THE Best Way to Figure Out Your Target Audience

When I was brainstorming a new site (which led to the creation of The Daily Interview), I spent a lot time thinking about target audience.

This is obviously one of the first things to consider when creating a new site or business. Without a target audience (or the right target audience), you could have the best idea in the world, and it could still easily fall flat.

OK, you get it. Target audience is important.

What I’m going to propose as THE best way to figure out your target audience is shockingly simple.

When I used to brainstorm ideas for niche sites, it was very much a shot in the dark.

Sure, you would have your keyword research, and there would be a fair amount of planning involved.  But when it came to figuring out your target audience, it was hard to get more defined than just saying, “I’m targeting people who are interested in [name of niche]” or “people looking to buy [niche product].”

Even when I built my Slow Carb Diet Experiments “authority site,” I really didn’t have a defined audience.  I would hope people interested in the slow carb diet or low carb recipes would get value out of the site, but I really didn’t have a solid grasp of who those people were.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

The KISS principle applies really well here.

Do you know who is really easy to define and target?  Do you know the one target where you can absolutely know EVERYTHING about what that person wants?

It’s simple.  Target yourself.

It’s ridiculously obvious, but for some reason it never dawned on me before.  With The Daily Interview, I built the exact site I was interested in: a website that publishes daily interviews with internet entrepreneurs.  I love reading success stories, and learning people’s little tips and tricks for how they built their blog or business.

This kind of already exists, but I wanted something even more specific – people I can relate to.  Not multi-millionaires, but people like me. People who currently work a 9 to 5 job, and run a business on the side.

Or, people who are where I want to be, and realistically where I can be, in the not-so-distant future.  This is what’s inspiring to me, and it’s the foundation of the resource I wanted to build for anyone in my shoes.

It’s About Quality Too

Not only is this really simple and easy, but I think it’s the approach that’s going to bring out the best quality.

Whenever you run into a roadblock, you push through it simply by asking: ”What would I want?“ Essentially, you have all the answers within you. And with any blog or business, solving problems = providing great value.

Typically, people start to isolate their audience when they try to cater to too many people. You can’t be everything to everyone.  But it’s refreshingly easy to be everything to yourself (and logically, to everyone who is like you).  Out of context, that statement sounds really selfish, but it’s not.  It’s a great way to build a business and deliver value.

What if You Can’t Target Yourself?

There are certainly cases where you want to start a blog or business and can’t really target yourself.

Even if you’re creating a niche site about  LED TVs and you’re in the market for a new LED TV, you won’t always be the target audience.  After all, once you’ve purchased your TV, your interest in buying a new TV is gone.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start a business simply because you can’t target yourself.  After all, a good idea is still a good idea.  It just requires a little bit more effort and careful execution.

There are a couple things you can do to get the same results as targeting yourself:

1) Talk to someone you know who you think might be part of your target audience. You won’t ever know this person as well as you know yourself, but this is still a million times better than trying to define a fictitious persona.

2) Step into the shoes of someone else.  The next best thing to actually being your target audience is simulating it.  If I had a great idea to start a blog about “finding a job” but I was already gainfully employed, I would still go through the motions of a job search, and learn everything I could about the process.

There’s a lot you could be missing if you’re not experiencing the things you’re writing about.

That’s It.

I’m sorry if I’ve written about something painfully obviously, but I truly believe this is something a lot of people overlook.  They might start with a personal passion or solving a personal issue, but things quickly spiral out of control, into the dreaded “being everything to everyone” zone.

What are your thoughts on this? How have you found good ways to target an audience for a new website or business? Leave a comment below!

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11 Responses to “THE Best Way to Figure Out Your Target Audience”

  1. “you won’t always be the target audience.” yet you can PRETEND you are the target audience right? You can ask yourself, “What would I want to see on this website if I was …” looking to buy a watch or build a koi pond or what have you.
    Thanks for sharing this idea. Good stuff.
    Troy recently posted… Basics to Build a Pond in Your Yard or Home

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Yep, you got it Troy. Nice job applying it to your own site. ;)

    [Reply]

  2. Yeah quality content is always an important part,when you have quality content rest of things will not have such effect however you need to optimize your site at regular interval.
    Steve recently posted… News

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Absolutely – thanks for the comment Steve!

    [Reply]

  3. I recently heard a podcast (askpat.com) that suggested identifying the questions that your target audience may have. This concept of being your own target audience helps identify those questions. You don’t have to guess; just ask yourself what questions you have/had.

    I may have to “steal” this advice for my blog, http://controlofmylife.com/blog/
    Giving you a backlink too of course. :)

    Thanks for your post.
    WJ Anderson recently posted… Selecting an Income Stream (Part 1 – Process and Interest)

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    No problem, WJ. Thanks for the comment!

    [Reply]

  4. This is clearly one of the first things to think about when making another site or business.Who are the target audience ?. For this the first point in the article is the best way,try or pretend to be the target audience .Well having quality content and good optimization for your website obviously makes it a better site.Also Unique and high quality content is dependably a paramount part,when you have quality substance rest of things won’t have such impact

    Nice post and thank you for sharing
    Sagar recently posted… 5 Types of People Who Can Never Enjoy Life

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment Sagar!

    [Reply]

  5. True. Targeting user before website creation is like to know first to whom we are serving then make dish. This will give good results.

    Thanks for sharing Eric.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Shafique!

    [Reply]

  6. this will surely give an awesome results great thoughts Eric i must say you have got an outstanding thinking capabilities.

    [Reply]

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