How to find your target audience (with types and benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

It is usually essential for companies providing goods and services to build a sufficient audience. As markets can vary for different products, organisations may benefit from understanding the interests or purchase requirements of their customers. Learning how to find your target audience can help you grow and develop a business and provide the right goods to a specific customer base in a timely manner. In this article, we discuss the importance of finding your target audience, explore different types of audiences, provide steps for finding one and list the benefits.

Related: Why is marketing important in business? 13 FAQs on marketing

What is a target audience?

A target audience is a group of people or organisations with specific characteristics, including demographic features and purchasing behaviours around certain goods and services. Finding such an audience, with needs that the company can satisfy, is often essential to good business management.

For example, a clothing company that creates designs for a particular age group can target that specific audience. The company can then target those customers through specific marketing methods, such as print or online advertising, which can increase purchase rates.

How to find your target audience

Learning how to find your target audience can be crucial for a business, especially if it focuses on providing goods and services for profit. Finding an audience involves analysing demographic and other data to determine an appropriate market for a product. The data you use can be from customer feedback or current purchasing and buying trends. Here are five steps you can consider when determining and finding your target audience:

1. Collect data on existing customers

Before you look for a new customer base, it's essential to analyse data on your current consumers. Existing customers may have common characteristics, such as a similar age profile. Additional factors can include purchasing patterns and interests, which can help you generate more detail about the audience.

Related: What does a brand manager do? (With salary)

2. Evaluate competitors

Business competitors are those who provide similar products or services to the market you work in. Analysing the competition can help you learn their strategies and identify gaps in their efforts. Often, customer relationship management software can be essential to studying the competition.

3. Discover social media channels

There are many social media channels today, which both customers and businesses depend on to buy and sell products. Finding a social media channel with an appropriate audience can help you gain a more extensive customer base due to its speed and efficiency. You can analyse and determine what audience may want a specific product, then find a channel where you can advertise it and create an online audience.

Audiences can change their behaviour around social media use, so you may want to adjust your strategy to such changes when they occur. You could adapt to these situations by having different marketing strategies and maintaining a social media presence on several platforms.

Related: How to define your target market: examples and types

4. Keep researching

Researching can be a continuous process when looking for a target audience. Doing regular research can help you to better understand an audience, and it provides data that you can use to alter business operations and provide consumers with satisfactory products. You often acquire a larger audience when current customers feel satisfied with a product and recommend it to other people. Methods you can use to gather consumer data include conducting interviews with existing customers and carrying out desk research to identify industry trends.

5. Create personas

A persona is a fictional character that you create based on research of current customers and their characteristics, such as purchasing trends. You can use personas to represent the different users of a product or service. There are three types of persona: a lightweight persona, a statistical persona and a qualitative persona. Understanding these can be essential to creating one that adequately represents a brand's audience. A persona can represent a particular segment of a business, such as different demographic groups, and can set out their needs and expectations.

Example: Madeline is a 25-year-old nurse living in an urbanised area and she has a certified licence to practise. She has an interest in swimming, cooking and skincare and is following a new product launch of sunscreen that focuses on protecting the skin. As a nurse, Madeline cares about the well-being of her patients. She only uses products or recommends them to others if they're of the best quality.

Related: How to brand yourself in 10 steps

Types of target audiences

A target audience is a group of people with similar interests, such as sports, music or shopping. Marketing professionals often categorise different audiences according to such attributes. Here are some categories of target audience:

Demographic

Demographics is the study of populations, including their size and movements from one location to another. Companies can often use demographic data to locate and target a specific audience. This can involve age cohorts or socioeconomic groups. For example, a real estate business can review an area's economic status and demographic features and decide which group to target.

Purchase intent

Purchase intent is the extent to which a consumer may want to buy a product or service from an organisation during a particular period. E-commerce businesses can find a target audience in this way by collecting data from consumers, which can show purchase trends and interests in specific products. Purchase intent can produce results similar to demographics, providing data that categorises a population according to its purchase intentions.

Culture

As a concept, culture represents particular behaviours, customs or experiences that a group shares. You can study the cultures of various groups in a community and create strategies that align with these cultures to build a sufficient target audience. Understanding cultures can also help you create lasting relationships with customers, as you can provide services and products that better meet their needs.

Related: What is email marketing? (Tips on how to launch a campaign)

Benefits of finding a target audience

Creating a target audience can help a business to increase its profits, as it helps sell sufficient amounts of products in a particular period. Here are some benefits of this marketing practice:

Develops cost-effective campaigns

When you find your target audience, you can improve marketing strategies by establishing more appropriate campaigns for that audience. Campaigns can also be more cost-effective, as they focus on customers who are more likely to engage with advertising content. You can consider setting up campaigns using options such as social media, newsletters or building a company website.

Discovers customers that competitors have missed

When researching competitors, it's essential to find out what they may be overlooking. You can then build strategies that directly address these oversights. For example, a competitor in the dairy industry may not provide a lactose-free option to its customers. Using this strategy, you can add lactose-free milk to a company's product range and target the population that requires this dairy alternative.

Related: How to develop a brand identity (plus tips for success)

Builds lasting relationships with customers

In-depth research can often help you get a better understanding of customers' requirements and values. This process can include communicating with consumers through feedback and collaborating with customer service managers. This can help you to improve a company's products and services, aligning them with customers' requirements. Gathering such insights can allow you to build long-term relationships with consumers.

Focuses on a potential market

Researching different audiences can allow you to identify new markets for a product or service. You could do this by using social media platforms and researching their online content. Exploring a potential market may help you grow this audience.

Manages consumer expectations

When you identify your audience, you can focus your marketing efforts on this group. You can make the audience aware of the company's products and can clearly state the company's objectives for a product. Such information can allow consumers to know what to expect from using the products and services. It can also lead to positive feedback, which can be essential for making product improvements. This can result in an extensive customer pool, who have realistic expectations of what a product can offer, which can help to grow the business into the future.

Related: What is customer profiling and how do you create one?

Explore more articles