If you’re aiming for a target, you need to know exactly what you are trying to hit — that’s what helps you get your aim just right. Just ask any archer who’s always focused on the bullseye.
The same philosophy applies when finding your target audience.
When it comes to business, the target is your brand’s audience. Getting to know the group of people that you’re aiming your brand at is a huge help — not to mention a crucial element to your business success. If your brand isn’t appealing to your intended audience, then there’s not much chance of it succeeding.
There’s just one slight problem that many entrepreneurs face — defining your exact brand audience can be extremely tricky. Even if you’ve been in business for years, trying to pinpoint a target audience can still be difficult.
The bullseye might shift or change over time. What once was perfect aim could result in your arrow landing in a lake 30 feet past your target.
Keep reading to discover our seven actionable steps that will show you how to find your target audience.
What Exactly Is a Brand Audience?
Before we discuss how to find your target audience, let's discuss exactly what your brand audience is. It’s the group of people who are buying your products or using your services. Essentially, your customers!
Your target audience is going to be made up of people with similar qualities. For example, if you’re producing high-quality baby clothing and have a small store in Nebraska, then your products will likely be purchased by middle-class parents with children aged between 0-3 years of age who live in the Midwest.
There’s no reason for teenagers to be interested in your company, as you aren’t selling anything that would appeal to them — so that’s one demographic you can strike from your target audience list.
But what if your products or services aren’t quite that niche? Defining your target audience should still be pretty straightforward, you just might have to think a little bit harder.
How to Find Your Target Audience
Finding your target audience is a process and one which requires that you follow each step carefully.
Skipping or ignoring a step can lead to a badly-defined target audience that underperforms.
1. Carry out a brand audit
One of the first steps in identifying your target audience is to consider who your current customers are.
You should be able to figure this out quite easily by evaluating your product and analyzing what value it offers the public. Who wants to buy it the most? Who does it benefit?
However, it’s not just your own audience that you should consider when carrying out this research. You should also take a look at your competitors’ target audiences.
Although you likely offer similar services or products, there could still be some nuanced differences between the audiences you are targeting. Identifying these slight disparities can provide some key insights you could use to tweak your strategies.
By taking a deep dive into your target audience, you’ll be able to discover whether they’re actually using your brand. If not, the data gathered should make clear what needs to change.
2. Refine your target audience
Once you’ve completed your brand audit, you should have a good picture of who currently makes up your brand’s audience. However, you still need to ask yourself: Is it the ideal audience for your product/service?
In order to figure this out, you need to take a good, long look at the demographics that are currently in your audience and the ones you think should be within your current target. If these demographics don’t match up, then you’ll need to reconsider who you’re targeting.
Ask yourself these same questions over and over again — eventually, you’ll end up with your perfect target audience. Or, at least, nearly perfect.
3. Be confident in your decision
Are you sure you’re satisfied with this target audience? Like, really satisfied?
You need to be confident that targeting this audience will generate a profit. If you have doubts about this audience — whether they’re the right for your product or service or whether they can afford your products — then it’s safest to go back to step one and revaluate.
4. Define your audience personas
There’s no reason to think that your brand’s target audience won’t change over time — their needs, interests, and desires.
And when they do change, your brand may no longer be on your customers’ radars. To keep on target, it’s important that you create an audience persona or personas. These personas will contain certain characteristics, demographics, and interests that match those of your target customers.
Don’t keep this information to yourself — let everyone know. Then everyone in your company will be on the same page, targeting the right kind of people.
5. Make a plan, and start targeting them!
When you’re about to launch an exciting new marketing campaign, it’s sometimes hard not to get a little ahead of yourself.
Because if you let all that excitement go to your head, you could end up blindly shooting off campaigns and forgetting about your target audience.
To ensure each campaign reaches the right people, you need to know which channels your target audience is likely to check on a regular basis. Running your campaigns on these channels will result in higher user engagement.
How can you figure out what the best channels are? Check to see what your competitors are doing and where they’re rolling out their targeted campaigns.
The takeaway? Always have a solid, thought-out plan for your campaigns. This ensures that you’re aiming for the right target audience. Releasing a campaign without a plan is never a good approach!
6. Keep on analyzing
Consumers are always growing, developing, and adapting — so it makes sense that your brand’s target audience will also change over time.
Therefore, it’s vital that you monitor changes using a brand monitoring tool. For example, data collected by brand tracking will reveal if the same people are engaging with your brand or if a particular demographic has lost interest.
But it’s not just about losing audiences — you might win some new ones, as well! Audience segmentation is the best way to identify any new, promising audiences.
The ability to change and evolve in order to meet your new audience’s needs is what will help your brand become stronger. No matter which demographics you gain or lose, you’ll be rolling with the punches and making the most of new opportunities!
7. Build a relationship
The work doesn’t come to an end just because you’ve defined your target audience.
To ensure they’ll remain loyal to your brand, you need to build a relationship with your target audience.
Your customers will have varying wants and needs, and it’s your job to meet them. Thankfully, as many of your customers will belong to your target audience, your data and consumer insights will help you identify their wants and needs quickly and efficiently.
Do what you can to keep your audience happy and meet their needs — at every touchpoint. From their experience on your website to a chat with your Customer Service team. They should always have an on-brand experience.
This consistency should help you build trust — a cornerstone of any long-lasting relationship. For more information on becoming a trusted brand, check out this blog post.
There is no getting around it — defining your target audience is an essential step to becoming a successful brand.
Getting it right means you’ll outperform your competitors and your target audience will be naturally drawn to your brand. And more customers mean higher profits!
So, if you follow these seven steps we’ve laid out, you’ll no longer have to worry that you aren’t targeting the right audience. And once you do, you’ll be ever closer to creating and maintaining a strong brand identity!