How to Choose a Target Audience

How will your ideal business look like?

Having customers on a waitlist.

Not having to advertise or market.

Sales in tune of 6, 7 or even 8 figures monthly.

Profits that allow yearly vacation on a private island.

Whatever your answer is, it can only become reality when you target the right audience for your business. Target audience are the specific group of people in the marketplace who need your offering. As perfect-fit gloves are to fingers so are target audience to a profitable brand. If you target the right audience then you can automatically eliminate the lack of customers. Despite the importance of target audience, this is a business topic where a lot of women push back on. Some entrepreneurs who manage to accept the concept still find it hard to narrow down. During one of my coaching sessions this year, I had asked the attendees to share who their target audience were and one of the responses I got was “female and male, aged 0-100”.

This response is basically saying “everyone is my target audience”.

Everyone cannot be your target audience especially when you are a small business. Here’s why.  Imagine two hunters who leave home in the dead of the night to hunt for animals. One decided that his target animal was hyena while the other says he’s out to get a lion, a hyena, and several bats. At the end of the night, the first hunter hits his target while the other hunter couldn’t even bring home a fly. This is exactly what happens when you try to serve everyone in the marketplace instead of being specific about who it is you intend to serve.

As a small business owner, one thing you need to understand is that you cannot SERVE everyone in the marketplace unless you sell consumer everyday items. Even at that, it’s still a longshot for you to satisfy everyone in the marketplace. Human beings are complex creatures with varied needs and trying to satisfy everyone is like trying to climb Mount Everest in one day – it’s an uphill battle!

How then can you solve the problem of complexity and difference in needs? It’s by grouping humans in segments based on their unique characteristics and needs. Grouping humans into segments based on the specific needs and similarities is known as targeting.

When you target the right audience, marketing becomes easier because you know what makes them tick compared to trying to use broad terms to attract people. Also, when you target the right audience, your sales and profits will increase because your efforts will yield the result you desire.

Now that you know that there’s a strong need for you to target the right audience, how then do you target your audience?

There are various ways in which you can choose your target audience. Depending on what you sell or your area of expertise, you can choose by gender, age range, marital status, religious affiliations, occupational status, educational level, income etc.

The idea is to choose your best fit so you can increase your chances of turning prospects into customers and customers into loyal customers.

[Related: 3 Steps to Getting Customers Who Will Pay You]

Let me work you through the steps of choosing a target audience for your brand using the fashion brand, Dibiyan as an example. Pay attention to each step in the example and see if you can come up with your own target audience as well.

Dibiyan is a fashion brand owned by a 23-year old female who lives in a University community.

Let’s assume she decides that her target audience are women and men, aged 0 – 100 years.

How can she market to all these people at the same time? How can she speak their marketing languages?  How can she hit the nail on the head? This is almost like “mission impossible” because her attention will be divided in so many different ways.

She then decides to remove men from her target audience since her brain is always buzzing with styles for women.

Her new target audience are women 0 – 100 years.

With her new target audience, she expects that her business will pick up but then it doesn’t. Prospects still bypass her to competitors who attract them better than she does. She then decides to look in her environment and found out that students make up 70% of the entire population and since she’s adept in women styles, she decides to target female students. The age range of female students are 18-25 years.

Her new target audience are women 18 – 25 years

She then looks at the needs of women in this category and finds that some like modest designs, some like contemporary while some like modern. Dibiyan loves all things modest and people around her already compliment her for a job well done each time she creates a modest design. Since modesty is an area of strength for her, she decides to narrow down yet again and her new target audience are women 18 – 25 years who love modest styles.

[Related: How to Start Charging Customers What You Truly Deserve]

Things are looking pretty good now because her message is resonating with a core audience and they are beginning to respond to Dibiyan because they feel she’s talking to them directly and can understand what it is that they want. This target audience are however split in their preference of modest wears.  Some like customized while some would rather have ready-to-wear. Dibiyan decides to narrow down by choosing to sew ready-to-wear. As a result of this, her new target audience are women 18 – 25 years who love ready-to-wear modest styles.

Finally, she has her target audience and this is how she eventually brands herself as a fashion brand for young women 18 – 25 years who love ready-to-wear modest styles.

Now compare her first choice to the one she eventually came up with. Which of these do you think resonates better?

Choosing a target audience is a win for small business owners and for your brand to stand out, you must target your audience. When you choose a target audience, it does not mean you cannot serve those outside your audience, it just means that you have a core set of people who fit your brand the most.

Thank you for reading. Do you have a target audience?  Or do you have difficulty in choosing your target audience?  Please leave a comment and share this post with a friend.