How to find your target audience in 5 steps

One of the first things you need to do before marketing any product or service is to define your target audience. However, you shouldn’t just focus on your product. It’s also important to take into consideration your competitors and market. So how do you define your target audience?

What is a target audience?

A target audience is a group of people for whom a company develops its products and services. In other words potential customers. Generally, these people have similar needs and lifestyles or demographic characteristics. A more complete description of these characteristics and a more precise definition can be found in our article ‘What is a target audience?’.

How to define a target audience

Before you start to define your target audience, it’s good to know that you may have more than one. It’s important not to be led by feelings or what you want when you define your target audience. You need to come to realistic assumptions backed up by data. The more precise your definition is, the more precise you will be able to carry out your marketing campaigns.

Step 1: Get to know your product

To define your target audience, you first need to look at your product and/or service.

  1. What are your strengths or what value does it offer your customers?
  2. What is better about your product compared to the competition?
  3. What needs does it meet and which problems does it solve?
  4. What do you, your company and your product stand for?

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Step 2: Get to know your (potential) customers

Once you’ve really got to know your product and/or services, it’s good to ask yourself the following questions to identify your target audience:

  • Which people have needs or problems which can be solved by your product?
  • Which people do you want to address (or not)?
  • Which people fit your company (or not)? Who is free to go to your competitors?

Once you’ve answered these questions you can define your actual target audience. To do so, there is different criteria which can be organised using the following points:

  • Demographic characteristics such as age, gender or location
  • Socioeconomic characteristics such as education and employment
  • Psychographic characteristics such as interests, values and needs
  • Purchasing behaviours, for example how often certain products are bought or how important the price point is

These characteristics apply when defining your target audience for B2C. For B2B there are other important characteristics such as business size and industry. When defining your target audience, it can be helpful to follow sinus milieu.


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Step 3: Get to know your competition

Take a look at the competition in your industry, how they communicate and what their target group(s) is (are). One of the best ways to do this is to look at their social media where they communicate with customers. Learn to recognise the differences between you and them and use them to target another audience (or the same audience, just better).

Step 4: Get to know your market

Another basic step when defining your target audience is to get to know your market. If you haven’t already done so, carry out some market analysis and define your chances and risks, as well as current trends.

Step 5: Collect data and define your target audience

The biggest challenge when defining your target audience is to find data for each area. It might help to read up again and use the traditional methods of market research:

  • Surveys: Create online surveys which you can distribute on your own channels or special online platforms. What’s important is that you formulate the questions to be specific and easy to understand. You also need to target a sufficient number of participants so that the survey is representative.
  • Interviews: Carry out interviews with people who represent your target audience. It might be useful to create personas or buyer personas in advance. This helps you in your search for interviewees.
  • Online research: Use freely available statistics and, if needed, your website’s analysis data if you use Google Analytics or alternatives.

Use your current customer data, if you have it available. Finally, to define your target audience, collate all the data together. Define your target audience as precisely as possible and remove any people who don’t match it from your research on your competition and market (or add others).


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Keep using the data when you’ve finished identifying your target audience

Once you’ve got your target audience, you can use the information you’ve gathered for your marketing purposes. One thing you need to think about is using the right channels. Whether it be online or offline, Facebook or TikTok, via a newsletter or your blog. How you make use of social selling or find the right content marketing strategy for B2B is important and you can use our links to help you.

How you manage your content strategy will also depend on your target audience. If you’ve got your target audience right then you will get more visits and sales, as well having lower costs since your scattered losses are minimised.


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How to check you’re reaching the right target audience

Online analysis tools such as Google Analytics are powerful tools you can use to check your marketing campaigns are being run successfully. By using the statistics you can see where your customers come from and how they behave. For example, this could mean if they buy something from you.

Shop solutions also regularly check how large a basket is and how often there are repeat purchases and whether and when customers decide not to continue with a purchase. Many newsletter tools also offer you a chance to see your open and click rates. On social media you can also see comments and likes alongside the usual statistics which gives you an idea of how successful your marketing is. The trick here is to collate all this data and interpret it correctly. Use your knowledge to regularly check you’re reaching the right target group and optimise your results.

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