• Caitlin McCoy

How do you know who your target audience is?



It’s time for a conversation with your customers!


You have a brand that’s reimagining the world. While it may impact the world at a broad scale, here’s the thing: your target audience isn’t everyone. Having a target audience implies you’re targeting your efforts for maximum impact.


To know who your target audience really is, you just need to do some upfront research. Because as we know, marketing by hoping doesn’t provide the roadmap your business needs to scale and succeed. If you’re not sure where to start when creating your target audience, think about where you are currently.


Who is your customer now?

Who is your business serving now? Or, if you have an early-stage startup or want to pivot, who, ideally would your customer be? Look at what these customers have in common with one another. This will become the basis for your target audience persona—an avatar you create for your ideal target audience.


Who are your competitors?

Which businesses in your industry are going after your same target audience? What are they doing things similarly or differently than you are? What can you learn from them—seeing where you can fill gaps or what they’re doing that really lights you up. Which one of these competitors would your customer consider in addition to your business?


What does your product or service provide?

Look at both the tangible and intangible aspects of your product or service. Make a list of features and see which ones would excite and impact your customers the most. Sometimes, at this stage, there are opportunities to edit the product or service itself, in addition to building out your target audience.


Consider all aspects of your target audience.

You’re really building out your target audience persona at this point. While you can continue building out a fictional persona from evaluating your customer base, you could also hold a customer interview or focus group.


1. Who are they? Now is the time to envision their demographics as well as their psychographics—your target audience’s goals, values, beliefs, and even intentions. What do they do in their free time? Where do they envision themselves in 5 years?If you’re talking with someone one-on-one, this question could be something as simple as — “Tell me about yourself.”

2. What problems do they have? We’re all walking around navigating life, daily, and our businesses are just another layer of things to navigate. So you’ll want to ask your potential target audience what they’re encountering in their day to day life. Something like “What frustrates you in your business?” or “Where do you find yourself getting distracted or tripped up in your day to day?”

3. How can you, as a business owner, help solve it? So then you see where you can help. Because you’re in business to create an impact, and yes, do the things you love, but where can the things you love match up with what these frustrations are that your target audience has? So depending on your business and what you offer, whether it’s services or a product, questions could be, “Have you ever considered a social media strategy?” or “If you’re frustrated with your lead generation, maybe something fun like a gated quiz or download could help.”

4. Or, additionally, how can you entertain them and relate to them? Because people want what you have to offer—but people also don’t want to feel SOLD to. So back to that conversation aspect, the best marketing for your target audience is always going to be whatever makes them feel seen and related to (and entertained as well). So questions could be like, “What do you do in your free time?” and “What businesses or founders inspire you?” and “What kind of podcasts / shows / movies / magazines / blogs etc. do you listen to / watch / read”? And then if they don’t listen or watch or read, that’s information, too.

Review—and keep reviewing as your business grows and evolves.

Now you know your target audience through and through! And as your business scales, you can reevaluate. Periodically check in with your target audience persona (or even your actual target audience through customer research and focus groups) to ensure you’re on the right track. If you make changes to your business, make sure your target audience is shifting with those changes—or change your focus.


Remember that marketing is a conversation. It’s where what you have to offer meets what your target audience needs. Schedule a consultation call to learn more about how research can help your company.