Understanding your target audience

One of the first questions I ask new clients when we work together is who their target audience is. Here are a few examples of answers I get:

  • Everyone
  • Regular People
  • General Public
  • Customers

And these aren’t exactly wrong, but they definitely aren’t right. The point of knowing and understanding your target audience is so you can plan and implement a website with a sales funnel and strategy to convert visitors into customers.

You can’t target “everyone” as a demographic, it doesn’t work. But the truth is, for almost every business or industry, there is almost always a target demographic that is the most likely customer for that product or service. That doesn’t mean that people outside your target audience can’t buy your products or services, though, and I think that’s where people get confused.

Target Audience

The point of knowing your target audience

Knowing the type of customer who is the most likely to engage with your content, buy your product, or hire your services allows you to tailor a website experience that makes them more likely to take that next step.

Some examples for you:

  • An online or brick and mortar store that sells children’s clothing has a specific target audience, that audience is going to be parents. Depending on the type of children’s products and the age range for those products, you can narrow your target audience by age. If you sell products designed for babies, then your target audience is likely going to be moms between the ages of 24-40. That doesn’t mean that a 41 year old dad can’t or won’t shop there. That just means that you understand who is the most likely person to buy from you, and you are targeting your sales pitch for that demographic.
  • A business that sells scrubs is going to have a target audience of people in the healthcare industry. Does that mean that regular people can’t buy scrubs? Nope, we just know they are less likely to buy scrubs than nurses, doctors, and dentists.
  • Lots of companies offer services that are B2B, so that would mean that the general public is probably excluded from their target audience.

So what does all this mean when it comes to your website? Knowing your target audience means you can create a website experience that is suitable to that demographic.

When I work with a lot of companies, often times I find that they are planning their website for the wrong audience. Instead of their ideal customer, they are planning a website for themselves, their competitors, or for other people in their own industry.

I get the impulse to want to impress your competitors and to create a website that appeals to you. However, YOU are not your ideal customer. You are an expert in your field, and your wants and needs are different than the person who buys from you.

What does this mean for your website?

Different target audiences use websites differently, and that’s an important thing to understand. If your target audience is Millennials, then you probably need to make sure that your website is super mobile friendly because that demographic tends to look at websites more on their phone than on desktop computers.

If your demographic is senior citizens (and yes, they do use the Internet) then your site needs to be simple, not too busy, and the text needs to be pretty big and easily readable. Black text on white, please, and no sidebars.

If your target audience is business owners, then a more professional website is imperative. You can’t look like a DIYer.

If you offer homeowner services, like contracting or appliance repair, then your website needs to make you look like an expert, someone that people can trust to come into their homes.

And so and so forth. Your website needs to be planned with your target audience in mind so that you can increase the chance of getting a conversion.

How do you know who your audience is?

If you’ve been in business for a while, you probably know who the most likely customer is for what you offer. But if you don’t, then you need to find out. You can hire a market research company to figure that out. If you’ve had a website for a while and use Google Analytics, you can break down the audience by age and gender.

Questions to ask your self to help identify your target audience:

  1. What is your main offering to your customers?
  2. Who would benefit the most from it?
  3. What are their primary pain points?

If you can answer these questions, then you can probably ascertain who is most likely to buy from you. You may need to research this information to make sure you fully understand your ideal customer.

Can I target more than one audience?

Maybe. But it’s hard to do and do well. If you are running digital ads, you can create custom landing pages that are tailored to different audiences, but if you are trying to send different audiences to your homepage, it’s going to be hard to find a balance that meets all the needs of those different types of consumers.


It’s important to understand who your audience is, what they need, and how to meet those needs if you want to have a website that works.

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Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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