Finding Your Target Audience

Identifying the Target Audience for your start-up or small business is an important step. Picture a friend, family member, or acquaintance who is very likely to purchase and enjoy your product. Begin building a profile including age, marital status, gender and presence of children. Add demographics, psychographics and firmographics as appropriate. (See What Is Your Target Market? for definitions and background.)

The next piece of the puzzle is to begin locating your potential buyers in a cost-effective way. How can you do that?

First, determine where your Target Market can be found.

What similar products would that person buy or currently own? Where would those have been purchased?

Are there specific events your target would be likely to attend? Examples: state fairs, equestrian or dog competitions, writer’s conferences, sporting events, live music performances, home shows, antique shows, car shows, and craft shows.

Would your target join a trade or industry group? Examples:  state law board, American Medical Association, or organic farming association.

Is there a website or Facebook page your target would be likely to frequent?  Examples: offers local care connections for seniors and kids, as well as potential caregivers.

What social or community groups might your target join? Examples: houses of worship, Rotary Club, book clubs, local non-profits, veterans groups, Junior League, and fitness centers.

Are there hobbies your target is likely to enjoy? Examples: travel, fly fishing, auto racing, reading a particular genre, running.

When seeking similar resources or products, is your target more likely to turn to a search engine or the yellow pages? More likely to visit a mall or a website? If you are going to have a physical selling location, what stores or locations might your target visit?

Is geography a factor? For instance:  1) a home service provider, such as an electrician, would have a target market within a defined geographic area, 2) a consultant or author is not constrained by geography if work is primarily done by phone and internet.

What other factors are relevant to your search?

Next, identify specific resources tied to your Target’s needs, habits or interests. For example:

Dog walker/trainers:  Your audience visits local shelters, pet stores, veterinary clinics and dog parks. Organize a list of known dog-owners in your community. If they love to show off their pups on Facebook, a new page dedicated to your services may be the best way to show off your canine credentials. Pet stores and clinics may have a physical or virtual bulletin board for providers.

Consultant in a specific industry:  Organize existing industry contacts. Identify key industry publications, conferences and websites. Well-written, informative articles are often accepted by targeted publications.

Writers: Identify publishers and agents in your genre(s), as well as the best way to initiate contact with them. Find resource guides and magazines for writers. Seek relevant websites and build relationships. Determine which (if any) social media platforms should be developed once you have a clear understanding of your product and positioning as an author.

What marketing opportunities connect to the needs, habits and interests of your target audience?

Once you have a product and understand your target market, what comes next? Over the next several weeks, we will be talking more about positioning and advertising. All of these factors are part of developing a strong business plan.  

Until we meet again,
The Entrepreneur’s Friend

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The Entrepreneur’s Friend® is a registered trademark of Wheaton Consulting Group LLC.   Photo credits: All photos were taken by Cynthia Wheaton and owned by Wheaton Consulting Group LLC except as noted. Coffee cup art by Jim Wheaton.   Author support: Fellow authors from The Wrinklings and Light of Carolina Christian Writers Group.