Identifying Your Target Audience

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Your target audience cannot be every person. No matter how broad your customer base may be, there’s always a way to break it down – and that’s a good thing. By narrowing your target audience down to 3-5 groups, you’ll better understand your audience and create content that resonates with them. Resonating can lead to trust, which often leads to sales.

Breaking down your target audience: Who they are

To determine your target audience, ask yourself the following questions:

What does my company offer that people need or desire? If you sell a lot of products, think about your best sellers. To give you a better understanding, I’ll be using the example of a product personalization business throughout.
What kinds of problems do my products and services solve? When you started your business, there must’ve been a problem you thought your products and services would solve.
Who is currently buying from me? How old are they and where do they live? Breaking down by location is one of the easiest places to start to narrow down your target customer. Breaking down by age gives you an idea of where to market your products and services.
Which businesses are my biggest competition and why? Create a list of at least three of your biggest competitors, and make note of the type of content they put out to the market. Note what they do well and where they could improve to find areas where your company can shine. By examining their social media marketing alone, you may get a good sense of who they are.
What does my business do better than the competition? Now that you’ve seen what the competition is doing, think about what your company is already doing better and how you can do it even better.
What kind of people are talking about buzzwords surrounding the products and services I sell? Look at social media and other online forums to pinpoint the demographics interested in your niche and where they spend their time.
Which audiences would my company fit in with most? Consider age, behavior patterns, motivations and goals.

HubSpot defines a buyer persona as “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” One of the easiest and cheapest ways to do customer-based research is to administer surveys.

Use the questions you’ve answered above to craft one or more surveys designed to help you get into the mind of your target audience. You may find that you need to run two or three surveys, as you’ll learn something new from each. Surveying thousands of people will get expensive – start with 100-250 people and see what you find.

Keep your surveys clear and concise, and try to cap them at 10 questions each so as not to lose focus. Customize your questions and your target audience, then analyze your results with the easy-to-use survey tools.