Whether an ecommerce or brick-and-mortar business, every enterprise needs to understand and define its target customers before setting up a marketing strategy. Determining the target audience for a new product or service might seem straightforward, requiring little to no research and brainstorming. But this perspective is misleading. Many businesses have made gross assumptions about their potential consumers and encountered staggering losses.

Failure to identify the correct market for a new product implies the marketing strategy will target the wrong audience, generating meager sales. Fortunately, there are proven ways of determining the appropriate consumers for your product, thereby eliminating the guesswork that can hurt your marketing campaign. Before we examine each, let’s define a target market or audience.

What Is the Target Audience?

In a word, a target audience comprises of potential customers for a particular product or service. The target market refers to the likely consumers for a specific product as defined by certain demographic, psychographic, behavioral, and geographic factors. These factors include age, residence, personality, education level, employment status, income, etc.

For example, if you’re launching a SaaS file sharing product, the target audience for your product can be: IT directors with 5+ years of experience in management, aged between 35-50, earning above $100k, and spending more than 30 minutes in transferring or sharing huge files.

The success of your marketing campaign, measured by the generation of leads and sales, depends on the target’ audience research you conduct. Some strategies, like social media marketing, SEO, and content marketing, rely more on market research than others, such as influencer marketing, to achieve objectives.

Sure-Fire Ways of Identifying Your Target Market

Now that you understand what a target audience means, let’s explore the various ways of determining the suitable customer base for your ecommerce:

1. Characterise your current customers

Defining your ideal client base starts by characterizing the past and current customers. According to Maria Mora of Big Sea, measures for attracting and connecting with a particular audience work best when the sales and marketing team fully understands the current customer base versus its ideal customer target. The characteristics of the existing customers, such as age, employment status, and average monthly earnings, can help you develop a single profile of consumers your product marketing should target.

Recency, frequency, and monetary (RFM) is a crucial tool you can use to analyze your current clientele, determine the potential buyers, and categorize your customers into different groups depending on the purchasing power. Knowing your existing audience will help you target top-revenue clients while avoiding those bringing losses.

2. Determine the need

If a product does not answer the client’s need, they won’t take any interest in its features, regardless of their unique attributes. Thus, identifying the target audience requires you to determine whose pain the product or service solves. Then you can narrow it down by outlining the different product features and who will most likely benefit from each. For instance, avid travelers are likely to be your target market if you run a travel blog with well-researched, unbiased holiday tips.

3. Draw a demographic portrait of your target audience

Similar to creating a character in the Sims video game, drawing your clientele’s demographic picture starts from abstraction, where the customers lack any background information and gradually have work, interests, friends, and hobbies. Evaluating the target audience of direct competitors, such as social media network subscribers, can also help you identify the characteristics of your potential buyers. The metrics in the demographic portrait should include location, user behavior, interests, company size, and skills. Any indicator that can help you differentiate your target audience from those with zero interest will be vital for business success. For instance, the KPIs for ecommerce growth, such as time spent on the website, number of converted clicks, and volume of purchases made by clients, can help you determine the target audience for different products. 

4. Conduct customer surveys

It’s essential to find out who finds your products or services useful and eventually turn from leads to clients. Free survey tools like Google Forms will help you identify the key personas that you can combine with the analytics data to determine the target audience. As a content creator, surveying to understand what your current reader base seek to get from your articles can help you know whom to target.

5. Track the online customer feedback trend 

Once you understand the benefits of your products or service, you can predict who your potential customers are. Popular online forums like Quora and Reddit offer sellers and marketers a good opportunity to receive feedback about their products while also providing insight on who else might be interested in such products. The information collected makes it possible to target particular groups. When dealing with new audiences, proper engagement and user feedback will be crucial in tailoring the product or service and marketing strategy to these people.

6. Narrow your target

Instead of trying to reach everyone with your marketing message, be precise with the group of people you are targeting, engage and interact with them in all spheres to understand their needs and see the world through their lens. Then design ways of appealing to them and driving their attention to your product. Getting the target audience will require you to understand your niche well. Events like trade associations and forums, where your target audience hangs out, are good platforms for assessing the field as well as the potential buyers.

 7. Research your competitor

If you have a direct competitor who has been in the market for several years, you probably already know the target audience. Following them on social media and checking the type of posts they make and the responses they receive can help you leverage your marketing strategy. Look for areas of weakness and maximize them to reach an even wider audience.

8. Perform market mapping

Market mapping is a simple analytical instrument that helps you identify gaps existing in the current market. Carry out the analysis by drawing a y and x-axis on a page with the two overlappings in the middle to give you four different sections. Then label one axis with age and another with income level. Now plot all of your competitors on this chart based on their customer base. Areas with empty spaces represent gaps, while regions with many competitors indicate market oversaturation. Design measures of reaching out to these customers and filling the gaps.

9. Keep it simple

When thinking of your potential clients, avoid the temptation of over-complicating your strategy. Figure out who is likely to respond to your call to action in a marketing strategy. Is the subject a teenager or an adult? You can then profile the individual to determine the possible characteristics of your target audience.


Once you identify the target audience for your product and implement the appropriate marketing strategies, KPIs for ecommerce growth such as conversion rates and the number of incomplete purchases can help you determine the success of your marketing campaigns.