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What is a Target Audience (+How to Identify Yours)

  • Andrew FolklerAndrew Folkler

When you’re creating any kind of content – an ad, a blog post, a video, even just a social media post – it’s essential to have your target audience in mind. 

After all, you cannot just pick a group of people at random and hope for the best. Having a well-defined target audience helps save you and your company time and money so that your message reaches the right people. It also allows you to create content that is relevant and interesting to your audience, rather than just throwing a bunch of stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks.

The challenge is that figuring out your target audience is easier said than done. And once you know who your target audience is, how can you be sure that you’re reaching them effectively?

In this post, we’ll walk you through the process of defining your target audience, and explain how to create content that truly resonates with them. 

But first, let’s take a quick look at the definition of a target audience. 

What is a Target Audience?

A target audience is a group of people with shared interests and characteristics who are most likely to need your product or service. They are the people you have in mind when creating your content and sales material. It is important to note that while target audiences and customer avatars are both used in branding and messaging, they are pretty different.

A target audience is a broad categorization of the people you want to present your offer to. They may be people of different acceptable demographics but still within your target range.

A customer avatar, on the other hand, is a detailed description of a single person who embodies your target customer. This person has all of the traits and interests of your target audience, making them the perfect representation of who you’re trying to reach.

From a broader perspective, you could say that your customer avatar is the ideal prospect that you would like to do business with, while your target audience represents a group of several different customer avatars clustered together. 

What are the Benefits of Defining Your Target Audience?

By knowing who your target audience is, you are able to direct your message to the people who are ready to listen to you. Once you’ve zeroed in on your target audience, you can research what makes them tick. What are their interests? What are their pain points? What keeps them up at night? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you create content and messaging that they will find relevant and valuable.

Here are three major benefits of defining your target audience.

Cut Down on Marketing Expenses

By targeting a specific group of people with your marketing, you save money on advertising. You won’t have to waste time and money marketing to people who are not interested in what you have to offer. If you were selling boats, you wouldn’t try to sell to a family that lives in the desert. When you are writing your marketing material, you want your audience to feel like you are talking directly to them. If your marketing material is written to speak to everyone, no one will connect with your content. 

Your Messaging Resonates Better

When your target audience is clear, your messaging becomes more resonant. Your audience will understand why you are talking to them and what you want them to do. If your content resonates with them, they will be more trusting of you and your brand. With that trust, they will be more inclined to believe that your offer can help them with their pain points. 

Close More Sales

When you know who your target customer is, it becomes much easier to close sales. You can tailor your sales pitch to align with what they are looking for and make them an offer that makes their pain go away. Since your message has established trust with your target audience, they will be more likely to do business with you. Closing more sales is often a result of resonating strongly with your target audience rather than reaching more diverse groups of people. 

How to Define Your Target Audience

Now that we know why you need a target audience and what the definition of a target audience is, let’s dig a little deeper into how to define your target audience for your business.

Step 1: Find Out Who They Are

The first step is to find out as much as possible about your target audience. Who are they? What does their life look like? Where do they live? What is their background? This information will help you create messaging that resonates with them.

One of the best ways to find out this information is to do research on their demographics. Use surveys, focus groups, interviews, and social media analytics to gather data about your target audience.

As you are collecting data on their demographics, be sure to list their:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Family
  • Geography
  • Income
  • Education
  • Politics
  • Religion

It’s important to note that when you list down their demographics, you are making a generalization. For example, you might be serving primarily women, but that doesn’t mean you don’t serve men. Target demographics are there to help you narrow down your focus so that your messaging can be tailored to that specific group of people.

Step 2: Uncover Their Problems, Challenges, or Desires 

In addition to listing your target demographics, you also want to find out your target psychographics.

Psychographics are the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of your target audience. What are their pain points? What keeps them up at night? What are their hopes and dreams? To uncover this information, you’ll need to do some digging. Look at what they are saying on social media, read their blog posts, and listen to their complaints.

Once you have a good understanding of what their problems are, you can start to think about how your product or service can help them.

To fully understand your target psychographics, you will need to look at six key factors:

  1. Their Goals
  2. Their Values
  3. Their Pain Points/Biggest Challenges
  4. Their Current Situation
  5. Their Problem
  6. Their Solution

Just like your target demographics, your target psychographics is more of a generalization than they are specific. Your clients will have different goals and values based on their experiences and their ambitions. With this information, you want to have a base idea of who you want to serve so you can tailor your message to them.

Step 3: Design Your Customer Avatar

Now that you have a good understanding of your target audience, it’s time to design your customer avatar. This is a fictional character that represents your ideal target customer. While your target audience is a group of different people who will likely buy your product or service, a customer avatar is a specific example of what one client might look like. 

Your customer avatar should have all the features of your target audience. However, here you will dig into specifics. You’ll want to know their name, age, occupation, marital status, and other pertinent information. You should also know what they like and don’t like. What are their favorite books, movies, and foods? What is their political affiliation? What is their religious affiliation?

For example, let’s say an entrepreneur is trying to sell a subscription newsletter to financial analysts. Their customer avatar might look like this:

Name: Thomas

Age: 43

Marital Status: Married and Father of 2

Occupation: Financial Analyst for a Bank

Income: $120,000/Year

Education: Graduated from Yale with an MBA

Politics: Conservative

Religion: Protestant

Goals: Thomas wants to be able to take his family on annual vacations and have enough money saved up for his children when they go to university.

Values: Thrifty, Honesty, Prudence

Pain Point/Biggest Challenge: Keeping up with the latest industry trends and news.

Current Situation: Has to spend a lot of time keeping up with the latest news and doesn’t have time to read in-depth articles for hours.

Problem: Cannot keep up with the latest industry trends and news. The research takes too much time. Busy with his family and his job, Thomas does not have the time to be as thorough in his research.

Solution: A subscription newsletter that summarizes the latest industry trends and news every week.

Now that you have your customer avatar, you can think about what messages will resonate best with them. You’ll want to use their language and talk about their challenges in a way that they can understand.

Creating a target audience is the first step in creating a successful marketing strategy. Once you know who you are selling to, you can start to think about the best way to reach them. Tailoring your message to your target audience is essential for getting them not only to see your product or service but also to want it. But where do you find people in your target audience? 

Step 4: See Where They Hang Out 

Now that you have a good idea of who your target customer is, it’s time to start thinking about where they hang out online. You could look at social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn or industry-specific forums and websites. You might find networking groups through Meetup, professional and trade associations, or even in-person events. 

Once you know where they are, you can start to think about what kind of content you can share there that will be interesting and useful to them. You’ll also want to make sure your brand is represented well on those sites. You can achieve this by posting consistent content to ensure that your audience repeatedly sees your material so they will remember your brand. 

Step 5: Clarify the Benefits or Solutions You Offer

In order to convince your target customer to buy from you, you need to make sure you are clear about the benefits or solutions you offer. Too often, entrepreneurs focus on their product and not on what the customer stands to gain from using it.

When creating content, make sure to highlight the ways in which your product or service can help your target customer solve their challenges or reach their goals.

Making it clear what the customer stands to gain from using your product or service is essential for getting them interested in what you have to offer.

Step 6: Understand What They Don’t Want 

Along with understanding what your target customer wants, you also need to know what they don’t want. This can be anything from a competitor’s product to an opposing political view. When creating content, make sure to avoid talking about anything that could turn your target customer off. 

This is where your target audience’s psychographics come in handy. You will know what pain points they are struggling with, and you can focus your message on those challenges specifically. 

Step 7: Establish Trust With Your Target Audience

One of the biggest challenges for any entrepreneur is establishing trust with their target customer. This is especially true when selling a new product or service.

When creating content, make sure to focus on building trust with your target audience. You can do this by being honest and upfront about what you offer, as well as by providing valuable content that helps them solve their challenges.

For example, if you are selling a subscription newsletter to financial analysts, you could talk about your own experience in the industry. You could also write articles that help them improve their research skills.

Providing valuable, informative, and relevant content is one of the best ways to build trust with your target audience.

How to Create Content for Your Target Audience

Just how do you create amazing content for your target audience? Here are a few important tips to help you get started.

Find Topics Your Target Audience Cares About

Before you can start creating content, you need to find out what topics your target audience cares about. The best way to do this is by doing some research and paying attention to the things they are talking about online. This is an excellent opportunity to take a second look at your target audience’s pain points. What can you do to help them make that pain go away?

Research the Kind of Content They Prefer

Once you have a good understanding of the topics your target audience cares about, you can start to think about the kind of content you can create. You’ll want to make sure you are creating content that is interesting and useful to them. You can do this by thinking about the types of challenges they are trying to solve or the goals they are trying to achieve.

Create Content for Different Parts of the Funnel

When creating content, it’s crucial to think about the different parts of the funnel. Not all content is created equal, and you’ll want to make sure you are targeting the right content to the right people.

At the top of the funnel, you’ll want to focus on creating content that is interesting and introduces your target audience to your product or service. As you move down the funnel, you’ll want to focus on creating content that is more specific and helps your target customer understand how your product or service can help them solve their challenges or reach their goals.

Leveraging Your Target Audience

Knowing your target audience is fundamental to growing your business. It will help you create better content, but you can also use it to inform your marketing and sales strategies. When creating content, make sure to keep your target audience in mind. Tailor your content to their interests and needs, and you’ll be well on your way to reaching them.