How to identify your target audience

Every single person who works in marketing will tell you that you can’t sell anything if you don’t know who you’re selling to. You can’t promote your cause or brand if you don’t know who you’re promoting to.

So, how do you find out who your audience is?

The first thing you need to do is ask yourself: “What do I want my audience to do?”

  • Do you want them to donate to your cause?
  • Do you want them to buy your products or merchandise?
  • Do you want them to support your cause by crowdfunding for you? Or hold an event? Sponsor one of your events?
  • Do you want your supporters to share your content? Encourage others to support your cause?

The answer to these questions will determine what you need to know about your audience.

You don’t need to get into too much detail but knowing the basics will be helpful when you’re creating your content or promoting your campaign:

The most useful demographic groups are: 

  • Age group
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Marital/family status
  • Occupation/income level
  • Education level

In charities and non-profits, the audiences tend to differ slightly but usually fall in to one of four categories. These four main categories are:

  • Fundraisers and donors
  • Buyers and customers
  • Supporters
  • Ambassadors

Fundraisers and donors

  • Who are the people who are donating and fundraising for your cause?
  • What demographic groups do they fall in?
  • How do they think?
  • What are they passionate about?

For example, a study by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) showed that those in the 25-54 age range are more likely to donate via a third-party website such as JustGiving, and that 30% of older people (65+) donate on a monthly basis, younger people were the least likely to give regularly.

Example: It’s possible that a single person aged 65+ is thinking about leaving some money to a charity in their will, or a business owner wants to donate to a local charity or is perhaps looking for potential Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) opportunities. Think about how you can tailor your content and campaigns to these audiences. What will appeal to them?

Customers and buyers

You need products people want to attract this audience. Branded merchandise is usually a good option.

If you’re selling merchandise like charitable wedding favours, you want to attract customers. So, you’ll need to know the kind of people who will buy them.

Example: You’re unlikely to want your target audience to be married couples in their 70’s or young people aged under 18. But people aged 30-45 (average marrying age in the UK), unmarried couples, and professionals working in the wedding industry are exactly the type of audience you want.

Supporters

Look at past campaigns and events to identify the demographic groups who have previously supported your cause. But you also think about the type of people who are interested in what you’re doing.

  • Why does your cause resonate with them?
  • What do they do in their free time?

Example: Charity fete’s and family fun days are going to appeal to local people with children or grandchildren, whereas a protest taking place on a Tuesday afternoon may not get many supporters who work or have school runs to do.

Ambassadors

You already know this audience, and you know they’re passionate about your cause.

They may:

  • Be volunteering for your cause,
  • Make donations,
  • Share your content on social media,
  • Tell their friends and family about your cause,
  • Want to educate others about the work you do and how you make a difference.

Your ambassadors will be passionate about your cause. They will probably already be volunteering for you or sharing your content on social media. They want to educate others about your values and aims, and they’ll encourage others to support your cause too. You can trust them to tell others, join in and probably donate (either money, time or goods) too. Just make sure you’re supporting them, thanking them and acknowledging their contributions.

Example: Research by NCVO in 2018 showed that around three quarters of people who volunteer are doing so in their local area. So, your call for volunteer photographers in Stoke-on-Trent may not be relevant to older people in South Staffordshire, but it could be just the thing for university students in the city. Not only will this introduce new people to your cause, it will encourage others to get involved too.

These pointers are just a few of many, but once you have identified your audiences, distinguished what it is you want from them and how you can get them to do it, you’re well on your way to increasing engagement, raising awareness and gaining support for your cause. 

Get in touch with our Kiln-Creative team on 01782 683030 or visit our Creative and IT services page for more information on how we can help your cause with your marketing, creative and IT needs. 

Have a look below from some really useful articles to help you identify and understand your audience: