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How to Research Your Target Audience

Digital Marketing


If content is king, then distribution is undoubtedly its all-important queen.

You can spend all the time and money in the world producing the best content, but it all goes to waste if it fails to reach the right audience. So, before you invest all that effort, time, and resources on your marketing materials, it’s a good idea to determine your target audience, find out how to effectively reach them, and figure out if they find your content appealing to begin with.

Finding the right audience for your business doesn’t mean you’re closing doors on people who don’t fall under your criteria of the ideal customer. Instead, target audience research lets you direct your marketing resources and brand message to a specific demographic that’s more likely to purchase from you than other audience segments. 

Let’s dive into how your business can pin down your target audience for more effective marketing campaigns.

Deconstruct Your Market

Take a look at the underlying demographics to identify who needs your product or service and who are most likely to buy it. Consider the following factors:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Education
  • Income
  • Occupation
  • Marital Status
  • Ethnicity

The data paints a basic image of your buyer persona’s day-to-day tasks, activities, and buying decisions—allowing you to be familiar with your core customers. Again, this is done to concentrate your message on the people who will make the most impact. 

Use Psychographics to Talk to Your Audience

Demographic factors tell you who are buying your products or services, while psychographics reveal why they buy it. Observing your core market’s interests and characteristics can help you gain insights about their preferences and help you incorporate some of these attributes into your brand messages. Psychographics covers the following: 

  • Personality
  • Attitudes
  • Values
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Lifestyles
  • Behavior

Psychographic profiling requires you to immerse in your core market’s psychology and purchasing motivations. Your analysis should reveal trends and patterns in your audience’s personalities, interests, and values. With this, you can develop familiarity in your content marketing efforts, further motivating your buyers to take action and proceed through the sales cycle.

How to Build Your Audience Persona

Now that you’ve finally pinned down who would benefit most from what you’re offering, you may proceed to creating accurate buyer personas of your target audience:

Step 1: Research what your ideal customer/client looks like

This is where your demographics and psychographics analyses come in. It will allow you to filter the base foundation of your target personas and identify shared properties, providing you a benchmark of which organizations you’re trying to serve. 

Step 2: Narrow the common details

Next, you should weed through the results to find the most important information about your subscribers and customers. For instance, if majority of your customers face a similar issue (i.e. working parents don’t have enough time to look after their kids), this will be critical information to include in your persona. 

Step 3: Create separate personas

Most organizations develop between 3-7 fictional representations of your ideal customers since it’s unmanageable to fit all the possible characteristics in one persona. To do this, identify those who share the same challenges and goals and group them into their own segment

Step 4: Name them

The best way to treat your personas as real people is to give them a name. This will encourage you to write more personalized content. A good example of a naming convention includes an adjective that describes the persona as a whole, along with a common name sharing the same first letter (i.e. Entrepreneur Eric, Affluent Annie).


Learn More about Your Audiences

Beyond the buyer personas, you need to look at other indicators to help you examine key factors that identify your core audience. 

1. Study your existing audience

Your existing customers are the perfect audience for conducting a study on how your target market should look. You can roll out customer satisfaction surveys to your current customers to know about their experience. You can send this through email, or if your audience is more social media savvy, you can publish survey links on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other channels to get more insight. This serves as a proactive way of understanding your audience—how they think and perceive your brand.

You can also opt to invest in an audience research tool to learn more about where your ideal customers are as well as their content consumption preferences. SparkToro, for example, can help analyze millions of public social and web profiles to reveal demographics, behavioral traits, and discussion topics.

2. Collect data from your sales teams

If you’re looking for further input, your sales team (who deals with customers on the daily) can be a reliable source for developing your customer data. You can go right ahead and ask your sales representatives to run your customers through a quick survey to get immediate responses for your market research. Create Google dashboards where you can easily import the data collected by your sales reps to consolidate your customer data. Other than that, your sales reps should also be familiar with the most common questions, concerns, and customer types.

3. Know the needs of your users and buyers

The user of your product or services can profoundly differ from the decision-makers. With this in mind, you’ll want to produce content for these sub-audiences. For instance, if you’re a B2B organization selling a CRM software, you’ll likely target mid-sized companies with more or less than a hundred employees.

The users of your software are:

  • Around 25-35 years old
  • Working within a customer service department or digital marketing company
  • Looking for user-friendly platforms
  • Looking for relevant and useful features such as quick access across devices and quick sharing across departments

The buyers of your software are:

  • Around 40-55 years old, in upper management
  • Looking for a software that’s worth the price
  • Looking for a tool that will improve the company’s efficiency and business operations
  • Looking for a tool that is intuitive and has many useful features

4. Check your competition

Who are your competitors targeting? Competitor research is a great way to get an idea about your competitors’ weak spots and overlooked areas towards the market. You can also observe and learn from how they market their brand to potential customers. This can inspire you to find ways to distinguish yourself and fill potential gaps in the demand for content. 

5. Use trackable short links to collect data from any platform

Obviously, you want to learn as much about your audience as possible, and it can be difficult to do that across multiple channels. With custom short URLs (or branded links), you can gain valuable insight into your audience’s behavior and preferred types of content — even down to the day of the week, or hour of the day they’re most likely to engage with your brand. Tools like Rebrandly’s URL Shortener are great for this as they enable you to create short, custom links to share on social media, in emails, newsletters — and pretty much anywhere else — to help you collect data that you can use to inform your targeting strategy. 

Targeting the Right People

In B2C and B2B marketing alike, getting a firm grasp of who you’re talking to and understanding how they think are vital to achieving the results you’re aiming for. With a clearly defined audience, your business can produce and implement appropriate content marketing strategies that match their interests, drive quality traffic, and build your reputation as an authority figure.


Frequently Asked Questions

How to Find (and Research) Your Target Audience

Social media platforms offer analytics tools to help you monitor how your posts perform. The platform where your posts gained more traction tells you that your target audience often uses that platform.

Another way to tell which platform your target audience uses is to look at where your competitors publish their promotional materials. If you see competitor ads on Instagram, it could mean that your audience is often on that social media platform.

Target audience analysis is essentially learning more about the people most likely to buy your product or service. When you do a target audience analysis, you aim to uncover who exactly buys from you and who doesn’t. You seek to learn demographic and psychographic information to improve your marketing strategies.

Sending surveys to your existing customers can help you uncover why they chose your business to solve their problems. You can also speak to your sales or customer service team and ask what the most common customer complaints are to give you an overview of your customers’ problems that need solving.

You could also try Google Trends or the Google Search Autocomplete feature to give you a glimpse of what people are searching for and, therefore, need help with or solutions for.

Your target audience is a way to define your customer base through demographics and psychographics broadly. On the other hand, customer personas are more specific; they act as a visualization of your ideal customer that represents your entire or a segment of your target audience.

Your target audience can contain multiple customer personas since various customers may need your business for different purposes.

It isn’t enough to know your target audience but where they are in the sales funnel. Promotional material for customers about to make a purchase may not be as effective for customers who are still unaware of the full scope of the problems they need to solve.

A good start would be to think about where prospects may be in the buying cycle. Then, develop content that provides the information they need to make a decision and move onto the next stage.