How to Define Your Target Audience

How to Define Your Target Audience

Your target audience is your ideal customer.

When you’re first starting up a business, it can be tempting to try to sell your product to anyone who’s willing to buy it. However, your results will less haphazard and more optimized for stable long-term growth if you make a concerted effort to define your target audience right off the bat.

An important point to make here is that defining get your target audience doesn’t limit you to only serving that particular audience – it just enables you to serve the majority of your customers better. Any customers that don’t fit the constraints of your target audience are just perks!

If you’ve already been in business for a little while, you most likely have an idea of who your target audience or ideal customer is. They are the repeat, loyal customers that you see in your business the most, who respond naturally and authentically to your branding and products or services. Whether or not you started with a strategy, some demographics are more drawn to your business than others. For example, if your branding uses traditionally feminine colors and script fonts, you may attract more women than men as customers.

Creating copy on your website or social media channels with your target audience in mind allows you to connect with that audience more deeply. As humans, deeper connection – even if it’s to a brand – makes us more loyal. In the business setting, reading messaging that resonates with target customers inspires more customer loyalty. By targeting your messaging to your ideal customer, you improve their experience, and improve your potential to attract repeat customers. When repeat customers continue to have good experiences with your brand, they’re likely to become a referral source and recommend your business to friends or family – more members of your target audience. We’ve talked about this concept before in the context of defining your marketing funnel, or how someone who’s never heard of your brand goes through different stages to become a customer.

Now that we’ve hopefully convinced you how important defining your target audience is, we’ll give you some practical tools to define it.

1) Look at trends in your current customers.

When you’re looking at your current customer base (preferably repeat customers), what patterns stand out? Look at the demographics of your customers, how they originally heard about your business, and their purchasing habits at your brand, as well as other brands. Thinking about your customers in this way allows you to develop the persona of your ideal client, which helps you empathize with their frustrations and needs in order to be able to communicate with them better.

2) Do some research.

Market research can sound intimidating, but it can be as simple as a few Google searches. If you own a physical storefront, do some research into the demographics of where your store is located using a tool like Claritas Zip Code Lookup to be able to attract local customers. For service-oriented businesses, a good starting place is an industry analysis that aggregates data for an overview of a particular industry (i.e. photography; acupuncture; consulting).

3) Test everything.

Whether your business is new or has a few years of experience behind it, testing is the most important part of honing your brand to fit your target audience. Testing takes into account branding (images, colors, logos, fonts, and copy), timing (of social posts, email newsletters, etc), website calls to action, and more. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I wonder why this didn’t work” or “I wonder what would make this better,” stop wondering and start testing! Testing new messaging or concepts will give you valuable feedback into what your target audience likes, or doesn’t like, so that you can keep improving and building deeper connections with your customers to encourage repeat purchases.

When you speak to your target audience, they listen and respond. Defining your target audience by looking for patterns, researching, and testing, allows your brand to develop deeper connections and optimize for stable, long-term growth.

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