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Beginner’s Guide: How to Define Your Target Audience

Target Market

Before we jump in and explore how to define who your target audience is, let’s define what a target audience is in the first place.

Target Audience: A particular group of people, identified as the intended recipient of an advertisement or message. Also called target population or target market.

Whether you are selling diapers or residential lawn mowing services, it’s essential to know who might be interested in your product or service. If you are selling diapers, your target audience is going to be parents, care givers or anyone that might be responsible for caring for babies and small children. On the other hand, if you own a residential lawn mowing service, your target audience will likely be homeowners, renters or property managers. Sometimes you also need to factor in “when” to market to specific audiences. For example, promoting a huge Back-to-School sale in February probably isn’t going to be nearly as effective as doing it in July and August.

The process of defining who and when to market your product or service to can provide a much higher rate of return on your investment. Winging it and hoping for the best can be an expensive mistake. Fortunately, in today’s digital age, it is much easier to find out if your message and marketing methods are working.

Market Segmentation

When working with clients, Alane Matthews’ marketing team typically starts by reviewing ways in which a market can be segmented; this is followed by asking questions to get a better idea of what motivates those consumers. The infographic below helps us explore ways in which a market can be segmented.

Now that you have a better idea about who your target audience is or is not, it’s time to ask some fundamental questions.

  1. What is important to your audience?
  2. Are you customers trying to solve a certain problem? If so, what is are the challenges they face?
  3. What benefit of your product or service solves their problems?
  4. Who do they trust?
  5. Where do they currently get your product or service from, if anywhere?
  6. What are your competitors doing successfully and what are they failing at?
  7. What drives them to make buying decisions?
  8. Where do they get their information?

Understanding your target audience, who they are, their purchasing behaviors and which networks they use will greatly help you formulate a strong marketing plan. You will then be able to develop focused marketing campaigns that help increase brand awareness and encourage brand loyalty.

Key points to remember:

  • You can’t be everything to everyone. You can try, but you will likely fail.
  • Who you sell to is just as important, if not more important than what you sell.
  • Do not alienate potential customers that don’t fall into your “perfect” target market.
  • Statistics are great, BUT consumers are human beings with emotions and biases.

If you need assistance defining your target audience or developing a marketing strategy, the team at Alane Matthews Web Strategies is here to help.