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5 Ways to Find and Engage Your Target Audience

A strong grasp on your target audience is super important.

It cements your business with a rock-hard foundation that’ll fortify all its future activities.

Whether you’re crafting a new product, cooking up copy, or dishing out content to draw in clients and customers, a white-knuckle grasp on your target audience is an absolute must.

Without it, your business is like a weak, unconditioned boxer. You scrape a few good hits due to luck, but eventually a few hefty shots will leave you kissing the canvas.

And that isn’t fun.

So here are 5 ways to find and engage your target audience to ensure that your business has a muscular foundation that supports all its activities.

Ready? Great!

Let’s go.

Develop a Killer Customer Profile

Selling products and services without knowing your customer is like rock climbing while blindfolded. It’s pretty dangerous.

That’s why the first step to becoming acquainted with where your target audience is and how to go about engaging them in the most useful way is to develop a customer profile.

Your customer profile isn’t a few generic sentences strung together about your customer. It’s an in-depth look at your typical customer that should include:

Demographic information: Usually information on age, gender, ethnicity, income and marital status.

Psychographic information: Dives deeper and expands on demographic information. Usually information on hobbies, interest, values, lifestyle, and attitude.

By combining both types of information in your customer profile, you’ll know exactly who is buying, and why they are buying.

A marketing company called Experian increased a client’s conversion rates by 10% which resulted in an opportunity to create more than $756,000 in extra revenue.

And guess what? Customer profiling was an important part of their strategy.

Want a done for you worksheet that’ll get you creating killer customer profiles in no time? Check out this viral, easy-to-use template.

Find Out What Keeps Them Up at Night

Marketers often take a stab in the dark at what their audience is fearing/desiring the most.

They think “I feel this way about this problem, so everyone else must too.” This is known as the false consensus effect.

Diving into a market with this attitude is like diving into a pool… that has no water. You’ll be in for a really rough landing.

[tweet_box design=”default”]Every potential customer/client is going to be drawn to you by an agonizing pain or scorching desire that keeps them awake at night.[/tweet_box]

They might want to finally get down to writing that book, tightening up their physique, or lose themselves in love again.

And it doesn’t have to be a huge problem. Maybe they’re just looking for a reliable virtual assistant, or they want to know how to write compelling blog posts.

Understanding this pain or desire better (no matter how small or big) than you competitors will give your business a huge boost.

Gathering insight into your customer’s need is simple. You can:

  1. Ask them. Send out surveys, blast out emails. If you’re a real go-getter, go out and interview them.
  2. Track their behavior. Use keyword research and heatmaps to see where their core interests lie. You can even keep an eye on popular books or viral pieces of content in your industry to find out more.
  3. Use BoardReader. It’s a site that helps you find the most popular forums on the web. You can use it to search for posts with pain signalling words like “please help,” “problem” or “need advice”.

Your findings will be extremely useful when it comes to creating things like lead magnets, copy, and new products.

Chill Out at Their Favorite Spots

The next step is to find out where you target audience likes to hang out. This will let you know where, and how to approach them.

Start by keeping these basic questions in mind:

  • What type of events/conferences do they attend?
  • What are their favorite websites and blogs?
  • What search terms do they use?

You have a variety of tools at your disposal:

Google Alerts

Setting up an alert is simple; you’ll be done in a minute. It’s effective because you get a lot of informational bang for your buck, and the more alerts the merrier. Setting up multiple alerts will keep your inbox flooded with information on where your audience hangs out.

Twitter Search

Search for a keyword that your target audience tweets about. You’ll have a good grasp on where they like to hang out online and what they consume by simply looking at their tweets. You can then tweet on similar categories or comment or guest post on blogs.


Buzzbundle is a simple but powerful piece of software. All you do is give a range of keywords or phrases to observe and BuzzBundle will bring up all the relevant blog posts, tweets, and forum posts.

Take a Peek at Your Competition

If someone has a similar product/service to you, chances are they have a similar target audience as you. Which means a quick glance at their business can tell you something about your own.

When sneaking a peek at your competition keep your eyes peeled for:

Their customers feedback on social media. What social media channel do most of their customers like to interact on. And more importantly what are they saying?

Their market positioning. What’s their pricing like? Why do customers buy from them? If you could offer something extra, would your target audience be willing to pay more for your product service?

Answering the two things above will reveal some of your competition’s weaknesses and strengths. Leaving you better equipped to attract your own target audience.

Have a Thorough Look at Your Business Behind The Scenes

You can’t reach your goals without knowing where you currently stand, and business is no different.

Sifting through data about customers/clients you’re currently doing business with can lead to great results.

Have a look at your current customers and ask yourself:

  • Where are your leads coming from?
  • What are you seeing the least ROI from?
  • What is convincing your customers to buy from you?
  • How much are people spending on average?
  • Who is your average customer?

Answering these questions will immediately give you some real powerful information about your business. You can then capitalize on the data and instantly increase your business.

Let’s use my freelance writing business as an example.

  • Most of my leads are coming from guest posting and cold emails.
  • I’m seeing the least ROI from paid ads.
  • My customers are convinced by seeing my writing on other sites.
  • Clients usually spend between $250-$600. Blogging and copywriting services are the most popular.
  • My average client is a small, service-based business in the 0-6 employee range who knows a thing or two about marketing.

Now these questions seem really straightforward, don’t they?

Here’s what I can deduce from answering them:

I should invest more energy in content marketing and cold emailing as they generate the most business. Paid ads should be tossed, or I should learn how to improve them so they provide a decent ROI. And since blogging and copywriting services are the most popular, I should focus on improving those skills and heavily marketing them because that’s what my target audience is buying.

Because it’s based on what’s happening in my business at the moment, acting on the feedback above will almost guarantee growth.

Try answering those questions for yourself right now and see what you can learn.

How do you go about finding and hooking in your target audience? I’d love to know, especially from my fellow freelancers out there!

About Hassan Ud-deen

Hassan Ud-deen is a freelance blogger and email copywriter (who likes to be called \"The Wordslinger\"). He helps businesses use content to grow. You can find out more about him on his or if you need help with your blog posts or copy, shoot him an email or connect with him on Facebook.

10 thoughts on “5 Ways to Find and Engage Your Target Audience

  1. Hi Hussain,

    Thanks for introducing me to some new tools. BoardReader for one.

    I’m not one for keywords or SEO in general. I’m not totally against it. I do add keywords to my URLs. But SEO is often a distraction and can lead to misinformation. I know this isn’t a mainstream view. But I think keywords often do the opposite of helping you engage with your target market. This involves getting to know inner thoughts.

    However, your other ways resonate. I’m often to be found loitering in comments sections, Twitter feeds of influencers, riding hashtags, watching for what’s gnawing at the minds of potential readers.

    It’s also important to know where you can take your customers to. And how they’ll be different when they get there. Knowing that can help you target potential clients more accurately when it comes to finding potential buyers.

    Great to see you here again, Hussain.


    • Hey Tom, How are you?

      Yeah I’m not too big into SEO myself, especially when in your startup or early growth stages. But I do believe it has its place later on, once traffic has matured and you’re generally more visible online.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  2. Great article. This shouts out to ask for referrals from existing clients! (Warm referrals where they call or email the new contact recommending you!)

    • Agreed Jim,

      Referrals can really spike your business. They’ve been a huge help for me, and the best ways to get referrals…

      Is to give kick-ass customer service that people love. Go that extra mile.

  3. This is all sound advice and I agree that you need to know your audience. My concern is that I am just getting started. While I now have a website/blog up and am about to publish my first book online early next year, I have no “testing” history. Meaning, how in the world can I dig deep enough to know my audience’s demographic/psychographic profile without previous sales (and lost sales) that would help me determine what kind of positioning activities on my part will lead to desired behaviors?

    My novel is about a Border Patrol agent in the 1990s, and it will be part of a series that goes back to the early 1900s. So I’m thinking that a marketing strategy targeting individuals interested in 20th century American history would be a good idea, since I’m looking at the impact of historical events on my fiction. But where do I go from there? What is the next step?

    Thanks, Hassan, for an informative post.

    • Hi Joe,

      If you’re getting started and don’t have a solid pool of customers for data, you could look at competitors. Who has a similar audience to yours? Then look at how they sell to that audience and what other interest that audience has.

      From there you can develop your own hypothesis about potential customers.

      Once you secure your first few sales, you can then ask questions and conduct research to get more accurate, actionable data for yourself.

      I’d advise you to check out this publishing blog by Steve Scott. It’s crammed with info on marketing your books etc.

  4. I agree that it’s really important to know your audience. Many coaches I have talked with actually refuse to zero in on their customer profile because they’re afraid of limiting the possibilities. But in fact, they ARE limiting themselves because without a clearly defined market, it’s almost impossible to find that market. So your suggestions of how to find out more about them is excellent. This came up with my clients so much that I created a course, “Clarify Your Target Market in 30 Days” so clients could get this piece of the puzzle solved once and for all. It’s the starting point for all of the marketing. Thanks for sharing this info, Hussain.

  5. Hi Hussan,

    Timely article for me – thanks for writing it!

    You are correct – getting the target marketing right is vital. Once we have that, we can then fashion a message that speaks exactly to the wants of our audience.

    As someone who is going through this process myself now (with a new venture), I can confirm that I’ve found it a struggle, like many others.

    But once we have clarity we can power ahead, totally clear on the messaging our tightly targeted audience wants to hear.

    Thanks Hussan – great post with lots of juicy tips!


  6. Absolutely masterpiece article.Looking forward to see more useful and informative post in future. Thanks for giving knowledge about this post…Keep posting.

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