What is a target audience?
A target audience is a specific group of people who are the most likely to be interested in your product and/or service. Target audiences are based on market research into the purchase patterns of people and can be narrowed down by age, gender, marital status, socioeconomic status, beliefs, etc.
For example, the target audience for a coffee shop can be adults, single or married who go to work every day and a likely to purchase a coffee during their workday or their commute to work. If we extend the coffee shop premise into a café that also sells cakes for special occasions, be it for adults or children, the target audience now extends to those with children. The location also impacts who your target audience would be, if we carry on with the premise of the café that sells cakes, if this café was located in an area surrounded by offices, it may be likely that businesses are likely to order cakes for office celebrations.
As a business owner, it is imperative to the success of your business that your target audience is identified accurately. Identifying your audience allows for funds in relation to marketing to be steered in a direction that is likely to appeal to your target audience, which in turn equates to more sales. For example, if a skincare product whose target audience was teenagers or young adults, was to market their product in dull packaging and had no social media presence it is unlikely that this product will reach its target audience as this particular target audience may not find the product appealing and/or may not be able to relate to it.
Target audiences for any product and or service can be split into three distinct audiences:
- Primary: Audiences who have a direct interest in the product for themselves.
- Secondary: Audience where the product and/or service is not designed for them, however, they may view it or be inclined to purchase it because of their children, friends, family, etc.
- Tertiary: Audiences who are slightly interested in the product and/or service due to something they heard/ know about the product.
Further to this, there are various types of target audiences that narrow down specifics, such as:
- Demographics: Audiences based on varied criteria such as age, gender, ethnicity, and income.
- Purchase intention: Describes how willing a customer is to buy a product or service within a time frame, also known as “buyer intent”.
- Location: Audiences based on needs/ wants/ likely purchases by country, area codes, and/or climate.
- Interests: Audiences based on personal interests, market research can allow you to understand target audiences to better provide products and/ or services that align with their values and or lifestyles.
- Subculture: Groups of people that identify with distinct, shared experiences within a dominant culture.
Now that we’ve learned all the various categories of various target audiences, here are six key points that will assist you in identifying your target audience.
- Be clear on your key message
- Ensure that through your branding and marketing your product and/or service’s key messages are clear and relevant to your audience’s needs. This can be done by highlighting how your product/ service will solve a problem.
- Consider what your customer needs
- What does your customer want from your business?
- Who will want or need to read your services/product?
- Will their needs be satisfied by your key messages and findings?
- Consider if your customers are all the same
- Will you have a range of different types of customers? Will they differ in education, background and occupation? If so, focus on a commonality that unites different customers.
- Which customers will bring you the most revenue
- If you have one main type of customer, they can form your target audience and your marketing will be aimed at ensuring that they understand all your content. If you have a range of different types of customers, you need to decide if you can cater to all of them. If not, just focus on one group as your target audience.
- Consider their background
- When deciding what information to provide, consider your audience’s background, education level, and qualifications. Provide extra information, links, or a glossary to assist readers from your non-target audience who may be interested in your product.
- Seek feedback
- If appropriate, seek feedback from someone from your intended target audience, and if co-authoring, ensure all writers agree on the nature and type of target audience.
By incorporating these insights, hopefully, you’ll be able to market your product and/or service to gain a loyal following from your target audience.