How to Zero In on Your Perfect Target Audience

Knowing how to find your target audience is a core part of business success for any brand in any industry today.

Modern technology has saturated most marketing channels and put consumers in charge of how they’ll interact with brands. In this environment, brands can’t waste time with batch-and-blast email efforts or general marketing campaigns that may or may not hit the mark.

The truth is, consumers ignore much of what they see on social media ads, in their inboxes, and published on search engine results pages. What catches their attention is content that speaks directly to their needs and preferences — that makes them feel understood.

For brands, this means communicating with the right people through the right channels at the right time is absolutely essential. We’ve put together a list of 5 simple and actionable yet critical steps you can take to zero on your brand’s target audience.

Quick Takeaways

  • Knowing your competitors helps you avoid critical mistakes as you zero in on your target audience, such as repeating mistakes or offering products with no market need.
  • Brands must have a fully-defined understanding of their own goals and value proposition in order to effectively identify their target audience.
  • Focusing on customer pain points makes your audience feel understood.
  • Brands should incorporate online research into their internal processes to understand what audiences are saying about them on review pages, social media, and other internet discussion forums.
  • Current customer data is a valuable resource of information that can help you drill down further into target audience segments.

Know your competitors

It might seem odd to start here. If you want to know your target audience, why focus on what your competitors are doing? Well, there’s a lot you can learn from understanding larger trends in your industry — specifically, what’s worked and what hasn’t for your competitors.

The best way to do this is to assess your competitive landscape with a sharp focus on benefits and value. Ask questions like: what do your competitors offer that’s resonating with your target customer base? Where have they missed? What do they offer that you don’t? What do you offer that they don’t? What channels have been successful or unsuccessful for them?

If you’ve never conducted a competitive landscape analysis before, check out this in-depth and very actionable guide from SEMRush:

Failing to pay attention to your competitors as you zero in on your own target audience can lead to critical errors like repeating mistakes or offering products and services with no market need.

Know your own brand

While knowing your competitors is important, even more critical is to know your own brand. Your competitor analysis should provide valuable insights into your larger industry environment, and now it’s time to ask yourself: where does our brand fit? Who do we serve? What are our goals? What is our unique value proposition?

Spending time defining your own brand ensures that later down the road you don’t fall into the trap of simply filling competitor gaps or chasing down every customer demand.

Instead, you can maintain a clear understanding of your core competencies and high-value offerings, remaining flexible to changing market conditions and trends.

Focus on pain points

Customer pain points can be defined as the specific problem or challenge customers are experiencing that creates a need for your solution.

While it might seem like an obvious thing to know, many brands make the critical mistake of focusing so much on their product features that they don’t pay attention to how big the actual need for it is, or how they can adjust their offerings to meet it more effectively.

Ultimately, customers care about solving their problems. They’ll go with the brands that demonstrate an understanding of this problem and show right away how their solutions will solve it.

One way you can research customer pain points and understand how your product fills them is by maintaining a “jobs to be done” (JTBD) mentality. This approach aims to understand what the customer is trying to accomplish by purchasing your solution, and thus allows you to adjust your offerings and marketing messages accordingly.

Here’s a good example of the JTBD framework with examples:

Knowing your customers’ pain points and the “jobs” they’re trying to accomplish enables you to craft messaging that makes your target audience feel seen and understood, building critical brand trust and creating a better connection between you and your customers.

Find out what customers are saying

Modern technology has made it easier than ever to know what customers are saying about your brand and leverage that information to make it better. Some of this requires manual work, like crawling through message boards, social media forums, product review pages, and social media comment sections to get a sense of the general conversation.

Smart companies build a process for gathering this information into their ongoing research strategies so that they can zero in on specific problems, needs, and target customer profiles in future marketing initiatives.

Knowing what’s being said about your brand online can help you identify new customer segments, discover new ways that customers are using your products, and capitalize on the features and benefits most lauded by current customers.

It also gives you control over your brand’s narrative because you can quickly respond to customer complaints, resolve problems, and ensure that small problems don’t become bigger issues down the road.

Leverage current customer data

Your current customers are one of your most valuable resources for zeroing in on your target audience.

Collecting and analyzing a wide range of current customer data can help you pinpoint customer demographics, preferences, behavior trends, and other critical insights that enable you to build better target customer profiles.

Today, basic customer data collection can be automatically built into the order, account creation, or subscription processes. You can expand on that initial data by utilizing customer surveys to ask for more information (often sent as a standalone email or as a follow-up to a particular interaction).

Google Analytics is also (mostly) free and provides a treasure trove of customer data through their audiences tab — including demographics, interests, and preferences — that can help you create more targeted marketing content and launch remarketing efforts that increase returning users.

Our outbound email software and lead generation services are custom-built for startups, consultancies, marketing agencies, and other B2B organizations. Schedule a quick call with us and find out how we can help you win more clients.