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Define, Refine, and Shine: 67 Questions to Get to Know Your Target Audience

Buckle up because it's time to define your target audience. It might sound dull, but understanding your target audience is the key to unlocking that next-level success. Knowing their wants and needs means you can tailor your messaging just for them - the more personalized, the better.

You’ve probably seen those exercises online about building your Ideal Customer Persona—things like age, income, gender, location, blah blah blah. Sure, those are important, but let’s be real; they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Too many businesses stop there, thinking they've got it all figured out, and that’s a one-way ticket to marketing for no one (or everyone, which is just as bad). Your product or service isn’t going to appeal to everyone, and that’s why you need to dive deep into who your audience truly is.

Age and gender might tell you where they’re hanging out online, but we need to go way beyond that. To help you out, we've created a comprehensive list of detailed questions to really get to know your audience so you can start marketing to them effectively.

Disclaimer: Not all of these questions will apply to every business. Go through them all and pick what works best for you. You also might have multiple audiences - that’s totally fine! Take the time to answer these questions for each one and build out your personas for each audience.

Alright, let’s dive in!

The Basics: Personal Demographics

Yes, we’re starting here because you still need to know these basics. They might seem like the least exciting questions when you're thinking about content creation, but they can carry their weight when diving into paid advertising. Someone living in a Vancouver high-rise is going to have a different mindset than someone living in a cottage on Salt Spring Island. Both of those people will have a different thought process than someone renting in Cranbrook. Specifics matter. You can't build a house without a foundation, right? Well, you can't start marketing without starting here.

  1. How old are they? Narrow it down—saying 18-65 is too broad.

  2. Do they primarily self identify as male or female? Are you targeting cisgender folks? Trans and nonbinary folks? Both? How you deliver your messaging will be different for each segment.

  3. Married, single, or in a long-term relationship?

  4. Where are they located? Get specific. What country are they in? Which province/state? Are they city dwellers, in the 'burbs, or rural? What type of home do they live in. Do they rent or own?

  5. Do they have children? How many? Are they child free? How old are their kids if they have them?

  6. What is their annual income?

  7. What is their education level? Understanding their education can help tailor your messaging to their knowledge base.

  8. What languages do they speak? This is crucial if you're marketing to a multilingual audience.

  9. What are their daily routines? Knowing their daily habits can help you create relatable content.


People’s attitudes and behaviours are shaped by their influences. Understanding what motivates them will help you craft the right messaging.

10. What emotions drive them to change their life? (Anxiety, self love, anger etc.)

11. What are their life goals?

12. What’s important to them?

13. What do they value in their everyday life? What are their ethics? Do they want fair trade? Slow fashion? The latest thing?

14. What are they afraid of?

15. What’s causing their need for change?

16. What feels challenging to them?

17. Who or what do they listen to for advice? Is it their mom? Their besties? What about industry leaders or influencers? Understanding the answer to this question will inform decision-making when it comes to types of content and tone of copywriting for your campaigns.

18. What holds them back from achieving their goals?

19. How does your product or service make their life better?

20. What are their pain points? In marketing, a pain point is a problem your potential customer has. It can be as big as a lack of financial literacy or as small as their travel mug not fitting into their car's cup holder. Sometimes, people don't even realize they have a pain point until it's pointed out to them, which is an opportunity for your business to be the first thing to solve their issue.

Media & Technology Preferences

Everyone follows some kind of media, including your customers. Knowing which ones can give you insights into their preferences and habits. It can also help you find common ground, create relatable content, or suss out potential partnerships and collaborations.

21. What magazines do they read?

22. Do they visit the library? What books do they check out?

23. Where do they get their news? What parts of the news do they focus on?

24. What social media platforms are they on, and why?

25. Do they visit blogs or websites for information?

26. Who do they follow on social media? Do they follow brands or influencers? Which ones?

27. What are they watching on Netflix? Pime? Disney +?

28. Do they still watch Cable TV? Which channels?

29. Where do they shop online?

30. What radio stations do they listen to?

31. What devices do they use? Smartphones, tablets, desktops, smartwatches, etc.

32. What apps do they use most frequently? Social media apps, productivity tools, shopping apps, etc.

33. How comfortable are they with new technology? Early adopters, late adopters, or somewhere in between.

Where Do They Hang Out?

Marketing isn’t just online. Knowing where your customers hang out in real life can open doors for local advertising and event sponsorship, as well as creating that all important content.

34. Where do they visit daily? Weekly? (Coffee shops, gyms, grocery stores, etc.)

35. Where do they hang out on weekends? Are they curled up at home or going to the club? Do they have to take their kids to activities?

36. What do they do in their spare time?

37. What local and national events do they attend?

38. What community groups or organizations are they part of? This can provide insights into their values and social behaviour.

39. How do they participate in their community? Volunteering, attending local events, participating in local government, etc.

40. What causes or issues do they care about? This can help align your brand with their values.

Content & Communication

Understanding these questions is vital for building your content strategy. Create content you KNOW they’ll engage with and want to see from you. Remember, social media is meant to be SOCIAL.

41. How do they spend their time online? Do they passively scroll? Do they create content? Engage in community?

42. Where do they go first when looking for something? Are they Googling or using social platforms as search engines?

43. What keywords do they search?

44. What types of content make them laugh? What inspires them? Upsets them? Fires them up?

45. What content do they share with friends and family?

46. Which competitors are they checking out?

47. How do they interact with brands and competitors online?

48. What kind of communication tone do they prefer? Formal, casual, humorous, professional, etc.

49. What kind of customer service do they expect? 24/7 support, self-service options, personalized help, etc.

50. How often do they want to hear from brands? Daily, weekly, monthly, or only when there's something important.

Industry & Buying Behaviours

If you know why and how people make purchases, you'll know how to target your offer. The more information you have, the better your targeting will get.

45. Do they already purchase what you offer?

46. Where/who are they buying from?

47. How often do they purchase?

48. What related products or services are they buying?

49. How is your product/service solving their problem?

50. What would make them second-guess buying from you?

51. What are their buying behaviours? Do they prefer in-store shopping or online? Do they impulse buy or research extensively?

52. What factors influence their purchasing decisions? Price, quality, brand loyalty, recommendations, etc. It doesn't have to be all that deep. Maybe they just want a snack.

53. How do they prefer to pay? Credit card, PayPal, mobile payments, etc.

54. What is their preferred shopping method? Mobile, desktop, or in-store.

Catch All Questions

These questions will help you understand their personality on a deeper level. Remember, you're building a comprehensive profile of an actual human being, and the ability to understand people as deeply as possible is important.

55. What hobbies do they have?

56. What do they find annoying? What do they outright dislike?

57. How much are they willing to spend on your product/service? How much can they actually afford?

58. Are they introverted or extroverted? Don't forget the ambiverts

59. Do they communicate differently at work? Ex. Code switching

60. What defines success or ROI for them in your industry?

61. What type of information do they share immediately with friends?

62. Do they prefer value or price?

63. How do they typically communicate? (Text, email, DMs etc.)

64. How informed are they about your industry? What don't they know?

65. How long does it take them to commit to a purchase?

66. What are their personal development goals? Fitness, education, career growth, skill acquisition, etc.

67. What obstacles do they face in personal development? Time, money, access to resources, etc.

Phew! That’s 67 questions to help you define your target audience. Feeling overwhelmed yet? Yeah, we were, too, the first time we did it. It's normal, we promise! We also promise that it'll be worth it. If you want to succeed, you’ve got to put in the work.

Remember, defining your audience isn’t a one-and-done deal. Your audience will evolve, trends will change, and new competitors will keep popping up. Keep these questions handy and revisit them regularly - they'll be invaluable to keep updating your marketing strategy both online and off.


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