How to Identify Your Target Audience

Marketing seems to be one of those things that business owners hate to do. It’s hard to track, it feels like something you constantly have to do, and sometimes it can feel like you’re just straight-up talking to no one. 

Yeah, I know the feeling. 

At one of my previous marketing roles, I joined a company that told me their target audience was women 25-65+. 

Well, that made my job a *little* challenging.

The needs and desires of a 25-year-old versus the needs and desires of a 65-year-old varies GREATLY. 

Not to mention the way they consume content and ads are soooo very different. 

The problem with that company’s approach of saying their target audience is 25-65+ was that they were trying to talk to everyone – with the same messaging and on the same platforms. 

But when you do that you’re really talking to no one. 

When you’re not speaking directly to the wants, needs, desires, and fears of your target audience they’re going to tune you out. 

In order for your marketing efforts to really work, you need to know who your target audience is.

You may even have multiple target audiences. 

For the company I mentioned above, we ended up breaking it down to 3 different target audiences: 

  • Boomers
  • Active Families
  • Aesthetically-Focused Singles 

This helped us focus on targeting these people based on their core motivators and on platforms where they actually were.  

To be effective in your marketing, you need to know who your target audience is, using both demographics and psychographic data.

In a previous post, I share how to define your ideal client and craft messaging that speaks directly to them. 

Using the Listen, Ask, Use approach I make it easy for you to identify your ideal client’s pain points and create messaging that speaks directly to them. 

But, creating your messaging is just a component of getting your marketing to be effective. 

And, I’m not going to downplay it, because it’s a very important piece – the messaging is what connects and resonates with your audience and gets them to take action

However, that messaging won’t do much if it’s not in front of the right people. 

In my last post, I shared how the PESO model can help your marketing efforts by breaking down the 4 different types of marketing: Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned. 

To help you identify where you should be focusing your marketing time and energy, I asked 3 questions: 

  • What is your budget?
  • Where does your target audience hang out?
  • What are your goals?

The first and last questions are really driven by you and your business, but that second question is all about your target audience. 

Understanding Your Target Audience

While the question: “where does your target audience hang out?” may seem straight forward, I am really asking you several questions with that one. 

If you’ve tried to set up a paid ad on Facebook Ads Manager you were greeted with a couple of prompts and questions to help Facebook serve your ad to the right people. 

If you didn’t intimately know your target audience before jumping into the backend of Ads Manager you may have quickly become overwhelmed by all of the options and questions it asks.

This is a great example of why it’s important to know and understand your target audience. 

In order to serve ads to your potential clients, you need to know more than where they live and how much money they make. You also need to know their interest, hobbies and how they spend their free time.

By knowing both the demographics and psychographics of your target audience you’re able to gain valuable insight into the message and places you should be spending your time to market your business.

So, let’s break down the difference between Demographic and Psychographic information.

Demographics vs. Psychographics 

The demographics of your target audience are pretty straight forward. Typically, most business owners find it easy to answer this part of who their potential clients are.

The demographics include: 

  • Age
  • Income 
  • Sex
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Marital Status 
  • Level of Education

Depending on your product or service you may want to further expand on the demographics of your target audience but that info is typically a great starting point. 

While this information is helpful for marketing, it is limited. It doesn’t go deeper to convey the motivations and desires of your potential clients. 

That’s where the psychographics come into play.

Your demographics will tell you who, while psychographics will tell you why

The psychographics includes:

  • Personality
  • Values
  • Attitudes
  • Interests
  • Lifestyle

In order to truly understand what motivates your target audience, you need to know their IAO variables. IAO refers to interests, activities, and opinions. These are the three major areas of psychographic research. 

To help you define their IAO variables, you’ll want to be able to answer these questions: 

  1. What are the interests of your target audience?
  2. What activities (hobbies) do they participate in? 
  3. What are their attitudes/opinions towards a particular subject?

There are a couple of ways to gain insight into your target audience’s IAOs.

Similar to defining your ideal client, you’ll want to ask (and listen!), through one-on-one calls or surveys. 

This hands-on approach is really helpful as you are starting your business or are just a few years in! 

If you have a website and decent traffic to your site, you can actually gain insight into the psychographics of your audience through Google Analytics

Once you’re in GA, go to Audience > Interests > Overview. 

You’ll notice there are three sections: Affinity Category (reach), In-Market Segment, Other Category. 

Looking at all three of these categories, you’ll be able to get a much better idea of your audience’s interests. What they like, where they spend their time, and what they’re interested in. 

The In-Market Segment shows the things your customers are currently in the market for. Meaning, they’re more likely ready to make a purchase on the areas shown in this section. 

Neil Patel (my favorite resource for SEO), also breaks down the use of identifying psychographics in Google Analytics with a thorough overview.


Google Analytics Screenshot of Interests Overview section to gain insight into the interest and behaviors of your audience.

With both, demographics and psychographics, you have a much clearer picture of your audience. 

Making it much easier to craft messaging that speaks directly to them AND reach them where they are – because you now know! 

Once you have this information, you have a clear view of your target audience, and you can create a marketing strategy that is specific to them.

To Sum It Up

In conclusion, to create an effective marketing strategy, you need to define your target audience (even if it means having multiple audiences). 

But, you can’t just have the demographics of your target audience, you also need to know the psychographics of them to understand not only who but why they’re needing your product or service.

Understanding the demographics and psychographics of your target audience will make it so much easier for you to identify where to spend your marketing time and efforts for your small business. 

What’s something new you learned from this post? Share it in the comments below! 

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