10 Ways to Learn More About Your Target Audience


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In a recent Forbes Insights survey, 54% of companies in North America cited their biggest challenge is identifying their target audience. It makes sense when you think about it because this will determine whether you succeed with your next marketing campaign. Fall at this hurdle and it effectively damns the rest of your marketing campaign.

This guide is going to show you ten ways in which you can go about identifying your target audience.

Challenge Your Assumptions

Most business leaders assume they already know their target audience. They already have an idea in mind for who their target audience is, but they have no numbers to back any of this up. Get rid of these assumptions and start with an open mind.

If you already have assumptions, ask yourself why this is your target audience of choice. Most people will quickly realize that they have absolutely no reasoning at all.

Learn from Others

Don’t think you have to start from nothing. The chances are people have already helped you out on the research front. Make sure the research is as relevant and as recent as possible so you know that the numbers are relevant to your business today.

This will save you a lot of time and effort in the long-term.

Form the Idea of Your Perfect Customer

This is an exercise where you will form a fictional character. This character is your perfect customer. It’s the person your product or service is designed for. Rarely will your customers match this template personally, but that isn’t necessary.

Include things like income level, age, sex, and location.

Conduct Surveys

You should look to conduct a survey at least once every six months. These should be sent to the largest audience possible. There are organizations that can help you find study groups for this. Cover the widest cross-section of society possible.

To get hard statistics, stick to simple multiple choice answers. This will allow you to come up with some numbers afterwards.

Conduct Customer-Specific Surveys

Repeat the same process but do it with your specific audience. Your customers will be able to tell you how well you are doing in meeting their needs. These surveys are ideal for letting you know whether you are shifting in the wrong direction.

Look at Your Competitors

Your competitors may have already gone through the same processes and compiled your data for you. This makes it easy for you to use the same data. You may not have access to the hard numbers, but the activities of your competitors can give you an idea of what’s working and what isn’t.

Observe your competitors from time to time and you might learn something.

Look to Other Popular Purchases

Look at your target audience and consider what else is popular among them. This may be entirely unrelated to your industry, and that’s okay. What you’re looking at is how these brands are positioning themselves and the messages they are sending.

If your target audience responds to that, they will respond to it in another industry.

Use Social Listening Software

Social listening software can help you find out what your customers are saying online on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else. You can find out what topics are trending and how your target audience is reacting to certain things. Find out why they are saying what they are saying.

Again, focus on brands that are already successful to find out what works and what doesn’t.

Look Deeper into What People are Saying About You

Together with social listening software and Google Analytics, you can find out how users are behaving when they come to your website. Are they interacting with your blogs and sharing them? You may find that most of your interactions are coming from a demographic you never considered before.

Think about Growth

This journey is never truly at an end. Grasp the fact that you will never understand everything. If you did, your audience would change before you can take advantage of it. You as a business are evolving and your audience is evolving.

This should be a never-ending process. Strive to continue to understand your audience better.

Last Word

It’s never too late to get started with this. If you have yet to begin, then start by using the numbers you already have access to. Social media data and data from your website will give you a rough idea about what your audience persona.

What do you think is the most important part of discovering who your target audience is?


AJ Agrawal
I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify


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