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  • Writer's pictureElla

How to Identify your Target Audience: Marketing Tips and Tricks

Daniel, Digital marketing expert

Being the world's first Virtual marketing Assistant has allowed me to learn and grow a lot in the marketing industry, and I absolutely love sharing my journey with you!

If you've dabbled in marketing, I am sure you've had to, at one point, think about your target audience. And although I am sure you've identified it for your past endeavorers, do you truly comprehend what a “target audience” is? (hint: it isn’t just stating elements like “women ages 30-40 in NYC”...)

Don’t worry – it wasn’t a trick question. Many business owners make assumptions about what a target audience is and don’t put enough effort to really figure it out in a way that will bring value to their business and marketing efforts.

Throughout my marketing journey, I learned how vital it is to identify your target audience because it allows you to avoid mistakes, helps ensure your messaging is laser focused to your buyers’ needs, and fool-proofs your campaign targeting.

I want to help make sure you can scale your business by going over what a target audience is and some ways to easily and accurately identify yours.

Let’s get started!

1. Target audience vs. target market

Regardless of whether you have a new product or service, you must define your target audience if you want your marketing efforts to be successful. In short, your target audience is a group of consumers who are the most likely to buy your service or product.

Think about it this way. If you don’t know your ideal buyer, how will you know who to direct your marketing campaigns to?

Don’t confuse your “target audience” with your “target market”. (p.s It’s alright if you do; we’ve all done it at some point :) ). Your “target market” is the set of consumers that your company plans to reach through marketing efforts. Your ‘target audience” is a subgroup within your market where you direct specific campaigns.

Let me break that down for you.

Suppose you have an eCommerce business that has multiple different types and brands of clothing like ASOS. Your target market will be broad and include fashion lovers of all ages. If you want to run an ad for a specific stiletto heel that just came out, your target audience will be specific to high-heel wearers.

You will need to target mostly women of a specific age group, possibly those who have already shown interest in that brand. If you also target people who are interested in handbags, you will have an easier time not only converting but also upselling.

Does that make sense?

2. Examine customer data and segment your audience

Looking at your existing customers is the best way to begin defining your target audience since they have already bought your product or service. If you have access to your website’s customer data, segment your buyers by information like demographics, location, interests, and buying history.

When you segment your customers, you’ll gain an understanding of which consumers are the most profitable, their interests, and their reasons for purchasing different products or services. You’ll also be able to anticipate future purchase patterns by using predictive analytics and data to create a buyer persona.

If you don’t have access to your website’s customer data or don’t yet have customers, don’t sweat it! You can easily test your assumptions concerning who your target customers are by conducting Customer Discovery surveys to better understand their needs and wants. You can reach them through your followers and through relevant groups and forums. You’d be surprised as to how much people are willing to help if you only reach out and ask them to.

3. Create buyer persona

I am describing this section with a bit of caution... I will give you the full lowdown about buyer personas, but in parallel I will tell you that you don't really have to dig as deep as I have here... check out this post to learn what's the bear minimum you really have to do when creating your buyer personas...

In the meantime - here's the long version:

A buyer persona is an avatar representing your ideal customer and is composed of your target audience's characteristics, motivations, demands, and interests. You can use personas to increase the success rate of your marketing efforts.

Questions you need to answer about your target audience.

  1. Who are they?

  2. What are their pain points and challenges?

  3. What are their goals?

  4. How can your offering bridge the gap between their challenges & goals?

  5. What type of content do they consume?

  6. How do they wish to be communicated with?

  7. Where do they hang out (online/offline)

Here’s an example of a buyer persona.

“Susan is 33 years old, lives in Chicago, and works as a hairstylist with an annual salary of $35,000. Her hobbies include ice skating and hanging out with friends. She is active on Facebook and Instagram and likes to sign up for free demos online. She’s motivated by discounts and is worried about living paycheck to paycheck. Her challenges are a lack of disposable income and time”.

Check out this other example I created below for myself, when I started mapping out who are the businesses I can best support and I assist as a VMA:

4. Conduct market research and competitor analysis

Before you employ marketing campaigns to your target audience, you must conduct market research to see what is already out there.

Doing this will show you who your competitors are and how many of them exist in your industry. I know this sounds like a negative thing, but it really isn’t, because it shows you that there is a gap in the market and where it is, which is the perfect opportunity for you to grab! Remember, yours doesn't have to be BETTER, but in order to attract the attention you need to get prospects to buy in, it does need to have a DIFFERENTIATING ADVANTAGE that can serve as your unique selling point (USP). That is what we’re out to seek.

Consider who your competitors are targeting. What are their consumers’ pain points, and can you solve them? Pay attention to their social media platforms to see where, what, and how often they post, what kind of engagement are they seeing, and from whom. Make a note of which content works better on their channels, as well as if they use influencer marketing or not.

Use that data to create a marketing plan to catch onto trends that work and avoid making the same mistakes as your competitors. And once you’re comfortable doing that, you’ll shortly find opportunities to be leading trends rather than following them :)

5. Final thoughts

One thing is for sure: your target audience is not “everyone”.

I know figuring out exactly who it is may seem like a lot, but it really is vital for your business success, and is totally doable. And don’t forget - I’m always here to help!

Get started here to tell me about your business, and I’ll do the research and planning for you, so we can easily decide which platforms to promote your business on, provide solutions to your buyers’ pain points, and target the exact right audience.

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