Identifying your target audience

This is the second installment of my building a brand from scratch series. It focuses on reaching your brand’s target audience. This series is most effective when read in sequence. Here’s the first part of the series, starting a brand from scratch, if you’d like to start from there.

Whether you are selling high-end shoes, making dog yoga videos or writing about how you built a brand from scratch, knowing your target audience is absolutely essential.

I was feeling pretty good after completing my website and setting up the Instagram account for my t-shirt company.

There’s nothing as self-gratifying as the feeling of pulling up your new website and showing it off to your friends.

There’s also nothing quite like the feeling of knowing no one else is seeing it. 0-traffic-itis is painful. And since website visitors don’t manifest from the ether, I needed to start thinking about building traffic.

My target audiences

When I began my dropshipping business in December of 2018 I relied primarily on advertising to drive traffic. This worked just fine for sending people to my website and provided an added bonus of this really cool upward trending line.

But that upward trending line was the only thing the advertising did.

One of the major reasons for my initial dropshipping business failure was that I had not identified a target audience early enough.

This mistake caused my content and advertisements to be far too generic when they should have been tailored to a specific group of people.

I learned, through trial and error and many hours of research that the more tailored to an audience your content and advertising is, the more effective it will be.

The realization of my failure to effectively define a target audience crept up on me slowly.

While I had people visiting my site, the majority were not doing anything of value. No sharing, no shopping, nothing. Worse, I was burning through money at an alarming rate.

As you can imagine, my untargeted approach got very expensive very fast. And the results were minimal.

“One of the biggest mistakes that budding personal branders make is trying to appeal to everyone. Think about the game of darts: You have to aim in order to hit the board. (If you let your darts go without aiming them, you probably won’t be very popular.) If you hit the board, you score. And if your aim is very good and you hit the bull’s eye, even better!”


However, advertising on Facebook introduced me to a unique and incredibly powerful tool: Facebook Audience Insights

Audience Insights was created by Facebook to allow advertisers to tap into the nearly infinite supply of demographic data that Facebook collects from every user: age, gender, occupation, likes, income, you name it.

“The more customer insights you have, the better you’re equipped to deliver meaningful messages to people. That’s the thinking behind Facebook Audience Insights, a new tool designed to help marketers learn more about their target audiences, including aggregate information about geography, demographics, purchase”

Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook Audience Insights

The Audience Insights tool was exactly what I needed to identify my target audience for my fledgling t-shirt company.

Here’s how I used the tool to do just that.

  1. Login to Facebook
  2. Navigate to the Audience Insights tools
  3. Think of a brand which is similar to your own (the brand you select must also have a Facebook page for this to work)
  4. Under the interests text input, type the brand name
  5. Make note of the details which have the highest percentages for each category:
    • Gender
    • Age
    • Relationship Status
    • Education Level
    • Page Likes
    • Location
    • Device Users

After spending some time with the Audience Insights tool, I eventually landed on a brand that was similar to my own.

After reviewing the brand, via the process listed above, I was able to quickly access an extremely detailed set of demographic data about my target audience. This was pure gold as it now gave me the information I needed to start tailoring my content.

“The more customer insights you have, the better you’re equipped to deliver meaningful messages to people…”

Facebook Audience Insights

So there it was, I had discovered my target audience and completed one of the most important steps to building a brand.

Now it was time to figure out how to reach them.