Know Your Target Audience

Knowing your target audience is critical for every business owner who is interested in the success of their company. If you try to sell to everyone, you will sell to no one.

Before starting any design project, I always ask my client who is their target audience? Some business owners have a well defined picture of their perfect client. Others say everyone, everywhere, of all ages and of any gender and any income level.

As you can see, making a website appeal to a specific audience, like college females in Texas looking for healthier eating options, or senior citizens in San Antonio looking for transportation solutions can be much more helpful when crafting a design VS everyone, everywhere, of all ages. Colour palletes, font choices, font sizes, content, imagery and all aspect of design change per your target audience.

Your target audience is a good clue to what you sell and what you do best. Even as an internal step, it is essential to starting your business in general, let alone working on your marketing materials to be designed to attract them.

Here are some questions that you should answer when making your business plan, marketing plan, website or any other marketing materials:

  • Who is NOT your target audience? Who are you not trying to sell to?
    • This is a great question to ask if you are stuck or don’t know where to start. Identifying who you don’t want to jump through hoops to sell to can reveal the opposite, your target audience.
  • Is your target audience in the B2B realm or B2C?
  • Where do they live?
    • In an apartment? Dorms? Are they homeowners? Are they in a shelter?
  • Are you selling to males, females, or both?
  • What is a 4 year age range that you can pinpoint them as?
    • Anything more than a 5 year age range won’t be of much value when identifying your target audience. Naturally, a range between 26-30 or 54-58 would be more useful than anyone between 20-70 years old.
  • What is their income level?
  • What is their job title?
  • Do they even have a job?
    • They could be a college student, children, retired or ‘off the grid.’
  • What type of car to they drive?
    • Your car choice says a lot about the lifestyle that you want to live. Are they green? Are they high end? Does their car just do enough to get you from point A to point B? Do they ride a bicycle or motorcycle instead? Do they walk everywhere instead?
  • What is their income level?
    • Are we trying to connect with people who are just breaking even or someone with a summer condo? Concerns and design choices vary much between the spectrum
  • What shoes to they wear?
    • This sounds odd, but shoes really do help identify who you are talking to. Someone who wears high-end high-heals probably has different design expectations than someone who wears dollar flip flops, worn-in cowboy boots or jogging shoes.
  • Where are they located?
    • This is very important. Local variances can greatly affect your design choices and mediums. If no one has fast internet in the desert or woods, you got to cut back on large files in your website. If certain colours, phrases or imagery are taboo or have local meaning, you need to know.
  • What type of restaurant would your target audience be likely to eat dinner at and why?
    • I know this sounds weird, but again, this is a very personal choice that says a lot about your audience. Are they satisfied with fast food, are they health conscious, do they not care about the cost and want high quality service and food?

Further Development of Identifying Your Target Audience

Sometimes it is good to create a fictional person, giving them a name, address, biography and sketching out who they are. This can really help narrow down who your perfect customer is, without resulting in a wide age range like 20-40 years old, or ambiguous personal preferences, like someone who is environmentally conscious but can also be driving a gas-guzzling truck.

Jump Through Less Hoops, Impress More People

One of the biggest problem small business owners face when trying to narrow down their target audience is that they tend to include everyone. They want to jump through hoops to appeal to everyone. If you narrow your target audience down, you will get better sales with the people you focus on. You can only jump through so many hoops, so make it for the people that you want to do business with the most. It’s okay to have a secondary audience if you need one. It’s also possible that someone outside of your target audience may do business with you, so don’t be afraid to declare your target audience is females at the risk of turning off all males.

Beyond Graphic Design Decisions

Beyond contributing to your graphic design needs, your target audience can also help you evaluate if your services are on point or need adjusting. If your target audience is IT professionals in San Francisco, then they probably don’t need a personal IT support system. What do they need? Or are you best at that service and should consider changing your target audience?

In Conclusion

Your questions may vary differently between a B2B market VS a B2C market but regardless of your type of business you conduct, identifying your target audience is the basis for updating an accurate and realistic business plan, crafting your next year’s marketing plan and budget, and cluing in your designer’s as to how best benefit their designs towards your business goals and get the best return on investment.

As part of any commissioned design services, I will help you polish your target audience definition to get the best design possible for your business. Let me know if you want to start identifying your target audience and applying that knowledge to a logo design, website design or any other graphic design application.

Ellice Sanchez

About Ellice Sanchez

With six years experience in design, Ellice has done work for clients such as San Antonio Parks and Recreation, the City of San Antonio, Delicious Tamales, The US AirForce, Christus Santa Rosa, the University Health Systems, Sunset Station, Sushi Zushi Corporation of Texas, San Antonio Conservation Society, NIOSA, the San Antonio International Airport Concession, Representative Ivory Taylor, the Vidorra Condominiums, American GI Forums National Veterans Oureach Program, Republic National Distributing Company, Lifetime Fitness, Mr. W Fireworks, the RK Group, Pape-Dawson Engineers and other companies, working on projects ranging from signage, business cards, content management, design support, website design and coding, flyers, billboards and e-blasts.

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