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How to Determine Your Target Audience

Let me stop you before you say “My target audience is everyone.” You may have already said it quietly to yourself before clicking on the link to this blog. However, it’s not true. Whatever product, service or concept you’re selling, not everyone is going to buy it. In fact, most people will not. That’s not a bad thing — it just means you need to determine your target audience. And we’re here to help you do it. 

What is a Target Audience?

A target audience is the group of people who you’ve voted “most likely to buy your product.” An example of a target audience for something like a sword replica shop (yes, they’re real) is “male fantasy comic book fans between the ages of 23 and 35.” 

Unless your product has an extremely specific niche, you will likely have multiple target audiences. That’s OK! Multiple target audiences are normal, especially if you’re selling items to both men and women, or you’re a B2B brand with varying levels of service. There’s always room to narrow down and often room to expand. 

Start With Your “Why”

We know this sounds like one of Simon Sinek’s TEDTalks, but we’re not trying to say this in a jargon-y way. 

Before you sit down to determine a target audience, you’ve got to ask yourself why you’re in business in the first place. 

What is the problem your business is trying to solve? Write down the answers to this question. Start with the primary answer, then break it down. Pretend you’re in the room with an extremely inquisitive five-year-old who keeps asking you “why?” and keep answering the question until you can’t answer it anymore. When you’ve done this, the “who” should become apparent. 

“But how do we get a who from answering why?” Easy. If you’re talking about the problems you’re trying to solve, you’ve likely got a person in mind who experiences those problems. 

Let’s go back to that replica sword shop, for example. “Why are you making replica swords and selling them?” is the question. The answer could be “because I hear at conventions that swords are a part of costuming people struggle with.” That answer clues us into your “who”: you’re able to pull from your memory who complains about sword building the most. They’re likely the ones who would benefit from your store. 

It’s not always this cut and dry, so market research is crucial here as well. 

Build a Few Profiles

Clearly, you had someone in mind when you established your business. What does that person look like? What do they like to do? Consider all the different types of people who would have the problem your business aims to solve. If your business is already established, consider the people who have already used your product or service and found it valuable. Think about who else could benefit from your offerings. 

These are the key factors to consider when creating demographic profiles:

  • Age 
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Education
  • Interests

Narrow it Down

Now that you have several beautiful demographic profiles for every type of customer, it’s time to narrow it down to the ones you want to focus on. See if there are any themes between your profiles that you can use to merge them. 

You should also consider your variety of services and goods. Going back to our sword store example: if you open up a line of fantasy swords based on leading female characters, you’ll likely need to add a target profile of women to your messaging! If you’ve got multiple products and services, you don’t have to go all in on one demographic. This can lead to disjointed messaging and brand confusion for people who might be interested in your services but don’t see themselves represented in your branding. 

Take some time with each profile, and remove ones that might not be the best fit. Make a top list of 2-3 profiles you want to target, and remember that each one will need to be targeted a little differently. 

Congratulations! You’ve found your target audience. The next step is to target them through brilliant marketing campaigns. Don’t worry — we’ve got that covered. Call the On Target team at 407-830-4550 or contact us via our online form to get started.