7 Common Audience Targeting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


Your target audience are the decision-makers when it comes to determining how successful your business will be. With the right audience targeting strategy, you can provide value to customers who are most likely to buy from you. 

The group you’re reaching with your content can be determined with diligent research and by avoiding common audience targeting mistakes. 

Fortunately, these mistakes are easily identifiable. By following along with this guide, you’ll be able to avoid these marketing errors and develop an ideal target audience for your business.

Audience Targeting Mistakes

1. Audience Targeting Mistakes 101: Targeting Too Broad

When creating a digital marketing strategy, many companies fall victim to this mistake. The mindset behind this approach is to reach as many people as possible. This is extremely harmful since most users will not find use for your product or service. 

Narrowing down your target audience helps ensure that you remain relevant to those you are marketing to. Ultimately, a broad audience will waste a lot of time and effort of your company.

To avoid this mistake, you should focus on selecting a specific niche of users. One way to determine this group is by selecting users who share certain demographics. This may include a particular age group, location, or career. 

When searching for your intended niche it is recommended that you use Google Analytics. This platform provides you with a lot of user data to help guide you when deciding on your target audience.

2. Targeting Too Narrow

Alternatively, you may get wrapped up in the idea of finding a specific niche and, as a result, market your business to too narrow of an audience. This mistake is almost always harmful to your business.

Unless you offer a product that is very specific to a certain niche it is recommended that you avoid narrow targeting. 

When you restrict your audience you are essentially restricting your sales. This process forces your company to compete against other businesses within a small market.

Additionally, when you target a very specific niche you are limiting yourself in terms of gaining success. For example, say you want to target women of Philipino descent, aged 25, who live in a certain small town in the United States. 

This demographic makes it extremely difficult to reach your intended audience. As a result, you may end up gaining little to no value out of your marketing efforts. 

You can avoid this mistake by following insights from market data. Market data can be collected through online surveys or talking to customers to gain product feedback.

This data allows you to understand who your primary niche is and what they are looking for in your area of expertise. Also, the data gives you concrete demographics to help you reform your target audience. 

3. Ignoring Personalization

Personalization is often overlooked by customer segmentation in larger groupings. To remain valuable to your users, you should focus on appealing to the needs of the individual customer as opposed to your entire target audience.

Creating an ideal customer experience is crucial to customer satisfaction. Let’s take a peek at some statistics that solidify this statement. 

A 2017 poll of shoppers in the United States found that 71% of people feel frustrated when their experience is not personalized. For this reason, you should focus on reaching customers in their unique settings. 

An example of this may include meeting the needs of customers based on their previous experiences with a product rather than their geographic location. 

The same study also noted that 44% of people stated they would be more likely to repeat a purchase with a company that prioritizes personalization. A great way to determine personalization is by focusing on purchasing behavior.  

This data can easily be found using analytic software. 

4. Neglecting User Personas 

When targeting your audience you should always begin by developing user personas. This can be extremely helpful when targeting different demographics. 

These personas consist of the unique characteristics of your ideal users. This may include demographic information, interests, income range, and needs.

A user persona helps you grasp the image of an ideal customer before marketing to them in real life. Additionally, these personas help new team members understand your target audience and make their integration into the team more fluid.

Developing these profiles early on will save you time and effort in the long-term. Personas give you the chance to practice implementing your product or service in real-life examples to determine what works and what does not.

5. Choosing Instinct Over Research

The most successful way to build a customer engagement strategy is by basing your decisions on research rather than instincts. For some companies, this may be difficult to overcome as you view yourselves as experts of your product or service. 

It can be easy to get caught up in what you think your audience wants however, understanding this aspect is quite challenging. This is due to rapid shifts in user behavior.

Regardless of the reason for the shift, you should alter the design of your product or service to meet users’ current needs. Failing to make this shift may put you at risk of dropping off your target audience’s radar. 

6. Targeting Improbable Buyers

More often than not, companies confuse product buyers with product users when developing a marketing strategy. The person who is interested in your product, and the one using it, is not always to one buying it. 

A common example seen across multiple industries includes marketing to children instead of their parents. The product may be designed for adolescent use but that does not mean that they are the ones purchasing it. 

Regardless of the industry, most children do not have the financial means to invest in your product.

Targeting the parent in this example would be the best chance of selling your product or service. To avoid targeting improbable buyers, you should reevaluate who the likely investors of the product are and develop your strategy from there. 

7. Failing to Adapt to New Information

To stay on top of your competition you always need to be open to change. Changing your product or service to fit the needs of your audience is very likely as user behavior frequently shifts. 

In some cases, you may need to change your product to suit a new audience altogether. In others, you might need to adapt your product to appeal to more than one type of audience. 

For example, if you notice that you are attracting a younger audience than initially anticipated, you may need to adapt your product. Users may interact differently with your service depending on their age. 

Consistently adapting to new information allows you to maintain company success by constantly providing value to your users.

Re-Evaluating Your Approach

Your target audience is at the core of your business. They are arguably more important to your success than the actual product or service you provide. For this reason, it is imperative to avoid audience targeting mistakes at all costs. 

Remaining up-to-date on current marketing trends helps you build a strong foundation for your business. To continue to develop your marketing skills, check out some of our additional resources in the marketing section of our blog. 


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