How to Define Your Target Audience (A Quick Guide)

finding-your-target-audience

Ladies and gentlemen…

If you can properly learn how to define your target audience and execute, then this is going to be one of the most important blog articles that you are going to read.

There are only 3 things that determine whether you have a successful business or not and that is picking the right combination between

  • Your Market
  • Your Message
  • And Your Media (Creds to Dan Kennedy)

And today what we are going to focus on is defining your market.

Put this into perspective…

You have the best scientifically-proven dog food with 10/10 stellar reviews and you are marketing on Facebook where there are dog lovers…

…BUT… if you are targeting people who don’t buy dog food…well…

 You Are Going To Get A Big Fat Zero From Them!

Now, that’s foolish example but choosing between the right and wrong target audience can make or break your business!

That’s why I want you to choose your target audience correctly for your specific niche so you can be one step closer to have overflowing money coming out of your bank accounts…

So let’s get started!

You can't sell to everyone!

So My Man Anthony, How Do You Define Target Audience For Us?

To put it simply, “target audience” and “niche” is just a fancy-schmancy word for the type of people you want to sell to.

So if you sell lipstick to teenage girls… well, your target audience is teenage girls! (Pretty simple right?)

Now it’s very important that you actually select a niche instead of selling to everyone because…

You can’t sell to everyone!

Let’s say for example you want to hire a freelancer to write your blog posts…

And both of them are equally skilled and will both give you equally great blog posts.

…But… they market themselves differently. 

So would you hire:

  • Just a regular writer who says he is a jack-of-all-trades?
  • Or a writer who says he is specialized in writing blog posts?

 You are going to pick the second option because…

He’s perceived to write better blog posts based on the way he positioned himself.

Even though they both have the same skill level. Same ability to write equally good blog posts. You are going to pick the second one because his target audience is for people who need blog posts.

This also applies when you try to sell your products.  Remember how Amazon was a niche of selling books online before it became the online Wal-Mart with prime delivery? (Yeah…)

That’s why you want to find your niche, especially in the very beginning.

So the proper way to define your target audience is to look at their…

  • Demographics (Income, where they live, etc.)
  • And Behavior…

And to be very specific in choosing the types of customers.

The more specific you get, the easier it is to sell but the fewer people you will reach.

Tip: Make sure not to go too niche because selling to 57-year-old woman with 4 dogs and does martial arts may be too small of a target audience for you to sell.

 So How Do I Choose My Target Audience? (With No Data)

If you have no data then you are going to have to do a lot of research.

And you have to find a potential market for these people and ideally choose something with 20% gut and 80% research (cause intuition can be very powerful sometimes…)

Ask yourself these questions

So these are the questions you want to ask yourself when you are determining your target audience…

Are there enough people in my niche?

You want to double-check that there are enough people in your niche that make your business viable to sell to.

If you start targeting generalized audiences (like cat owners only) at the very beginning when your business is small, it’s going to be really hard for people to buy from you.

Here let’s take a look at Google trends for “Dolphin Jewelry…”

google trend dolphin jewelry

There seems to be a potential for it, especially in Florida for dolphin jewelry since the search interests are up there.

Let’s take a further look at Facebook Audience Insights to see the potential of how many people are interested in this…

facebook audience insight dolphin

Now I couldn’t find a page popular enough to be “dolphin jewelry” but I did find out there are at least 2-3 million people interested in dolphins.

If we narrow it down to women and jewelry I’d estimate there would be at least 250,000 who would be able to match that… hmm… a possible market that we can sell to…

Do they have enough money to buy my products?

You want to make sure that they have enough money and income to actually buy whatever products you are selling.

If you are selling to kids, then you are going to have to be able to persuade both the kids and the decision-maker (aka their parents) to buy that product.

Will they buy repeatedly or will it be a one time purchase?

If you are a food store you are going to have to market yourselves very differently if you are selling diamonds because most people will buy diamonds one time in their lives (for a special occasion like a marriage.)

You also have to determine how often they are going to continue buying from you.

What is our competition?

Pay attention to who your competitors and what they are doing.

What will separate us from the competition?

What exactly is your unique selling proposition (USP?) Why would they choose you over a well-known competitor? Do you have better customer support? Faster delivery? Better products?

Look at how VEA tries to distinguish itself from its other jewelry competitors…

vea environmentally friendly

It seems by buying their jewelry you are able to help the environment compared to other brands.

Who isn’t my target audience

If you aren’t sure where to start you can determine who isn’t your target audience to help narrow down who you don’t want to sell to.

When you figure out who you don’t want to sell to it makes your viable audience much smaller.

For example, if you are trying to sell lipstick and you for sure don’t want to sell to guys or teenage girls… well, your lipstick target market just got a lot smaller…

Do they currently purchase similar products?

The biggest tell-tale sign that your business is viable if people are buying similar products to you.

It is really hard to introduce a brand new product they never heard of and not sure how to use than to just improve upon an existing product.

People You Can Relate To

When you choose customers that are similar to you, it takes the guesswork and researches out because you already understand them!

If you are a gym junkie and work out 5 times a week… well… you are going to be able to understand how much work that takes, the actual workout, protein powder, etc. and it would be a lot easier to relate to your customers if you are selling a product to them.

Are You Going For A B2B or B2C (Selling to Businesses or Customers…)

Another way to choose your target audience is to determine whether you are going to sell to a business or customer.

Selling to businesses and selling to customers is quite different. For a business, you might have to go through a lengthy meeting process whereas a customer will either have an impulse buy or you will just have to influence only one person.

It really depends on the product you are selling but just knowing who you are going to sell to narrow your target audience.

Long Term Potential Vs Short Term Potential

Let me explain what I mean by this.

As a business for sustainability, you should go for audiences with long term potential.

This means choosing an audience that will always be there (such as beauty or dating) or just choosing a business that will be able to produce profits steadily for you over time.

Short term potential means that it’s one and done. You don’t nurture customers. You don’t do anything except drive the sale.

This mainly applies to…

  • Affiliate Marketing
  • …And aggressive sales funnels…

And after they purchase from you… you never see them again.

There is a lot of money to be made but it isn’t sustainable unless you are able to find new customers to keep churning out and buying your product.

Both business models work so it’s important to choose which one you are going to do.

How Do I Choose My Target Audience? (With Data)

Okay, so maybe you already have an existing audience but it may not be the exact fit.

For example, you sell ice cream and market to the general public that you sell ice cream but you noticed most of your customers are college students…

Then… you should probably target and sell to college students!

Make it specific to them. Give them a student discount. Be a part of their school culture. And you know what? They would be much more willing to come and check out your store…

Here’s the type of data that you should look at when finding this stuff out…

Demographics You Should Look For…

  1. Age (How old are they)
  2. Gender (male or female or other…)
  3. Location
  4. Language
  5. Income (how much moolah they got to spend)
  6. Family
  7. Race
  8. Ethnicity
  9. Education
  10. Profession (What job they got)
  11. Marital Status

Some of these things may not be relevant to you. 

For example, 86.6% of Americans own smartphones compared to 83% African Americans but… if you are selling hot dogs at a brick and mortar store…

Then this data probably isn’t going to be helpful for you.

BUT… if you researched that 52% of Hispanic Households earn at least $50,000 a year, then this might be relevant for you if you are into real estate.

So pick and choose the data that’s relevant for you.

Here are the Types Of Behavior You Should Also Look For…

Besides the demographics of people, you should also consider the behavior of these types of people.

You want to get into the nitty-gritty of their lives to really understand your target audience like their…

  1. Interests
  2. Personality
  3. Favorite websites
  4. Buying motivation
  5. Spending power and patterns 
  6. Buying concerns
  7. Needs and aspirations
  8. Social Media
  9. Attitude
  10. Values
  11. Hobbies
  12. Lifestyles
  13. And behavior…

Now this was a giant list I just bombarded you with and this is how you use it…

Pick out the things relevant to you and do some further research on that.

That’s it.

Tools That Will Help With Your Research 

Google Trends

Google trends is also another way to help do some research for your business such as going on google trends and then in this case I am going to search up “cat”

Here’s what pops up on Google Trends

google trend cat

We can tell that there is a steady interest in cats (no surprise) and that a lot of them are from New Hampshire (who would’ve thunk…)

Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook audience insights is also another powerful way to research your audience.

All you have to do is go to Facebook Audience Insights (I think you have to make a business account) and then search up your specific audience.

For example…

fb-women-audience

We can tell that out of 150-200 million people at least 55% of women are on Facebook with mainly 25-34-year-olds.

And you can go into more depth searching up “cats” or “cat pages” and seeing what comes up.

You can also determine…

  • Page likes
  • Location
  • Education level
  • … and a lot more.

Claritas My Best Segments

If you are selling to a local business then you can use this free tool to determine the demographics in your area.

All I did was went to Claritas and in this case, let’s search up Seattle with a zip code I used to live in this specific area…

seattle-target-audience

And boom shaka-laka. I can gather some information about the type of people living around my area.

Use Your Website and Social Media Analytics

A lot of social media has its own type of analytics when you use either their paid ads or business profile on…

  • FB
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Linkedin
  • Youtube
  • Snapchat
  • …etc

They have their own analytics which you can track and optimize based on who visits your accounts.

Google analytics 

This only works when you have data for your website but you can easily use it to see which pages are popular and what pages most people are going to.

Like here’s some data for my brand new site (anthonynebel.com)

google-analytics

It’s still in the works buuut once you have more data you can have more direction on where you want to go.

After You Compiled Your Data Here Are Things You Should Consider Doing To Further Target And Strengthen Your Audience

Interview Your Customers

This is probably the best way to get an in-depth insight into what your customers enjoy and does not enjoy about your business.

The only downside is that it is very time-consuming.

Very… time-consuming. But at the same time, you can get valuable information by just talking to them and getting their opinion.

Plus, you start to figure out who your customers really are and get a better sense of who your target audience really is.

See how your audience navigates your website

You can also check out to see how your audience navigates your website.

You can use Crazyegg and see where exactly it lights up on what your customers are clicking on.

This helps figure out exactly what your customers are looking at and which products interest your target audience the most.

Look At Your Social Media Comments

Looking at your social media comments can be a goldmine!

If you have a…

  • FB group,
  • Reddit subpage,
  • Youtube comments,
  • Any place where you can communicate with your customers…

This gives you insight into what exactly may be interesting for your audience.

Create A Landing Page Dedicated To Your Target Audience

Now when you start growing it’s very important to make sure that you do focus on your specific audience with a specific landing page for them.

If you can create a personalized landing page for them, it is not only going to make them feel welcomed but it will also instantly build a connection with them making you seem a lot more trustworthy.

Consider Your Competition

You should also consider what your competitors are doing to see how you can differentiate yourself.

Look, if you noticed that your competitors are selling ice cream with dairy, ice cream with more sprinkles, and ice cream targeted for kids…

You could see if there’s a market for vegan ice cream and go after that audience.

Test And Split Test Your Ads

You are going to have to split test your ads if you want to figure out how you want to sell to your audience.

You aren’t going to know exactly which audience responds to which efforts.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of figuring out who really is your target audience.

Empathy Is The Driving Force

When you truly understand the customer, they will reciprocate the feelings by being interested in your website and products.

Yeah, people say “Empathy” but what exactly does it mean?

When you have “empathy” it means that you understand them in their shoes.

Their perspective on life, their thoughts, their feelings, and when you can understand that then you can be able to craft your ads in a way that lets those specific people respond to your ads.

Make sure you offer a clear offer

When you do decide to test your ad make sure that there is only one clear offer so that your customers don’t get confused.

You don’t want to confuse them with an overwhelming amount of decisions and cause them to get analysis paralysis (and then end up not even buying your product…)

Improve Your Conversion By Testing Out Different Traffic Sources

You have to really understand where your target audience is coming from and focus on that specific area.

For example, there are a lot of traffic sources like…

  • Email
  • Social Media
  • In-person
  • Online

And there is going to be one specific medium that they truly like.

And that’s where you want to focus all your efforts on.

 Continuously update research

If you found something that works, you have to continually test to see if there are better alternatives as well as making sure that you still have an audience.

Because people change and products evolve. You have to make sure you have an existing reason all the time to make sure that they stay focused on you and not go to your competitor.

Build a community

One of the fastest ways to target your target audience is to build a community.

A place where people would be able to join you and be able to interact with you and ask any questions.

Now the fastest and best way in my humble opinion is email (because you own that list.)

But you can always build a community through…

  • Social media (responding to their comments and questions)
  • Talking with them in person and helping them out
  • Helping them out online if they encounter a problem with your product or service
  • Going out on monthly meetings

There’s a ton of ways to build a tribe of people who would be loyal to you and that’s exactly what you want to create when created a targeting niche.

Examples Of How Companies Defined Their Target Niche

1. Nike

Here we can see exactly who Nike is targeting on their cover page…

made for athletes target audience

They made it very clear that their shoes and apparel are targeted for people who are into fitness and health (aka athletes.)

Now they used to niche themselves into shoes but were able to expand and now being able to target generalized athlete apparel now.

2. Netflix

Netflix decided to Niche themselves into selling “TV” on the internet below…

netflix home page

3. J Crew

Here’s J Crew with their target audience targetted towards people with higher-end fashion with a more preppy feel to it…

j crew home page

4. Save Mart

Well, as its name implies, Save Mart’s target audience is for people who want to save some money…

save mart home page

Their target audience is for people who don’t mind a slightly lower quality (compared to Whole Foods) in exchange for cheap prices they can get.

5. Ultimate Athlete Jiu-Jitsu

Here’s how Ultimate Athlete Jiu-Jitsu area decided to target their audiences…

jiu-jitsu-target-audience

Although there are people who compete here, this place is meant for casual “rolling” for people who don’t want to compete or for their kids to try out Jiu-Jitsu.

Conclusion

Target audience is really just a fancy term for picking who you want to sell to.

It’s always important to do some research before you pick one that is viable for your business cause… well… it would suck if you were selling a product that no one wanted to buy… right?

I go over some ways to research through Facebook Audience Insight and Google Trends and some sample businesses to see how they structured their audience.

Which example above did you think was the most unique? Let me know in the comments below!

anthony_lake

Anthony Nebel

Anthony Nebel is a full-time freelancer and copywriting expert. Join Anthony here on AnthonyNebel.com to learn how to make more sales with your website. Anthony has managed email marketing, web design, as well as copywriting for local business owners wanting to make more sales.

anthony_lake

About Anthony Nebel

I created this blog and now write high-converting landing pages for business owners looking to make more sales.

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