Define and Build Your Target Audience

Andrea Palmer

Published Mon 15 Feb by Andrea Palmer in Marketing More Effectively

If you’re a relatively new or start-up business, this article offers practice guidance on identifying your target audience and building a customer base

It can be easy to fall into the trap of believing your product or service is what everybody needs.

By defining your target audience more specifically it can help you to:

  • Tailor your product / services to customers' needs
  • Market messages for the best possible performance
  • Create content that resonates better with potential customers

If you haven't already, a good first step is to list some of the groups your target audience might belong to. For example:

  • Demographics - location, age, gender, relationships, marital status, etc
  • Taste in art / views
  • Political views
  • Social groups - e.g. friends. online hangouts, club membership, associations, etc

Once you have prospects grouped, it's time to grow relationships and gain insights. You can do this by exploring:

  • What websites and platforms do they use?
  • How do they present themselves?
  • What are they talking about?
  • What issues are important to them?
  • What problems do they have?


Listening will help to you to:

  • Gain insights into problems your prospect may have
  • Product and services they buy
  • Hobbies they're into
  • Who their family and friends are


After a period of listening, it's time to engage with your prospects:

  • Ask questions - Tease out problems and worries your prospects might have or be experiencing. Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions
  • Invest in building lasting relationships – This may take up a lot of time, but it’s well worth the effort. By building relationships, you're building trust; prospects who trust you are more likely to buy from you
  • Always answer prospect's queries as soon as possible – This builds trust by showing you care
  • Be consistent – Use social media and other web-related platforms associated with your business consistently. People will come to expect your input, so keep the conversation going
  • Build up a good following before you start to sell

Capture Your Target Audience

When a business is just starting out it doesn’t usually have a pool of clients to work from. A good way to build a client base is to offer a free trial. This encourages awareness and engagement.

Using a teaser to capture your target audience is a fantastic way to evaluate how they react to your actual product or service - It’s a great way to get your prospects to open up.

Nuffield fitness offered a free pass at their gym. This gave them an opportunity to:

  • Showcase what they had to offer
  • Encouraged membership - By offering a free 1 day trial of its services 
  • Demonstrate their openness - Prospect could see exactly what they would get for their money 
  • Gained valuable feedback from prospects 
  • Signup prospects to become full time members

Boost Your Customer Base

We’ve talked about using social media to drive communication between you and your audience. It’s also a very useful tool to drive prospects to your website.

Getting people to sign up on your website for free tips or tasters not only gets your product or service out there but also helps you gather information about your prospects. 

This information can be used later on down the line for email marketing.

Platforms like Mail Chimp are a good way to send your branded messages out.

The idea is to send a short tantalising message to your customers about things which may benefit them. e.g.

  • Tips and free advice
  • Offers and free trials coming up 
  • Seasonal sales

Be consistent, but don’t spam your subscribers – Sending a monthly update which is full of benefits is more likely to be clicked.

Continue to offer:

  • Free advice – from your website blog posts or articles – Providing regular benefits driven content
  • A two-way conversation - Blogs which allows comments from readers are essential; it helps people feel they're being heard and helps you to gain trust from your followers, prospects and customers
  • A fast response to comments or questions
  • A positive response - if you’re unfortunate enough to receive negative comments about your service or product
  • Tasters and offers 

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