How to define your audience

One size fits all marketing doesn’t work. It’s like asking a question to a room full of people. Without eye contact, hand gestures or calling someone by name, they don’t know who you’re talking to – so they don’t respond.

If you don’t define your audience, your customer doesn’t know that you’re talking to them.

With the advent of digital marketing, social media, and online automations, content can sound generalized and unspecific. Personalized content means messages are strategically tailored to customers based on their behaviors and specific needs.

This doesn’t mean you write or create for just one person, but rather focus on small subsets of demographics and audiences with specific messages to increase connection and recognition. When you use personalized content, you’re not just making a sale, you’re building a relationship.

Personalization and audience definition make your marketing message feel much more human even when it’s an automated process.

According to recent research, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer a personalized experience. In the same survey, 68% of respondents indicated it was worth providing personal information to a company in exchange for personalized offers, product recommendations, discounts, etc.

You can provide this level of experience by sharing your branded content in audience-specific formats. Instead of posting the same asset to all networks, focus on a few channels where you know the audience.

Before you create any content, define the following:

Goal → Audience → Measurement

  1. Your goal or objective may be clicks, traffic, conversions, and sales. Define this with measurable and realistic factors.
  2. The more you define your audience, the better you’ll be able to provide personalized content. Identify data points such as age, location, and behaviors or create personas for customer segments.
  3. Choose your key performance indicators (KPIs) and method for measurement. (29 Design Studio uses DashThis to pull in website analytics and social insights for a big-picture view of performance.)

When determining your objectives, don’t be swayed by the grandeur of reach and impressions. Classic marketing wisdom says your potential customer will need to come into contact with your brand 7 to 13 times as they move through your sales process. Throwing a wide net isn’t as helpful to move your audience along from those initial touchpoints as you’d think. Identify your goals with personalization in mind.

Defining your audience – the who, how, and where.

When you understand what your audience demographics are, you can narrow down where to find them. New businesses will determine demographics based on a hoped-for customer; existing businesses will look to their website analytics and social insights to determine these key data points:

  • Age
  • Location and time zone
  • Language
  • Spending powers and behaviors
  • Interests
  • Stage of life

You could also build a customer persona or avatar to give shape to the audience. When you give your audience demographic a name and outward appearance, you give them a personality that can help you focus your audience research, understand audience behavior, and inform future campaigns.

When creating a customer persona:

  1. Do thorough audience research
  2. Identify customer pain points
  3. Identify customer goals; and
  4. Outline how your brand can help.

    When you know who you’re talking to, you’ll be able to picture a person, real or imagined. Foster this awareness by using specific pronouns, titles or anything that might tell your target audience you are talking to them.

    Customize your content to align with what your audience responds to.

    Twitter is often used for news and real-time messaging. LinkedIn for professional connections and learning. Pinterest is a search engine often used to reference and bookmark. Facebook and Instagram differ in their capabilities, though the sharing seems similar.

    It isn’t necessary to create brand-new posts for each individual platform. We recommend tweaking your post to align with your audience on that platform instead.

    Although Facebook and Instagram are run by the same company, their own research indicates audiences use their feeds for very different reasons:


    • Love and connection
    • News and opinions
    • Having fun means humorous memes and videos


    • Relaxation and discovery
    • Inspiration and behind-the-scenes content
    • Having fun means finding the unexpected

    By creating a diversified portfolio of content, you can repurpose your posts to foster engagement and connection. From one high-quality video, you can extract:

    • Still image for Facebook
    • A shortened organic video clip for an Instagram post
    • Image for LinkedIn recruitment post
    • Behind-the-scenes content for Instagram stories
    • Transcribed content for an article
    • Pulled quotes for tweets

    Measure the effectiveness of your audience definition.

    Studies indicate that while 92% of marketers believe most or all of the content their brands create resonates as authentic, 51% of consumers say less than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic.

    That disconnect means you need to have a plan for testing and measurement.

    When reviewing your analytics, ask yourself:

    • Is my content optimized for the medium?
    • Is my ideal client engaging?
    • Which network is driving the best ROI?
    • What audience segments are engaging most and with what type of content?
    • How does the creative affect performance?

    Small tweaks, such as the choice of image or the wording of the copy, can make a huge difference toward personalization. A/B testing can help you determine the right path – and if you’ve done careful audience research you’ll at least start off in the right direction!

    Want to know who’s connecting with your brand? Contact 29 Design Studio for a comprehensive brand or social media audit. We can help you determine your right direction.