As you work on growing your small business, you may start to form a general idea of who is most likely to purchase your products or utilize your services. For instance, if your small business sells dog treats, you’ll want to get dog owners or pet stores to learn about your business. It’s also important to consider people who should know about your small business. While dog owners are likely to buy from your dog treat business, dog sitters and prospective dog owners may also be in the market for your product.

Defining a target audience and learning to target it is an important step in marketing for small businesses. With helpful advertising tools and platforms like the Microsoft Audience Network, you can effectively connect your small business to your target audience with high-quality ad placements. Continue reading to learn about target audiences and how to define them for your small business.

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What is a target audience?

A target audience is a group of people that a business wants to reach with its marketing. When choosing an audience for your business to target, think about who will benefit from using your product and what solutions your product could solve. How you choose your audiences depends on what your small business produces. If your product is general and can benefit many people, it may not be very difficult to find your target audience. However, if your product caters to a specific group of people, it may help to do some additional research to find your audience. Depending on your products and marketing scope, you may have more than one audience that you would like to target.

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When choosing a target audience for your small business, it’s important to be as specific as possible with identifying your demographic. Some factors that can determine a target audience include age, location, gender, interests, and income. The more relatable and personal your advertisement is, the more likely it’ll draw people in to purchasing your product. Although you’ll want to reach as many target audiences as possible, attempting to cater to every audience can be difficult and expensive. Targeting groups who are most likely to use your product will be more effective than trying to convince the general population.

Target audience vs. target market

Although the terms “target audience” and “target market” are often used interchangeably, a target audience is something that can be found within a target market. Your target market is the overall group of people that are likely to purchase your product, and your target audience is a specific subsection of your target market. If you’re selling dog treats, your target market will likely be people who own dogs. A more specific target audience within that market would be people who are located near your business and are more likely to be able to visit your store. Target audiences are also good for advertising events held by your business or promotional efforts.

In order to accurately identify your target audiences, you should establish your target market first. Your target market will give you a good sense of how to advertise your business and how your target audiences will look. Once you determine how your target market looks, it becomes easier to make decisions in your advertising campaign.

How to define and target your audience

Before you start reaching for groups to target, it’s important to define your audiences first. Once you’re able to accurately assess who your business should target, it’ll be easier to find people who are interested in your product. There are several different methods for finding target audiences, and the steps below will help you get started. You can also choose from a variety of audience targeting tools from Microsoft Advertising to help you plan and target your consumer base.

Step one: Analyze your customer base

Your primary goal as a business owner is to sell what you make, and evaluating the people who have already purchased your product is a good place to start. You can analyze your existing customer base to help define and target an audience. Take a good look at your current customers to see if you can notice any trends in their demographics, location, and other important details that can contribute to your target audience. Some good ways to gather information about your customers include surveys, social media, and analytics tools.

An animation of a group of people analyzing data.
An animation of a group of people representing market research.

Step two: Conduct market research

Market research is the process of finding information about your target market. By conducting market research, you can find out who to target and what influences people to make purchases. Additionally, you can understand what buyers are looking for and how to address any problems they may have. Doing this research includes looking at industry trends, determining gaps in the market, and evaluating your brand awareness.

Step three: Study your competitors

Your competitors sell products that are similar to yours, which means they’re likely targeting the same audiences. Once you’ve identified who your competitors are, you can use information about them to define your own target audience and find groups that you may be overlooking. Strategies for analyzing competitors include researching their current advertisements, looking at what audiences interact with them on social media, and determining the strengths and weaknesses in their marketing techniques.

Reach your target audience with Microsoft Advertising

Knowing who your audiences are and how to target them are important steps in establishing an advertising plan for your small business. By knowing who your audiences are, your audiences will know you as well and strengthen your brand over time.

Explore Microsoft Advertising for small businesses to find more helpful tips on how to advertise your business in an organized and efficient manner. Use our many tools and resources to help your small business identify and reach as many relevant audiences as possible.

Get started with Microsoft Advertising today or visit our blog to learn more about advertising your business.