How to Define a Target Audience (For Your Marketing Plans) (2024)

How to Define a Target Audience (For Your Marketing Plans) (1) Celine (CX) Roque

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Whether you’ve just started your business or you’re looking to revamp your marketing efforts, there’s one thing you need to secure: getting customers. This is where your target audience comes in. Identifying and finding your target audience can help set your business off on the right path.

How to Define a Target Audience (For Your Marketing Plans) (2)How to Define a Target Audience (For Your Marketing Plans) (3)How to Define a Target Audience (For Your Marketing Plans) (4)

In this tutorial, you'll learn the definition of a target audience and why knowing your target audience is important. We'll also explore techniques you can use to discover who your target customer is. Finally, we'll provide you with some additional resources to help with your marketing.

What is a Target Audience?

Simply put, your target audience is the group of people you’re making your products and services for. Other terms used to describe this group are "target market" and "target customer."

Here are some examples of business ideas paired with a potential target audience:

Business IdeaPossible Target Audience
Wedding photographyNewly engaged couples in your city
Lawn care serviceHomeowners with yards who live within a 10-mile radius of your office
Graphic designerSmall to medium-sized businesses that sell high-end products
Public speakerCompanies in the customer service industry
Martial arts gymAdults in your city who want training in self-defense
Online meditation courseStressed professionals in high-pressure jobs

It might not seem important to spend time identifying your target audience, especially if you’re excited to start selling your products and services. But if you avoid this exercise you might create long-term problems for your business. After all, many of your business decisions will depend on who your target audience is.

The Target Audience: The Key to Your Success

If there’s one thing on every small business owner’s mind, it’s how to increase sales or get more customers. But finding the right marketing approach gets in the way of accomplishing these goals.

According to a recent study from Staples, more than a third of business owners have trouble designing effective marketing materials. Additionally, half of business owners don’t know how to reach prospective customers.

The first step to resolving these marketing problems is identifying and getting to know your target customer really well. As a result of identifying and getting to know your target customer, you’ll know the following:

  • The products and services you’ll offer
  • What price points to set for your products and services
  • The type of marketing materials you’ll need (a website, flyers, posters, radio ads, blog posts, etc.)
  • The benefits and features you’ll highlight in your marketing materials
  • The exact key words you’ll use in your marketing copy
  • The design of your marketing materials
  • Where you’ll send or display your marketing materials
  • Where you'll advertise

In other words, target audience definition will be the foundation of your marketing efforts and, possibly, your entire business.

Step 1. How to Identify Your Target Audience

Now that you know why a target audience is essential, it’s time to select your first audience group. Below are a list of characteristics you should consider identifying (use the attached worksheet for guidance):

1. Demographics

Demographics are the criteria you use to describe a specific part of the population. Some example of demographics include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Marital Status
  • Occupation/Industry
  • Educational Level

2. Location

You can also narrow down your audience based on geography or location. You can pick a neighborhood, city, province/state, or country. You can also specify via distance. For example, you can target customers within a 10-mile radius of your city. Or you can target customers within your city and the cities that surround it.

For those who want to run an online business for customers or clients worldwide, you might not need to set a location. Still, it's possible that as your business grows, you'll see some cities or countries where most of your customers tend to come from. You can specifically target those areas later or switch to other locations that can bring the opportunities you want.

3. Psychographics

Unlike demographics, a group's psychographics are more difficult to guess externally, since these are more relevant to their personality. Here are some audience psychographics you can specify:


These could include topics of interest, hobbies, regular activities, and behaviors. Some examples:

  • Board game enthusiasts
  • Frequent backpackers
  • Beginning gardeners
  • Stamp collectors


You can also specify what your ideal audience believes about a topic or issue. For example:

  • People who value video games developed by independent developers rather than large development companies.
  • People who are concerned about the environment or climate change.
  • People who believe that work life balance is essential.
  • People who are always looking for the lowest price.

4. Pick at Least Two Identifiers

While you don’t need to identify all of the above characteristics, you do need to know at least two. Why two? Having only one criterion will be a very broad market — it'll be as if you didn’t target anyone at all. On the other hand, filling out all the characteristics might be too narrow. It might also help to review the examples listed earlier in this guide. See if you can find the demographic, location, and psychographic identifiers used in each audience group.

Step 2. How to Use Target Market Tools

Even after following the steps above and filling out the worksheet, you might not feel sure about your selected audience. If you need help figuring out your target audience and learning more about them, the following tools can be useful:

1. Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook Audience Insightsis a tool that can help you specify and learn more about your target audience. You start by selecting different audience criteria such as location, age, interests, and behaviors. Then, you'll learn more things about them, including the size of your target market, and any trends in demographics or psychographics.

Let's say you want to open a comic book store in Dallas. You can select "Dallas" for location, and under "Interests," select "Comics." Audience Insights then automatically reveals that Facebook users in Dallas who are interested in Comics tend to be in the 25 to 34 age group. There's also a balance between male and female members of that target market. Facebook also gives you an estimate for the size of the market: around 100,000 people.

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Facebook Audience Insights is most useful for giving you additional demographic and psychographic data that you can use to define your audience. It can also give you a general estimate of how big that potential audience could be.

One caveat you should know about the data is that most of it's based on users' self-reported data and behaviors on Facebook only. This means that you shouldn't treat it as 100-percent accurate, but it can give you a good big picture idea about your target audience. If your intended audience doesn't really use Facebook, then it might not be as useful to you.

2. Google Trends

Google Trends helps you determine interest in a particular keyword or topic over time. This can be helpful if you want to narrow down a location for your business idea, as well as any general trends.

Let's say you want to open a board game shop in the United States. Type up board game related keywords into Google Trends.

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You can then find out the top areas, cities, and states with the most interest in board games. You'll also quickly see that interest in board games is seasonal— it consistently peaks mid-November (before Thanksgiving) and the peaks last until Christmas Eve.

This tells you that your target audience tends to be seasonal buyers, but that there is also some consistent interest in board games over the years.

3. MyBestSegments

Claritas MyBestSegments has two free tools that can come in handy when defining your target market, as long as that market is within the United States. Zip Code Lookup is most useful for businesses that want to target specific areas. Just enter a zip code in the form, and it'll list the common marketing segments available for that area. You also get other demographic data breakdowns for the area, such as age, household income, household composition, and race and ethnicity.

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Don't forget to click on the market segments in the results. This will give you more details about the other interests, behaviors, and demographics of that segment. In the example below, the detailed view of the "Cruisin' to Retirement" segment shows that they love to listen to talk radio and are typically suburbanites. This already gives you hints about possible advertising and marketing opportunities.

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If you don't want to search by location, you can also search by market segment and take it from there. You can head straight to Segment Details and pick a market segment close to the target audience you've chosen. The market segments are organized according to consumer behavior (PRIZM Premier), financial behavior (P$YCLE), and technology behavior (ConneXions).

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Step 3. Test Your Target Market

When you've got your target market locked down, you can go through the following business planning processes more easily:

  • How to Write a BusinessPlanAndrew Blackman08 Feb 2016
  • How to Write a Lean Marketing Plan (+ Detailed Example)Celine (CX) Roque10 Feb 2022

This would also be a good time to start testing your target audience to see if it's a good fit for your product or service offering. Here are some ways you can do this:

1. Get Feedback From People in Your Target Audience

Do you know some people who might fall under that target market? If you do, you can talk to them about your business. Show them photo prototypes of your product or list the services you plan to offer. Find out what they think. Specifically, find out if they've purchased similar products or services before, what their major concerns were, and how satisfied they were with the experience.

You'll know that the target audience is a fit for your offer if they seem highly enthusiastic, have purchased from similar businesses before, and they acknowledge that they have the problem that your business is trying to solve.

If you're lacking in direct contacts who fall in your target market, look for online and offline groups that do. For online groups, you can search for Facebook groups, Reddit communities, or message boards that are relevant to the audience you're aiming for. Offline groups might include special interest groups like gardening clubs or your local Chamber of Commerce. You can also take advantage of relevant public events, such as conventions or meetups, and ask around.

2. Set Up a Mailing List

You can also set up an online mailing list and get subscribers through advertising or by posting about it on social media or online groups. If you get several subscribers in a few days, you'll know that there's some interest in your offer.

Dan Benjamin, a podcaster and entrepreneur, recently talked abouthaving a shirt designed, uploading a mockup of it, and setting up a mailing list form via Tinyletter for people who might be interested. Within half an hour, a hundred people had signed up, interested in the shirt. Only after that did he set up an online store for it.

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Other tools you can use to create your mailing list are Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and GetResponse.

3. Create a Landing Page

Instead of a mailing list, you can also opt for a landing page. Apart from asking people to subscribe to an email list, you can also ask them to pre-order, or to get additional information (such as downloading an ebook or brochure or playing an informative video). The number of people who follow through on the page's main call-to-action can give you an idea whether your target audience will respond to your offers or not.

You can review the following guides if you need more information on how landing pages work:

  • What Is a Landing Page?Brad Smith08 Jun 2022
  • How to Write Landing Page Copy That ConvertsDavid Masters28 Aug 2013
  • 10 Best Bootstrap Landing Page Templates—With Responsive DesignsSean Hodge29 Feb 2016

4. Set Up a Social Media Page

You can also direct your target audience to your social media page. This tends to be a good starter option if you're in the early stages of your business and currently don't have the skills or resources to set up your own landing page. The following tutorials can help you with this:

  • How to Use Social Media for Small Business (Beginner's Guide)Brenda Barron25 Feb 2022
  • How to Optimize Your Social Media ProfilesBrenda Barron08 Sep 2016

Once you've got enough followers, you'll be able to see their group demographics. Does it match your intended audience? If it does, then you're on the right track. If it's wildly different, then you'll need to make some adjustments to your intended audience.

You can also use a combination of the above techniques. You could buy an ad that leads to a landing page. Or you could go to an online group and after getting their feedback, ask interested parties to join your mailing list.

Remember: When you start acting on your marketing plans, your target audience might change— and that's normal. As you grow your business and learn more about what works, you’ll refine your target audience. You might realize that there's an underserved market that you want to reach. Or you might find that different subgroups within your target audience respond to different product benefits. If your target market isn't responding in the way you intended, or if you realize that they’re not a good fit for your offers, either adjust your offers or rethink the way you define your target market.

Define Your Target Audience Now

It’s tempting to skip the steps above and proceed with more aggressive steps like buying ads on Facebook or printing out flyers. But the foundation of your marketing plan should be who your customers are. How you phrase your copy, the design choices you make, and where you choose to advertise all depend on the needs and interests of your desired audience. Once you've got a clear picture of who your target audience is, it'll be much easier to come up with the rest of your marketing plan.

Did you find this post useful?

How to Define a Target Audience (For Your Marketing Plans) (63)

Celine (CX) Roque

Independent Writer (Philippines)

Celine Roque started freelancing in 2004, as a college sophom*ore, and they never figured out how to stop. They write about marketing analytics, entrepreneurship, and creative work.

How to Define a Target Audience (For Your Marketing Plans) (2024)


How do you define target audience examples? ›

Your target audience might be a board market, or a niche one. For example, if you sell shoes you might focus on a wider market, as everyone wears shoes, regardless of age, gender, and interests.

How do you identify target market target audience? ›

How to identify your target market
  1. Analyze your offerings. Ask yourself what problems your products and services solve, and, in turn, to whom they appeal. ...
  2. Conduct market research. ...
  3. Create customer profiles and market segments. ...
  4. Assess the competition.
30 Apr 2019

What are four 4 key ways to identify a target audience? ›

Geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioral are the four levels of segmentation that can help define your business's primary target audience.

What 5 things are considered when choosing your target audience? ›

5 Tips To Consider When Selecting Your Target Audience
  • 1 – Why are you researching. Firstly, you need to understand what you are trying to achieve. ...
  • 2 – Use existing market research. Defining an audience for an online questionnaire is not only about demographics. ...
  • 3 – Be selective. ...
  • 4 – Have a plan B. ...
  • 5 – Measure what you do.
6 Feb 2013

What are the 6 categories of target audience? ›

The following are common types of target audience.
  • Everyone. Communications, media and entertainment with a large budget may target as broad an audience as possible. ...
  • Demographics. ...
  • Locations. ...
  • Subculture. ...
  • Super Cultures. ...
  • Needs. ...
  • Attitudes & Opinion. ...
  • Personality.
28 Aug 2017

What are the 3 types of audiences? ›

3 categories of the audience are the lay audience, managerial audience, and expert audience.

How do you identify your customers? ›

To identify the characteristics of your ideal customers, start with any data you've gathered about your best customers.
Characteristics of your ideal customer
  1. Age.
  2. Gender.
  3. Marital status.
  4. Race/ethnicity.
  5. Income.
  6. Occupation.
  7. Location.
  8. Life stage.
28 Jun 2019

How do you identify potential customers? ›

4 Useful Tips for Identifying Your Potential Customers
  1. Segment Your Potential Customers. Segmenting your customers is the first step in identifying and understanding your potential customer base. ...
  2. Research Competitors. ...
  3. Shape a Healthy Brand Marketing Strategy. ...
  4. Identify New Consumer Demands and Shift in Behaviors.
31 May 2021

What are the three steps to target marketing? ›

3 simple steps to targeted marketing
  1. Step 1: Identify your target market. The first step you need to take is to define your target market. ...
  2. Step 2: Reach your target market. ...
  3. Step 3: Identify your type of customer. ...
  4. Know your target market and your business will grow. ...
  5. Start identifying your own target market.
12 Nov 2020

What are the four steps of target marketing process? ›

There are 4 steps in the targeting process:
  • Segment your market.
  • Select your target needs segments.
  • Select your target sub-segments (if needed)
  • Meet your target.
28 Feb 2018

What are the 4 factors used to describe a target market? ›

Commonly used segmentation factors are demographics, geographics, psychographics, and behaviors, but any segmentation is possible. To begin defining your target market, answer the following questions.

What are some examples of audience? ›

An example of an audience is the crowd in the seats at a sporting event. An example of an audience are people who tune in to a specific morning radio show. An example of an audience are people who enjoy watching a specific genre of movies.

What are the different types of audience in marketing? ›

Here are the three types of audiences that are assets to your social strategy.
  • Influencers. Influencers are those individuals in a community who affect purchase decisions, due to (real or imagined) influence, position, knowledge, relationship, or authority. ...
  • Brand Advocates. ...
  • Customer Advocates.

What are the 4 categories of audience? ›

The 4 Types of Audience
  • Friendly. Your purpose: reinforcing their beliefs and sense of shared interests.
  • Apathetic. Your purpose is to first convince them that it matters for them.
  • Uninformed. Your requirement is to educate before you can begin to propose a course of action.
  • Hostile.
11 May 2021

Who is your initial audience? ›

However, unlike some other forms of communication, you actually have two audiences, which we call “primary” and “secondary” audiences. We'll look at each in turn. Your primary audience is the person or group of people who will directly receive, or buy, what you write.

What are the 4 main customer needs? ›

There are four main customer needs that an entrepreneur or small business must consider. These are price, quality, choice and convenience.

Who are my potential market or customers? ›

A potential market is the part of the market you can capture in the future. These are customers you don't have now, but can work to attract. Learn how to identify these potential new customers and actions to attract them.

How do you market a product to a customer? ›

How to market a product
  1. Understand your audience. The first step in any successful marketing initiative is to understand exactly who you're marketing to. ...
  2. Know your product. ...
  3. Create a plan. ...
  4. Prepare to educate. ...
  5. Promote, promote, and promote some more. ...
  6. Learn what's working. ...
  7. Hit repeat.
14 Sept 2022

What are the 5 strategic marketing process? ›

The steps of the strategic marketing process (mission, situation analysis, marketing plan, marketing mix, and implementation and control) are different than the process for a specific marketing effort.

What makes a target market attractive? ›

There are many variables that influence market attractiveness. Market size, growth rates, pricing trends, competition, and overall risk in the industry all factor into it, among many others, depending on the individual organization and its target markets.

What is an example of audience? ›

An example of an audience is the crowd in the seats at a sporting event. An example of an audience are people who tune in to a specific morning radio show. An example of an audience are people who enjoy watching a specific genre of movies.

What are the 4 types of audiences? ›

The 4 Types of Audience
  • Friendly. Your purpose: reinforcing their beliefs and sense of shared interests.
  • Apathetic. Your purpose is to first convince them that it matters for them.
  • Uninformed. Your requirement is to educate before you can begin to propose a course of action.
  • Hostile.
11 May 2021

What are examples of content? ›

Some examples of content include blogs, emailers, newsletters, social media posts, case studies, and more.

What are the five kinds of audiences? ›

5 Types of Audiences in Writing
  • Audience #1 – The Experts.
  • Audience #2 – The Laypeople.
  • Audience #3 – The Managers.
  • Audience #4 – The Technicians.
  • Audience #5 – The Hybrids.
  • Further Reading.

What are the 3 types of audiences that you can target on Facebook? ›

When you advertise on Facebook, you can target your ads to three types of audiences: saved audiences, custom audiences, and lookalike audiences. Saved audiences let you target specific interests, behaviors, income levels, locations, and other criteria.

Who is primary audience? ›

Your primary audience is your intended audience; it is the person or people you have in mind when you decide to communicate something. However, when analyzing your audience you must also beware of your secondary audience. These are other people you could reasonably expect to come in contact with your message.

How do you narrow down your target audience? ›

How To Narrow Your Target Market In 3 Steps
  1. Focus on Desired Outcomes. Your clients come to you for the benefits, not the features, you offer…so promote them. ...
  2. Focus on Customer Experience. ...
  3. Focus on Acquiring Trust.
10 Aug 2021

Which are three aspects of a target audience that need to be considered? ›

The three aspects of a target audience that need to be considered before starting a Photoshop project are gender, age range, and ethnicity.

What are 5 examples of marketing? ›

  • Get on the Phone and Cold Call. Whether they call current customers or members of the general public, companies often simply call people up on the phone and offer them services. ...
  • Send a Punchy Newsletter. ...
  • Search Engine Marketing. ...
  • Meeting Customers at Trade Shows. ...
  • Product Placement in Entertainment.

What marketing content gets the best results? ›

Most business owners and marketers understand that content plays a huge part in the overall growth of the business.
Best Content Marketing Formats That Really Work
  1. Blog Posts. ...
  2. Long-Form Content. ...
  3. Podcasts. ...
  4. Email Newsletter for Lead Nurturing. ...
  5. Video. ...
  6. Authoritative Content. ...
  7. Infographics. ...
  8. How-To Guides.
11 Dec 2020

What are good examples of marketing? ›

Top 11 great marketing strategy examples and 1 you shouldn't follow
  • Spotify: offering an alternative user experience. ...
  • Nordstrom: Retargeting campaigns. ...
  • GoPro: User-generated content. ...
  • Sephora: Loyalty programs. ...
  • Rainforest alliance: “Follow the Frog.” ...
  • Twitch: Niche-specific marketing. ...
  • Nike: “Just Do It” – promoting values.
23 Sept 2021

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