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Find, define, and tailor target audiences for your business

An approach with 7 tips

The customer group of your business is the most crucial key factor for achieving success. Therefore, it is critical to know who they are and how you can reach them. To do this effectively, you can segment your customer base into target audiences. 

In this article, we will: 

  • Take a close look at how you can find your target audience 
  • Examine what might influence your choice of target audience 
  • Provide some specific methods you can use to define your target audience 

Finally, we will also look at some important things to keep in mind when working with target audience-driven communication. Grab your notebook and get started! 

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What is a target audience?

A target audience is a subgroup of a business’s customer base. This subgroup is based on preferences, or segments, that the people in the group have in common. 

This can range from “adult, environmentally-conscious women going hiking” and “young, fashion-conscious men going to a party” to “beginners” and “experienced,” depending on how you have set up your target audiences and what kind of business you have. 

The first two target groups, for example, might be interested in visiting a shoe store, but they will likely: 

  • Be looking for two quite different products 
  • Use different keywords when searching for the products they are looking for 
  • Be found on different platforms and channels 
  • Respond differently to various ads and marketing activities 

Even though your customer group can be seen as a large group of people, it is likely that these are individuals with different preferences and needs. 

Why is it smart to find and define target audiences? 

When a business has identified and defined its target audience, it enhances the brand in many ways. Here are some of the areas that can be strengthened by having a clearly identified and defined target audience. 

Your website content

Your website can now be customised and improved based on the preferences of your target audience. This may include: 

  • An improved user experience, as you now know which information or products in your online store are most important to the target group 
  • How you write your product descriptions if you have an online store 
  • A better SEO strategy, because you know the keywords that are important for your target audience 
  • The colours you should choose for your website 

Your marketing

With an identified target audience, you can run targeted campaigns that hit the mark, because you: 

  • Know the type of content that your target audience is most tempted by 
  • Know where this content should be placed 

Now that you know who you want to reach and where they likely are, it’s possible to create campaigns that are precisely aimed at these people. 

Instead of “shooting in the dark,” you can now be more confident that your content has value for the people that you want to reach, on a channel where they are likely to see it. 

Not only does this save you time, but campaigns targeted towards a specific audience are a worthwhile investment because there is a higher likelihood that the people the campaign is aimed at will respond to it and become customers.  

Customer loyalty

An identified and defined target audience will increase your chance to create and keep loyal customers, because you now have a brand that knows who it is really trying to reach and has tailored your brand accordingly. 

A larger stream of new customers

The same adjustments have also made it easier for those in the target audience to find you and get the right impression that what you have to offer is right for them. 

4 criteria for choosing your target audience 

Before you put on your researcher’s hat and start the important work of finding your target audiences, it’s good to set some criteria for what a target audience should be. 

The target audience must be identifiable

A good target audience is one that can actually be found. To achieve this, it’s smart to think about which segments and preferences each target group should have. 

Age and location are two of the most common segments to divide target groups into, for example, “youth in Liverpool”. This is also information about your target audience that is quite easy to find. We will look more closely at how to find this information later in the article. 

Sorting a target audience into “everyone who feels a bit more positive about life after drinking a carbonated drink” is an example of a segment that might be harder to figure out and keep track of.   

The target audience must be the right size

There is a fine balance when it comes to the size of the target audience. If your target audience is too small, there may not be any profit in investing time and resources in making adaptations and adjustments for the group. 

At the same time, a target audience that is too large can be detrimental because having too many people in a group makes it difficult to fine-tune communication in a way that applies to everyone. 

Where that balance lies depends on your business; its size, products and services, and capacity. Your target audiences are unique to your business. 

If you don’t immediately have an idea of how large your target audiences should be, that’s very understandable. Working with target audiences is a continuous process. 

As a starting point, we recommend starting with a too large rather than too small target audience. With a large target audience, you will, through continuous analysis, find out what works and what doesn’t. 

You can, for example, try your hand at some A/B tests aimed at the target group, and as you gather information, it may be relevant to consider whether the target group should be further divided.

The target audience must fit into your customer group and brand

One common trait for all the people in your customer group is that these are people who will benefit from or enjoy your products and services. 

A golden rule when creating target groups is therefore that your target audience must primarily be people who will need what you have to offer for one reason or another. 

Thinking about why they will want it and how you can convince them that it is you and your business that have the solution to their problem is a key part of all aspects of your marketing in general. 

The number of target audiences should not exceed your capacity 

The number of target audiences you choose to segment your customer base into depends on the type of business you have, the size of your business, and which segmentation will be most effective for you.  

For some, focusing on just 1-2 target groups may be more than enough, but if you have products or services meant for very different customer groups, it might be beneficial to have one target group per service or product group. 

We recommend getting started with a maximum of 1-2 target groups without too many segments. 

This way, you become familiar with how your business can work with target group-driven communication, and you also avoid missing out on people who might fit into your target group even if you originally did not think so. 

It might be appropriate to narrow it down in the long run, as you conduct more analysis and become better acquainted with your groups. 


This checklist can be used as control questions when you are finding and defining your target audiences: 

☐ Do the people in my target audience have preferences that are possible for me to learn about? 

☐ Are there enough people in the target audience that it’s worth making adjustments to target them? 

☐ Are there too many people in my target group for it to be possible to make adjustments that reach everyone in the group? 

☐ Are these primarily people who will benefit from what I have to offer? 

With this checklist in mind, it’s time to start searching! 

How to find your target audience: 7 tips

1. Your business idea

A great place to start the journey towards tailored target audiences is with your business idea, which is also the beginning of your company’s adventure. 

Let’s go back to the roots: Who are you, and what can you offer? And most importantly: Who are you trying to reach? 

The answers to these questions provide a very good starting point for determining who your actual target audience is. 

2. Customer history

Dive deep into your existing customers to learn more about them. Who are your typical customers? Where do they live, how old are they, and what are they interested in? 

3. Google Analytics 

If you have a website or an online store from one.com, you can gather information about your visitors using your own analytics tool. You can also use another analytics tool like Google Analytics

With Google Analytics, you can discover a lot about the users visiting your website, including their age, the city they are from, the device they use, which products are most popular, which articles are most frequently read, and much more. In other words, extremely important data to enhance your business in many areas. 

4. Social media followers

If your business has profiles on various social media channels, now is the right time to closely examine your followers there. Which channels have the most followers and engagement? Can you identify any similarities among the profiles that liked and commented on your posts? 

5. Your newsletter subscribers

Does your business send out newsletters? If you use an email marketing platform, most have an analytics tool you can utilise. 

6. Market research

Market research is a smart tool that can also be used to identify your target groups. It can provide you with valuable insights into who your customers are and what their preferences might be. 

You can also conduct a poll or a survey with specific questions or perform A/B testing

7. Competitors

It’s fine draw inspiration from your competitors. They’re competition for your business precisely because you offer similar products or services or solve the same problems for potential customers. 

A deep dive into who your competitors are trying to reach can thus give you good insight into who you should also try to reach. 

Look at the adjustments they have made to their website, what you can find out about their marketing activities, and which channels they are on. How does the audience interact with them, and who are the people doing it? 

How to define your target audience 

Now that we’ve looked at various methods and places where you can find your target audience, we can try to organise this information into a system to define your target audience. 


Segmentation is an essential part of defining who your target audience is. When we segment a target audience, we divide it into groups based on characteristics, traits, or preferences—such as age, location, or interest.  

For a deep dive into how you can segment your target audience, we recommend our beginner’s guide to target groups


A smart way to work with the different target groups you’ve divided your customer base into is to create personas for them. When you create a persona, you build a profile for an individual who represents the target group you’ve defined. 

This can be set up visually like a profile card or almost like a CV, ideally with a fictitious picture of the person. The purpose is to use personas as a tool to get a more detailed picture of whom you are primarily trying to communicate with. 

How you set up a persona and what criteria are smart to include depends on your business and the segments you have divided your target groups into. Here are some points that can be included when creating a persona: 

Preferably a name that immediately tells which target group the persona belongs to. For the shoe store we talked about in an earlier example, it could be: 

Holly the Hiker 
(from the target group “adult, environmentally conscious women going on a mountain hike”)
Richard Ready-to-Party  
(from the target group “adult, environmentally conscious women going on a mountain hike”)
The names immediately indicate the type of person we are now going to read about, making it easy to start visualising who the person is and what their intentions are. 

Include any demographic information you have for the target group. Age, residence, marital status, occupation, education, and income. 

For Holly the Hiker, we might imagine that the age range of the target group is 45-55 years. Therefore, it might be smart to set her persona’s age at 50 since that’s the average age. 

Psychographics – interests and values

Include any psychographic information you have for the target group: Interests, values, lifestyle, personality traits.  

Holly The Hiker is environmentally conscious and loves nature. She leads a minimalist lifestyle and works as a volunteer at a local environmental organisation. 


What challenge does the person have that your business can solve? Is there anything the person finds irritating when it comes to finding what they’re looking for or making a purchase? 

An environmentally conscious person like Holly the Hiker naturally cares that what she buys is sustainable and comes from a reliable actor. She finds it challenging to research products and companies to be sure she can trust the business she is buying from. 

How can your business solve the problem?  

What products and services do you have that can solve the person’s problem? What marketing actions can you take to become visible to this person, and what can you tell the person that makes them understand that you have the solution to their problem? 

For Holly the Hiker, it’s probably the shoe store’s hiking boots that are most relevant, especially the collection that has been brought in with hiking boots that only contain components that are repairable. 

A focus on the shoe store’s environmental awareness and a transparent company history on the “about us” page on the website can be a solution. Here she can read up on what measures the business takes, which manufacturers they order shoes from, and how they ensure that everything they sell comes from credible actors.  

This could be the right information to convey to show Holly the Hiker that the shoe store is the right choice for her. 

Primary and secondary target groups

In marketing, target groups can also be divided into primary and secondary target groups. 

Your primary target group consists of your potential customers, namely those interested in purchasing what you have to offer. Naturally, this is the most important group. 

Once you have a handle on who your primary target groups are and have divided them into various segments, it might be time to take it a step further by considering the secondary target group. 

A secondary target group includes individuals who may not purchase your products or services themselves but influence your primary target group to do so. 

For instance, suppose you sell office equipment. Someone who works in an office sees one of your products and thinks it’s a brilliant solution for their office environment. 

This office worker belongs to your secondary target group because they can influence the company’s decision-maker to prioritise this purchase. The person who ultimately decides to make the purchase is from your primary target group. 

Another example could be if you own a family activity centre. Children or teenagers who hear about the centre and find it exciting go home and tell their parents or guardians about it. The children or teenagers are now in your secondary target group. The parents who will pay for the trip to the centre are your primary target group. 

It’s strategic to know who your secondary target group is and keep them in mind when running marketing campaigns or adjusting your website. 

For a campaign from the family activity centre, information like promotional prices, weekend passes, cafe, and free parking might pique the interest of parents in the primary target group. For children and teenagers, the secondary target group, features like the bounce house and trampoline park might be more appealing. 

Disadvantages of having a target audience

We’ve looked at why it’s strategic and smart to have target audiences and discussed some specific advantages. However, it’s also worth considering potential disadvantages to working with target audiences. 

You might overlook potential customers

An immediate disadvantage one might envision is that focusing on your target groups makes it difficult to expand the market, or missing out on potential customers because they didn’t belong to your target group when you defined it. 

New trends and events can come up that suddenly make your products relevant to others outside your target group. 

Let’s take the example of Crocs, the American shoe brand. Originally designed to be functional boat shoes in 2002, Crocs have evolved over the years into an international phenomenon as they turned out to be suitable for healthcare workers, chefs, and others in roles that require standing and walking a lot during the workday. They also became popular for home use among both children and adults. 

If Crocs had stuck to their original target group of boating enthusiasts, it’s safe to say they would have missed out on quite a few sales. 

Is the target group set in stone?

Another disadvantage of defining target groups is the risk of feeling that you have found a definitive answer. Once you’ve spent time researching target groups, finding your target groups, and defining them into a system, it can be tempting to consider yourself done. 

Risk of discrimination

A final potential danger zone in defining target groups is that you might inadvertently discriminate against some people.  

Fortunately, all these three disadvantages can be avoided. We will look more into this in the next two paragraphs. 

Preventing discrimination in target group-driven communication

Although it’s strategic to have target groups for many aspects of building your business, some precautions must be kept in mind to ensure that target group-driven choices don’t become discriminatory. 

Imagine you’re running a campaign offering a 40% discount on a product. Let’s use hiking boots as the example.  

You know that hiking boots as a product grouping are especially popular among your target group “environmentally-conscious adult women who like to hike,” so you specifically target this group with an email campaign highlighting this product and the steep discount. 

During the campaign period, someone outside your target group visits your website and buys the same hiking boots at full price. They missed your campaign and the discount because they don’t belong to the group you aimed for. 

In this specific case, the issue could have been resolved by also making the campaign visible on the website itself, but it’s a good illustration of the grey areas that can arise in target group-driven communication. 

It’s not illegal to have campaigns targeting specific groups, nor is it illegal to adjust your communication generally to better meet your target group. However, it’s still good to keep the word “discrimination” in mind when working with target groups to take precautions.  

When dealing with demographic segments like age and gender, it might sometimes be better to include a broader range than originally planned. 

You should look up and check marketing regulations in your specific jurisdiction to be more aware about laws concerning your marketing activities.  

Find and define your target audience

Once you’ve identified your target audiences and defined which distributions of target groups you’d like to continue working with, it might be tempting to think you have found the ultimate solution. However, that’s not likely the case 

Remember, the world we live in is constantly changing. What’s popular today may not necessarily be popular in a month. New trends, needs, and interests continually emerge and can influence your target groups in various directions. 

Therefore, it’s important to continuously analyse your target group. You can use the same methods you initially used to find your target group. 

Keep monitoring Google Analytics, track who subscribes to your newsletters, observe new followers on your social media channels, and keep an eye on the directions your competitors are taking. 

Experiment with different methods to see what resonates with your target audience, and observe which factors change. Perhaps new groups worth focusing on over time will also appear? 

We hope our approach gives you the tools you need to find and define your target audience! 

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