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How to Find Your Target Audience in 6 Easy Steps

By Bernardo Barbosa

Published on 31 January 2024

10 mins read

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Target market and target audience are essential concepts for all corporations, entrepreneurs, investors, and small businesses out there. If you're starting a company in Portugal, finding your target audience is not something you can simply brush off.

In this article, we will tell you how to find your target audience in six easy steps, from defining your business to testing and refining your marketing campaigns.

Step 1. Define Your Business

It's virtually impossible to find your target audience without defining your business first. Doing so implies recognizing what sets your business apart and what your competitive advantages are.

What Sets Your Business Apart

With customers having so much choice in most markets, it's essential to identify what sets your business apart from the rest. Your Unique Value Proposition is the distinctive element that makes your business unique, so make sure you have one! 

Think of it as your company's special sauce: it could be a new product feature, an exceptional service, or even a particular way of doing business.

Defining your Unique Value Proposition will give you an insight into who your ideal customer should be. Who will resonate with your positioning? Who has the problem that you’re trying to solve? And how much are people willing to pay to have it solved?

Competitive Advantages

Competitive advantages are the strengths and resources that give your business an edge over competitors. These can be superior technology, a cost advantage, or even an exclusive partnership.

A great practice for identifying your competitive advantage is to conduct a SWOT analysis on your competitors.

Step 2. Understand the Concept of Target Audience

So, what is a target audience exactly?

Your target audience refers to the specific group of people or businesses that your products or services are intended for. It's the demographic, psychographic, and behavioural characteristics that define the folks most likely to purchase your product and become part of your tribe.

Understanding the concept of target audience is fundamental because it influences your business's product development, pricing, distribution, communication, and even hiring strategy.

Finding the right target audience is also massively beneficial for:

  • Targeted Marketing: When you have a clear idea of who your targeted audience is, you can tailor your marketing strategy to their specific preferences and pain points. This results in a more effective marketing campaign, higher conversion rates, and increased sales.
  • Efficient Resource Allocation: Understanding your target audience allows you to allocate your resources to the audience segments most likely to convert, helping you stop wasting time and money on those who won’t.

Understanding the concept of a target audience, however, means nothing unless you're able to pin down the specific audience of your business…

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Step 3. Identify Your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience involves a deep dive into three key areas: demographics, psychographics, and behavior.

1. Demographics

Demographic information refers to the statistical characteristics of a group of people. These typically include basics such as gender, age range, marital status, location, language, education, and professional occupation.

2. Psychographics

Psychographics refers to the emotional and psychological factors that drive consumer decisions and delve deeper into the psychological and lifestyle aspects of your potential customers.

In modern business, a psychographic profile must include information such as interests and hobbies, lifestyle and values, and pain points and challenges.

3. Consumer Behavior

Behavioral characteristics provide insights into how consumers interact with products and brands. This includes their buying habits, usage patterns, brand loyalty, readiness to purchase, and responses to marketing.

Characteristics to typically include in a behavioral profile can be:

  • Buying Habits: Studying the buying habits of your audience helps you optimize pricing, promotions, and product availability.
  • Online Behavior: As crucial and as integral to business as IRL behavior, online behavior includes the customers’ preferred online platforms, content consumption habits, and social media activity.
  • Interaction with Brands: Knowing how different target audiences interact with other brands can provide you with some valuable insights as to how they will interact with your own brand.

If you target demographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics associated with your prospective customers, you should be able to have a pretty clear idea of who your target audience is.

Step 4. Create Buyer Personas

Now that you have found your ideal audience, it's time to put it up to the test by creating buyer personas.

A buyer persona or customer persona is an individual profile that goes beyond broad target market segments. Buyer personas are fictional characters, but they should feel like real customers, with real needs and specific consumer engagements.

You can effectively create a buyer persona in just three simple steps:

1. Research and Collect Data

Dive into your existing audience data, conduct surveys, and interview your current customers to gather valuable insights into their preferences and pain points.

Your buyer personas should accurately reflect your customer base, so it's always a good idea to create them based on the characteristics of existing customers.

2. Segment Your Target Audience

Divide your target market into smaller, more manageable groups based on shared characteristics such as age group, job titles, preferred social media channels, purchase intention, and alignment with industry trends. Pretty much everything can be used to segment target people!

Ideally, you should create at least 3-4 buyer personas to gather valuable information on how to find your target audience.

3. Create Buyer Persona Templates

Buyer persona templates provide a structured way to document your personas, ensuring that you don't miss any of the necessary information. While very useful, these templates should accurately reflect your existing audience and potential customers in order to prove useful.

For example: If you're selling social media analytics, then a content marketing manager would make for the perfect buyer persona; If you're selling online courses, then you should probably use college students as personas; And if you're selling dog food, then all your buyer personas should be pet owners! Makes sense?

Step 5. Implement Target Audience Insights Into Your Marketing Campaign

We have already told you how to find your target audience and how buyer personas can be a valuable tool for further understanding your target market. Now, it's time to use all of that vital information to develop a proper digital marketing strategy.

Please keep in mind that finding the right audience isn't the only pre-requisite of a good marketing campaign. 

Knowing your target audience may help you tailor your marketing guidelines, but it doesn't replace the need to conduct market research and define a marketing budget.

Tailoring Marketing Efforts

Tailoring marketing guidelines based on your target audience is about using demographic information and other data to make better-informed marketing decisions. The general idea is to retain your current audience and attract new customers by tapping directly into their needs, preferences, and preferred marketing channels.

These tailored marketing essentials should give you a good idea of where to start:

  • Content Strategy: Create content that speaks directly to target audiences and share it on multiple channels. It can be a blog post on your website, a new video for your Facebook page, an e-mail newsletter, and so forth.
  • Advertising Campaigns: Spend your advertising budget on ads that target specific types of target audiences as thoroughly as possible. Funnel your campaigns by investing in Google Ads and social ads, as these allow for greater precision.
  • Social Media Engagement: Share content that encourages discussions, responds to comments, and builds a sense of community. Use social media platforms to reinforce your brand's alignment with the values of your target audience.

Improving Customer Experience

Knowing exactly who your ideal customers are and what they want and need can drive how you treat them after they become your customers. 

We all know that a positive customer experience can turn first-time buyers into loyal customers, so you should implement these strategies to enhance the experience for your target audience:

  • Streamline your website for easy navigation.
  • Offer personalized product recommendations.
  • Provide excellent customer support.
  • Collect feedback and use it to improve your products or services.
To ensure that your target audience is well-informed about your brand from the get-go, develop messaging marketing techniques that are both cohesive and straight to the point.

Measuring and Testing

By consistently aligning your strategies with target audiences' preferences, you can expect to see business growth, but you can’t make decisions without data, so you’ll need to measure and test constantly.

Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as conversion rates, customer retention, and Return on Investment as closely as possible to know how your target audience is reacting to specific campaigns.

Finally, use website analytics data such as Google Analytics data to ensure that you're on the right track, especially on social platforms.

Step 6. Test and Refine

No element of a business should be set in stone until you have proper validation. That includes your marketing plan, your product, and even your business name. Naturally, it also applies to target audiences and to how they drive your every business decision.

So, the final step on how to find your target audience is to test and refine continuously by gathering target market and target audience data and analyzing the results.

Gather Target Market Data

Feedback from your customers, surveys, and market research provide valuable information, so it’s important to regularly collect and analyze it to identify consumer trends, preferences, and emerging behaviors within your target audience.

Analyze Results

Thoroughly analyze the results of your marketing campaigns. What worked? What didn't? Did it resonate with your target audience? 

By pinpointing successful strategies and areas for improvement, you can fine-tune your approach, stay agile, and adapt to changing market dynamics, audience preferences, and emerging trends.

Common Mistakes to Avoid with Target Audiences

1. Neglecting Ongoing Research: Don't get complacent! Keep in mind that your target audience will never remain static.

2. Overgeneralizing: When it comes to target audiences, specificity is key! Facebook started life as a platform specifically for Harvard students. Then they branched out to other colleges in the Boston area. Then all Ivy League colleges. Then all students across the US and Canada. Then everyone…

3. Ignoring Psychographics and Consumer Behavior: Demographic data is essential, but that doesn't mean it's okay to overlook psychographic and behavioral factors relating to your target audience.

4. Failing to Test and Iterate: Avoid the mistake of assuming your initial strategies are flawless. Continuously analyze data, perform A/B test campaigns, and refine your approach based on results.

5. Ignoring Consumer Feedback: Customer feedback is a goldmine of insights. Failing to gather and act on feedback can result in a disconnect between your business and your target audience.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to find your target audience and identify target markets pertaining to your business, you're one step (well, six steps actually!) closer to finding the right voice, social media channels, and content strategy that will allow you to speak directly to your ideal customers.

Once you have identified your ideal customers, you can create content that resonates with their needs, invest in Google Ads that hit the right audience, and forget about those annoying abandoned shopping carts! Are you ready to start your business in Portugal on the right foot?

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Target Audience FAQ

What are the elements of a target audience?

The general elements of a target audience are gender, age range, social class, purchasing power, and location.

How can I identify my target audience?

A target audience is identified by its behavioral, psychographic, and demographic information.

Is there a valuable tool to monitor my target audience on social media?

Google Analytics is great for monitoring target audiences on social media. In addition to being highly reputable, Google Analytics allows you to filter analytics data according to different affinity categories.

What is social listening?

Social listening is the activity of monitoring social media analytics related to one's business.

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Written by Bernardo Barbosa

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