Trying to define your customers can be tricky. Sure, you know who your customers are. Yep, you know their names, what cities they live in, and so on.
For marketing purposes, what do they have in common? How would you describe them? Where do they hang out online?
Let’s explore how you determine your targeted audience and how it can help you grow your business.
What is a target audience?
A target audience is an identifiable group of people who share similar characteristics, behaviors, attitudes, interests, needs, wants, or desires.
They may also share demographic information (such as age, gender, income level, occupation, education level, marital status, religion, ethnicity, political affiliation, sexual orientation, health condition, and so forth). Geographic location, socioeconomic status, cultural background, religious beliefs, hobbies, lifestyle choices, or any combination thereof can define these groups.
You get to determine what metrics you’d like to use to define your audience.
Example of a target audience:
Let’s say your business makes the most tasty and nutritious pet food. You just introduced a new product for puppies and want to reach your potential buyers by placing a Facebook ad and a Google Ad.
Here’s one example of what your target audience might be:
Organic Pet Food Company (your company)
target market: people with pets
target audience #1: first time pet owners
target audience #2: owners with young puppies
Why is it important to know your target audience?
With the example above, you can see why having a target audience is important. If your new Facebook Ads campaign is to reach people with new puppies in order to sell more of your puppy food products, then you wouldn’t want to create ads with content showing senior dogs.
Knowing your target audience well will help you understand how to find them. Having consulted with thousands of businesses, I’ve found that many of them were focusing their efforts in the wrong place, creating content that doesn’t resonate with the audience and wasting their marketing budget as a result.
By simply fine-tuning your target audience, you can get more leads, customers, and revenue.
The more homework you do on defining your target audience, the better chance you have to reach them with your marketing efforts.
What’s the difference between target audience and buyer persona?
You may think that the target audience is simply a buyer persona with a different term. Some marketers use the term Audience Persona, which is basically the same as target audience.
While they seem to be one and the same, they’re not.
Let’s look at the difference between them.
Targetaudience is a GROUP of people who share similar characteristics
Buyer Persona is a PERSON who is likely to be your customer
One way to look at it is:
Buyer persona is your ideal customer and belongs to your target audience.
You can create multiple buyer personas and target audiences based on your objective. For example, your organic pet food company may have a product for senior dogs. You may create a separate buyer persona and target audience for this particular product.
How to define your target audience?
Using the earlier organic pet food company example, let’s say you’re trying to sell more of your puppy food.
Your target audience is:
owner with young puppies
You can add descriptions to this audience, such as:
Here is an example of what your target audience might look like:
Audience: owner with young puppies
Education: Bachelor’s degree
Goals and challenges: 1) raise healthy puppies 2) healthy food for puppies
How can we help: 1) provide latest tips 2) provide nutrition advice 3) DOs and DON’Ts
You can now reference this target audience as you create your Facebook Ads and Google ad.
Download our Target Audience
How to find your target audience?
There are many ways to define your target audience.
Start with your current customers
If you already have some customers, this should be your go-to method. Find out everything you can to learn about your customers. What do they have in common? How did they find out about you and your company? When did they decide that your products or services will serve their needs?
Run an RFM analysis of your current customers.
RFM analysis is based on three quantitative factors:
Recency: how recently as a customer made a purchase
Frequency: how often a customer makes a purchase.
Monetary Value: how much money does a customer spend on purchases.
Rank each of your customers numerically on a scale of 1 to 5. The higher the number, the better. Your best customers would receive the top cumulative scores.
Keep in mind that the following as you make your analysis:
Recency – the more recently a customer bought from you, the more likely they’ll buy again.
Frequency – can be affected by the type of product. For example, how long will a bag of puppy food last for 1 puppy, 3 puppies, etc.
Monetary value – how much does the customer spend. Keep in mind that you may have some customers who spend less per transaction but buy more frequently.
From your analysis, you can segment one or more target audiences.
What if you don’t have any customer yet?
Use Google Analytics to see insights of your website visitors such as age, gender, and location. Also, check your most popular pages to determine what type of content your audience like.
You must enable Google Signals GA4, which is an advertising reporting feature, in order to analyze user data by age, gender, and interests. Google Signals also allow you to more accurately track users across different devices and platforms.
Google Signals is not activated by default.
How to activate Google Signals?
Step 1. Navigate to the “Admin” section of your GA4 property.
Step 2: Click on “Data Settings” under the “Property” column.
Step 3: Click on “Data Collection”.
Step 4: Click “Get Started” under “Google signals data collection” after reading the policy
Step 5: Click on the “Continue” button.
Step 6: Click on the “Activate” button.
Step 7: Confirm that it is indeed activated.
After 24 hrs, you’ll start to see the demographics info such as “Users by Gender” and “Users by Interests”.
Go to the Reports tab then expand Demographics > Demographics overview.
You may find that certain segments of your visitors do not become customers. You’ll need find out why.
Does your website content align with your target audience based on your current customers?
Use social media analytics
Check your social media metrics to gain audience insights on your social media profiles. Each social media platform is unique, and content is consumed differently in each. On each social media platform that you’re on, find out which segment of your followers engage with you the most? What types of content get the most engagement? Which segment eventually become your customers? What do they have in common?
Research your competitors
Your competitors may have already done their target audience research and market research. Find out what type of content they create. Are they the same or different across their website and social media? How is their content different from one social media platform to another? Do they create similar or different content than you do? Are they on any social media platform that you’re not? How are they marketing themselves differently than you?
Allocating more of your marketing efforts into research, and you’ll save time and get higher ROI on your campaigns.
If you ultimately learn that your big competitors’ target audience is different from yours, you may want to dive deeper to find out why? It may be time to test and experiment with their audience.
Now that you have defined your target audience based on your marketing needs and have researched to find out where your audience hangs out, you can create a marketing campaign to reach your audience.
Let’s see how our organic pet food company can reach its target audience.
We have already defined our audience and have learned that most of your potential customers hang out on Facebook. We want to reach them organically and via paid media.
We need to create content based on where our audience is in terms of where they are in your marketing funnel.
A common and great method to define a marketing funnel is AIDA.
Awareness: your audience in the Top of the Funnel (TOTF) is just starting to beome aware of your company and its puppy food. You can create content to introduce your company and begin to show that you are an authority in pet nutrition.
Examples would be:
create a blog post “Latest studies on puppies nutrition”
create a social media post showing how your food is made in your clean production area.
Interest: your audience is in the Middle of the Funnel (MOTF) and they are actively searching for a solution to their problems. Perhaps their puppies aren’t eating, so they’re looking for alternatives. You can create content to solve these problems.
An example would be:
create a blog post “What to do when your puppy refuses to eat.”
create a social media video “How to know your pet food has all the nutrition your puppy needs”.
Decision: this is where your audience already likes and trusts your company and is debating on whether to make a purchase from you. If you haven’t, now is the time to create convincing content to close the deal.
An example would be:
show a retargeting ad with your customer testimonials on how their puppy got healthier, stronger, etc. since switching to your pet food.
create a blog post “7 common ingredients in pet food and why we don’t include them”.
Action: your audience finally decides to make a purchase – or not. You should gear your content toward customer retention for the new customers. For those who didn’t buy, place them on a recovery funnel to continue to earn their trust and keep you on top of their mind.
An example would be:
Show your new customer a great onboarding experience
Ask your audience who didn’t purchase from you how you could have done to earn their business.
You should spend a significant portion of your marketing efforts on your content creation based on where your audience is in your marketing funnels.
Bonus tip: create content based on the media
It’s important to note that you should also create your content based on which media it’ll be consumed by your audience.
For example, on Instagram you may…
post an image showing hungry puppies chowing down your puppy pet food on Instagram Feed
a video showing a behind-the-scene look on Instagram Stories
a long post with an infographic detailing the common foods that are good and bad for puppies on Facebook.
Other ways to find your audience
Facebook Ads and Google Ad is just one way to reach your audience. Depends on where your target audiences are, you may choose any number of communicating channels to do so.
We at The Intelligence Group often find that new clients had been focusing only on the short game, such as advertising or email outreach.
While these give you quick wins, I urge you to invest in the long game as well, such as content marketing, email marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and more.
These may take longer to get momentum. However, once you gain traction, you’ll find consistent results.
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