How-To Guide | Defining the target audience for your creative business

Target concept with arrows hitting the bullseye.

Knowing your target audience is crucial for achieving creative business success. If you don’t get this step right, you’ll end up marketing to the wrong people – wasting time and money in the process. 

Your target audience is a specific group of people most likely to buy your products or services. It differs from your target market, which is much broader and includes people who may be interested in your offering. And it’s not quite as specific as a target persona; a fictional ideal customer profile that includes very detailed characteristics, such as lifestyle factors, engagement behaviours and purchasing power.

That said, your target audience is the most important to understand initially as this group will increase your chances of sales, and therefore, profit. Follow these tips below to work out the exact audience you want to target rather than casting your net far and wide.

1. Start with what you know

If you’ve already started your business and have had some sales or clients, look at your existing customers. Who are they? How old are they, where are they based, and what are their interests? If you’re unsure, run a quick survey and ask them for more information. Monitor the interactions you’ve already had on social media with followers and fans. If someone is engaging with you, they’re likely to be included in your target audience.

2. Carry out market research

Market research is a fundamental part of your business plan; it’s needed to determine the viability of your product or service in your industry. Through research, you can identify any gaps in the market that your business could fill, and discover the people most likely to buy from you.

3. Analyse your competition

You can learn a lot from your closest competitors. Follow them on social media to see who they interact with (and their marketing approach). This is also a good way to discover the type of information your target audience is looking for, so you can devise content that will be useful to them.

4. Consider what problem you’re solving

Part of defining your target audience is understanding how your product or service can help people. Think about who is most likely to benefit from your offering and why. Not only will this process ensure you’re targeting prospective customers, but it’ll also help you address any pain points they might have.

5. Identify who isn’t part of your target audience

It might sound obvious, but rule out any groups your business doesn’t serve. Only then can you ensure your marketing is properly targeted and effective. For example, a contemporary art gallery might first consider anyone interested in art to be part of their target audience. But a better approach would be to rule out fine art lovers – as their needs wouldn’t be met at a contemporary gallery.


Getting clarity on your target audience is a vital first step when creating your business plan and marketing strategy. You need to know this so you can focus on promoting your product or service to the right people.

Once you’ve defined your target audience, you can drill down deeper and use segmentation for better targeting. You might, for instance, segment your audience according to demographic, location or customer journey stage. This way, you can send highly personalised campaigns to grab your audience’s attention and make them take action. One way to excite your target audience is through storytelling – listen to this Zoom Dive recording to learn how to make an emotional connection with your audience.

Want more marketing tips for your creative business? Explore our Journal or take one of our educational masterclasses (members-only).