Who is your target audience?

This is article #
in the series:
Questions to help you build a better website
September 2020

Who is your target audience?

Yes, yes. We know. You’ve heard that question a thousand times before. Couldn’t we come up with something more original? The thing is, though you might have been asked the question, chances are when you tried to answer it you ended up answering the different but similar question, ‘How can I describe my target audience?’

These questions might appear superficially the same, but you can't substitute one for the other. I can describe my target audience as 35 years old, male and European without actually ever touching upon who they are. It’s like that cocktail party question ‘what do you do?’ which rarely leads to a conversation that touches upon who you are.

In the same way,aiming your website at the audience outlined by your question 'How can I describe my target audience?' will make your website feel superficial. How is focusing on somebody's age ever going to motivate them to buy my product?

Who we really are 

Instead, what we need to build is an actual psychological profile. What are their likes, worries, concerns and interests? What keeps them up at night? Why do they get up in the morning? 

Looking at that, it’s easy to see why people substitute the one question for the other, no? It’s hard to figure these things out. Much easier to list their education level and their likely occupation. 

And yet, it’s totally worth building that psychological profile. Because with it in hand, you can both target and motivate your audience. You’ll be able to find them where they ‘live’, draw them to your website and interest them in what you’re offering. 

How to go about it 

There are multiple routes to building a psychological profile. 

  1. If you have anybody in your environment who fits your audience, you can interview them. This will give you a few starting ideas.
  2. Look at online publications popular to your target audience and see how they appeal to their readership. What emotions are they trying to trigger? What articles there get the most traction?
  3. TV shows and videos popular among your audience are another good source of info. What do they talk about? How do they talk about it? What does that tell you about the audience?
  4. Forums and groups your audience visits are another great place to check out. go. Read what they talk about, what gets upvoted and what gets downvoted. This can offer invaluable insights into your audience’s mindset.

Do this a couple of times and you can start building a profile. This will be immensely helpful going forward. How exactly? Well, for that, we’ll need to answer the question:

How do I use my target audience profile to make my website better?

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