup company using it to advertise. These would be two (of many) target audiences.
If you have multiple products, you’ll also have multiple target audiences. For example, Adobe is generally aimed at creatives, but can be split into different target audiences for each programme (e.g. Illustrator for graphic designers, Premier for videographers, and Acrobat for more general business use) and probably even further into different demographics within each program. While having so many different audiences can feel overwhelming, it’ll only make your marketing content and activity more relevant – and more likely to result in sales.
How to find your target audience
Finding and knowing your target audience takes time and effort, but the results are worth it. You can only create effective marketing if you know who it’s for.
Outbase makes the whole process easier and more streamlined. Our searchable database makes mapping your target audience efficient, meaning you can reach the right people, with the right message, at the right time. See how it works.