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Who are your customers?

Understanding your target audience is a fundamental step in building a successful business. Your target audience represents the individuals or groups most likely to be interested in your products or services. By identifying and catering to the needs and preferences of this audience, you can make the most of your marketing activities and ultimately increase your chances of success. Below are some key steps to get you started with the process of identifying your likely audience or customers for your business.

Market research

Market research is the starting point of identifying your target audience. It involves gathering data and insights about your industry, competitors, and potential customers. Here are some key steps in conducting effective market research:

  • Competitor analysis: Study your competitors to understand who their customers are and what methods they use to attract them. Depending on your industry, there will be a variety of information available about the general profiles of customers for your type of business. Some of this information will be free, some may need to be paid for.
  • Customer surveys: Conduct surveys or interviews with existing customers to gather information about their demographics, preferences, and pain points.
  • Demographic data: There are numerous reports available from different agencies. Search for reports about general population information in your market area about information such as age, gender, location, income level, and occupation to segment your potential audience.
  • Psychographic data: ‘Psychographic’ refers to the study of people’s wants, needs and behaviours. This information can include factors like lifestyle, values, and interests, which will help you gain deeper insights into your audience’s motivations and decision-making processes.
  • Market trends: Stay updated on industry trends, consumer behaviour changes, economic and policy shifts, and emerging markets that may affect your target audience.

Remember, your business doesn’t stand still, and neither will the market or your audience. Repeat this activity on an annual basis to see how your customer base is evolving and how their needs are changing.

Create customer personas

Once you’ve collected data from your market research, use this information to create detailed customer personas. Personas are fictional, generalised profiles of your customer groups. Each persona should include demographic details, as well as their likely wants and needs, and the challenges that your product or service can address. Creating these personas helps you personalise your marketing efforts and tailor your messaging to resonate with your target audience.

Look at your current customer base

If you have an existing customer base, spend some time looking in to what you know about them to identify common characteristics – particularly among your best customers. Look for patterns in demographics, buying behaviour, and customer feedback. Your current customers can provide valuable insights into the type of audience your business attracts and serves well.

Use your social media insights

Social media platforms offer robust insights and analytics tools that can help you understand your audience better. Explore these tools to gather data on the demographics, interests, and behaviours of your social media followers, including what content they have strongly engaged with. This information can help refine your target audience and inform your content strategy.

Conduct focus groups and surveys

Consider conducting focus groups, either face-to-face or online, or, if that isn’t possible, online surveys to gather direct feedback from potential customers. These can provide valuable qualitative insights and allow you to refine your understanding of your target audience.

Test and refine

Identifying your target audience is an ongoing process. As your business evolves and grows, so may your audience. Continuously test and refine your audience segmentation based on new data and feedback. Be open to adjusting your marketing strategies to better serve the evolving needs of your target audience.

Learn more

Find out how to monitor the effectiveness of your marketing activities

See more about how you can retain your customers