By John Eberhard

Within the broader “public” out there, there are certain sub-groups, such as people over 50, or Nissan Altima owners, or pet owners, or dental practice owners, or kids age 14-18.

In marketing it is important to figure out who buys or will buy your product or service. Once you figure that out, you can put your promotional items onto channels where those people are most likely to be, and where you don’t have to promote to the entire broad general public when only a potentially small segment is your target audience.

So a “target audience” is defined as a segment of the overall broad population that is most likely to buy your products or services.

You can figure out who this target audience is, usually by common sense. If you’re selling an item related to cats, then your target audience is cat owners. If you’re selling a service to dentists, then your target audience is dental practice owners. If you’re selling parts for classic cars, then your target audience is people who collect and fix up classic cars.

Sometimes the target audience is determined by their attitudes. Once I worked for a software company and we sold the software to computer managers at large companies. But within that group, we discovered that the ones who bought the software had a certain attitude about managing the computers. So we were able to survey just those guys and find out what their needs and wants were, and thus better target our ad message.

Once you figure out who your target audience is, you can work out how to reach just those people, without having to pay to reach everyone. This lowers your promotional cost and helps you more tightly target those people.

If your public is chiropractors, you can purchase lists of chiropractic practice owners and mail to them or send email to them. There are also a number of trade journals that cater to chiropractors and you can place ads in them or on their websites or in their email newsletters.

If your target audience is pet owners, you can find lists of pet owners to email or mail to, and there may be magazines or websites catering to those people where you could advertise.

If your target is teenagers, you can promote yourself on social media sites that are more geared to young people, such as TikTok or Instagram.

Certain products or services will be readily searched for on search engines, so you can do pay per click advertising targeting those keywords.

If you’re a home improvement contractor, there are a number of sites where people go to search for a contractor, and it’s vital to have listings on those sites. The same is true for attorneys and musicians.

The point is that once you figure out who your target audience is, you can figure out how to target just those people with your promotion, by putting your ads where they go or hang out.