11 Questions That Will Define Your Target Audience

11 Questions That Will Define Your Target Audience

I’m preparing to teach a group of authors, both newly published, and veterans, about the importance of effective online marketing.

As I’ve mapped out some of the different topics I’ll be covering, the one that continues to come to mind is about the importance of defining WHO you’re marketing to.

Having worked with lots of internet start-ups, I’ve realized that defining your target audience is probably the hardest and most overlooked aspect of online marketing.

It really doesn’t matter WHAT you sell. What matters most is the “WHO”.

The cool thing is, if you know a clearly defined target audience well, you can sell them lots and lots of different products and services because they’ll see value in what you’re offering over and over again. Plus, as you help solve their problems, you’re building a business relationship – and that’s what successful business is all about.

In other words, selling products and services online is not just about creating a product you think would be cool and then pushing it out and seeing how good it will stick. Sure, sometimes you have to test, and test, and re-test, but hopefully that’s BEFORE you invest lots of money in product, advertising and all the costs associated with running a legitimate business.

In an effort to teach this concept to these authors, I’ve compiled a list of questions about defining your target audience that I’ve used throughout my internet marketing career.

I’ve formatted the questions so they are not just for an author. Instead, they can be implemented for ANY business owner that needs to define, or re-define, his or her niche market segment(s).

How I break down the questions:

a. For an inventor or someone creating something new or innovative.
b. For an entrepreneur who wants to sell a product or service that already exists in the market.
c. For the authors that I’ll be speaking with.

12 Questions to Help You Define Your Target Audience

1. When you

a. came up with your idea
. decided to sell this product
wrote your book, etc.],


a. did you think it would help?
b. did you plan to sell it to?
c. were you writing to?

2. Does this audience currently buy

a. something similar to what you’re creating
b. this product or service elsewhere?
c. your book or books similar to yours?

3. Why specifically

a. do you want to create this product or service?
b. are you interested in selling this product or service?
c. are you writing this book?

4. How does your

a. idea
b. product or service
c. book

help your targeted audience or what problem does it solve for your audience?

5. What are your marketing demographics?

Income Level
Education Level
Marital/Family Status

6. How do you currently determine who buys

a. an idea like yours?
b. a product or service like yours?
c. your book?

7. What specific things do your buyers have in common?

8. What are your marketing psychographics?


9.  How do you determine if there are enough people that fit your targeted criteria?

10. What drives your target audience to make buying decisions?


11. How can you best reach your target audience?


12. Where is your target audience “hanging out” online?


These are questions I’ve gone over quite a few times throughout my online marketing career. They’ve helped me broaden my scope in some areas of my business; they’ve also helped me narrow things down substantially.

Are there questions I’ve left out?

How do YOU define your target audience?

Nate Moller consults with clients about how to start an online business. For over five years, he’s worked with thousands of companies who are looking for answers in their online marketing journey. Follow Nate on Twitter and become a fan of Moller Marketing on Facebook!

  • Mentioned tips are not only useful to beginners but also very useful for all business management person. I think this is great analysis. This article is very helpful to me. Thanks Nate. Good job.

  • I like this a lot. The only thing i thought of to add, was regarding channels. We now live in a world where somebody might want to receive flight information via twitter, tickets via email and promotions via facebook. Therefore we need to develop frameworks to develop this into our strategic and tactical planning.

  • David

    If you target the wrong audience, you could end up with tons of traffic that won’t convert to anything. People often think that online marketing needs a super geek with hundreds of ninja techniques, but believe me when i say it only requires a mentality of an entrepreneur. Thanks for the tips

  • David

    My name is David and I am relatively new to this internet marketing thing but you are right. The hardest part, to me so far, is indentifying a target audience. Answering these questions takes a lot of brainstorming and, I suspect, a little luck. But as my father used to say, “the harder I work, the luckier I get”.

  • i think it is true.
    I want to follow your suggestion. thanks.

  • @Charles Elena
    Charles, I’m glad you liked it. I still ask myself these questions today and am always finding new ways to find additional target audiences for my business. Thanks for the comment!

  • @Mark@PR Agency Derby
    Great feedback. Can you expand on what you mean? I agree, my “ideal” target audience(s) may not all hang out in the same place. In fact, after writing this article I’ve re-realized that we all really should have MULTIPLE target audiences that hang out in multiple places online. However, you have to start smaller at first in my opinion or you’ll chase and chase and end up catching NOTHING.

    Again, please expand on what you mean Mark. Thanks!

  • @David
    Thanks for the comment David! You make a great point and I think the best advise I’ve ever shared with clients relates to keyword research – targeting BUYER vs. BROWSER phrases, which then helps you find the ones with the credit card ready to purchase what you offer. The trick is, this will be different with every product, business and idea. That’s where an “entrepreneurial mindset” has to come in. Would love to hear more about what you think and what’s worked best for you.

    Thanks again for the comment.

  • @David
    I love that quote – “The harder I work, the luckier I get!”

    Let me know how the brainstorm goes for you and if you’d like any feedback.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • @Nimita Rao
    Let me know how it goes for you Nimita. We’d be happy to answer additional questions you might have.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • It’s always important to know who you’re going to market your product/service to BEFORE you set out in business. These should be questions that all new start-ups must ask themselves. Thanks Nate.

  • Brilliant! Ok, at the risk of sounding effusive, I would say this is the BEST list that I have come across that defines the target audience and clarifies on what needs to be done with or for them.

    The beauty of this questionnaire is that it can be used to reverse engineer the product for a target audience. Given a target audience or market, what would be a good product or service that they need. I think it will be greatly helpful if you could change the angle come up with a list of questions that is targeted towards this goal.

  • Paul

    I have done many market research but I fail to take into account the psychographics. Basing from this spot, it is really important to interact with your audience more and make them feel that your product and service are genuinely created for them.

  • Everything said here is true, and if its done Online.. and they do set campaigns with ADS, simply definy them.. based on location, age, and genre… and with SEO.. in the Google Webmaster Central.

  • Aslan

    here the goog way to find information in this morning.I hope can improve my experience in my way…thank

  • John Cameron

    That“s a comprehensive list that should generate a strong USP. It would also be great for annual strategy sessions. Good post.

  • racheal

    screw you

  • racheal

    Mitchel K has a small weiny

  • mike

    Mike McEchern is a rug muncher

  • willma

    dirty mike!

  • NoneYa

    This article SUCKS!

  • I think you went over the what, who, when and where but the only questions I would say is missing from this list is the why. Why do they need what you are offering and why is it important for them to have it. Other then that question I would say this is a great way to define your target audience in less than 20 minutes. I will be using this on my next product launch when defining the target audience. Thank you!