Audience Targeting: 101

As a business owner, you need to reach people who are interested in what you have to offer, right? People who will relate to your products and your company culture the most are those who will likely become customers.

Sure, your products and services are great and have broad appeal. But, does it make sense to try and reach everybody? If you have an endless budget, maybe. But, in most instances, no. Marketing dollars spent on ads that don’t engage their intended audience is money wasted.

By clearly defining your target audience, you can determine the best marketing channels with which to reach them. Producing content that speaks directly to this audience is also important. By demonstrating how your products and services can fulfill their wants and needs, they will feel more connected to you and your brand and will hopefully convert to paying customers.

Here are a few tips for identifying and defining your audience.

What is an audience?

An audience is a specific group of people you want to reach, people who are most likely to be interested in what your company has to offer. An audience will share common characteristics, like demographics, habits, and behaviors.

How do you define your audience?

To define your audience, look at your current and former customers and consider demographic factors such as age, gender, education, and life stage. By evaluating the demographics of your current customers, you can paint a picture of who your best potential customers are. Another great way to understand your audience is to carry out interviews, request customer feedback, and conduct some market research.

So, now that you know who your audience is, how can you reach them?

Consider your audience demographics along with their habits. Do they read the newspaper? Do they listen to the radio? Do they watch TV? What topics are they interested in? What device(s) do they use? Are they on social media? By answering these questions, you can discover the best times and places to reach that audience. Don’t expect them to come to you on their own. You need to market to your audience, wherever they are, on whatever devices/channels they are using, at the right time.

As you go through this process, you will likely discover that you have multiple target audiences – and that’s great. The important thing is to figure out how to reach each audience and tailor your plan and messages accordingly.

To succeed in marketing, you need to understand your brand well enough to know your target audience – or audiences. Regardless of the platform – print, broadcast, digital, or social – refining your audience is the best way to optimize your marketing budget so your campaigns can reach their full potential.