As outbound marketing gives way to inbound campaigns, companies are discovering the benefits of a target audience. By targeting a specific selection of customers with each of your advertising campaigns, you ensure you’re spending money where it counts. Marketers see an up to 20% increase in sales when using personalized content.

Today’s organizations realize that all messages don’t necessarily resonate the same way with different groups of people. By finding and appealing to your target audience, you improve the impact of your marketing efforts.

What is a target audience?

A target audience is a group of people defined by certain demographics and behavior. Often, businesses use what they know about their target audience to create user personas. These personas guide their decisions on marketing campaigns.

Finding a target audience means discovering what kind of people are most likely to be interested in your service or product. Most companies look at demographic information like:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Profession
  • Location
  • Income or education level
  • Marital status

For customers to feel connected to a product, service or brand, they need to relate to the content and tone of the company’s message. Knowing which audience you’re targeting with each campaign will ensure that you speak their language. Understanding your audience will also make it easier to zero in on them with paid campaigns on social media.

How to find a target audience

There’s no one-size-fits-all audience for all companies. The only real way to discover your true target audience is to conduct plenty of research. For instance:

  • Think about the needs or pain points your product/service addresses. If your business designs websites, you could be reaching out to small business owners that lack in-house design resources.
  • Analyze your competitors: If you know who your competition is, look at their target audience. The chances are that they’ll be connecting with people who could also be valuable to your business.
  • Gather insights about your existing customers: There are plenty of tools out there that help you to learn more about your target audience. Sprout Social, as well as solutions like Facebook and Instagram Insights, provide extensive information about the demographics of your audience.

Can companies have more than one target audience?

The more research you conduct into your audience, the more you may discover that you don’t have just one user persona to target. Many businesses that sell more than one product or service also need to create multiple target audience profiles too. Your target audience may consist of dozens of different patterns and it will be up to you to cater your campaigns to those personas based on your goals.

Fortunately, the more you work on your target audience insights, the easier it will be to customize your campaigns. The information you have will even lead you to the right channels and strategies for sharing your message. For instance, a highly visual audience may respond well to an Instagram campaign. On the other hand, an older audience may prefer email and Facebook.

Tracking your campaigns will allow you to build on what you know about your target audience as time goes on.