How to Define Your Audience

"You’ve got to start with a small, intense fire. It’s impossible to make something that a large number of people want a lot. You’ve got to know who those first users are and how you’re gonna get them. And then you just sit down and have a party with those first users, focus entirely on them, and you make them super, super happy.”
Paul Graham

There's a common pattern with many entrepreneurs starting out. They create a product, upload it to their website. Tweet it, Instagram it, post it on Facebook, send it to everyone they know. And then wait... 

Come back the next day, very excited to see what’s happened and.... nothing, no sales, no love....just crickets.

Why does this happen so often? And what can you do to prevent it from happening to you? 

Defining your target audience and learning how to create something they love, isn’t rocket science and once you know how to do it, you can apply it to every new product idea you get.

There are a few tools out there that you can use to analyse your market statistics, but I would suggest not getting too caught up in the numbers analysis and start with real people. Human beings are social creatures and we understand other people and their needs, wants, fears more easily than we understand numbers. It comes naturally to us.

Women are also generally exceptionally good at communicating, being empathetic and listening, and lucky for us, these are exactly the skills needed for understanding your audience!

Even if you have created a product already and launched it, if you’re not getting the traction you had hoped for, going back a few steps and defining your audience again is worth the effort.

The idea of the sales funnel has been flipped on it’s head recently. We used to think that you needed to flood the market with your product to reach 100,000 people to get to other side of the sales funnel with 10 buyers. 

But now, people have realised that there’s a better way to do it, create a sales ladder.  Find your small segment of ideal customers, then get to know them intimately. Understand their needs, wants, fears. Understand what pains you can solve with your product, how you can make their life better. Be cause we know that people don't buy things, they don't care about your product, they only care about solving their own problems, easing their own pains, improving their own lives.

The ideal way to talk to your customers to build something they love is to use Customer Development Interviews, which will be covered in next week's blog, but for now we can do some pre-interview exercises to get you ready for your Customer Interviews.

By using Empathy Maps and the Detailed Questionnaire below to get to know your audience better, you can start creating something that they can relate to and that improves their life in some way.  It's a  great way to start thinking like they do.


The Empathy Map

The first step in getting to know your audience is to use the Empathy Map to think through what your ideal customer sees, hears, thinks and feels, and finally says and does.  This tool is widely used by collaborative teams to gain a deeper understanding of a customer segment. 

It also helps you to recognise and split out different customer segments, so that you can plan your marketing to target customers properly.


Getting to Know ‘The One’ Intimately

The next step is to select a single person you now with this problem. If you can’t think of anyone, then you might need to go back to the ideation phase and re-think what problem you are actually trying to solve. If you can think of someone, but don’t have a direct relationship with them, then you should go through the ‘Detailed Questionnaire’ and answer as best you can with what you know now. You can always come back later and update it further.


The Detailed Questionnaire

Right, so the ‘Intimate Questionnaire’ is a looming list of questions to consider about his/her life. A few examples are:

  • How old is she?
  • Is she married?
  • Does she have kids?
  • Where does he take holidays?
  • Does he drive a car?
  • What are her biggest worries at night?
  • What does she do in her spare time?
  • etc, etc…

Then we get to the business related questions, such as:

  • How will she know when it’s time to look for a product like yours?  Is there a trigger?
  • What will she google to find you?
  • What social media platforms is he on?
  • How does the problem he has make him feel?  How does it impact his life right now?
  • How will she feel after buying your product?
  • etc. etc…

If you want to a free copy of the Empathy Map and Questionnaire list, please email me at and I'll pop the worksheets over to you.

If you feel you need more in-depth exploration of your customer, join us for a workshop on 18th July here.

Who are your target audience and what's your biggest problem with identifying the right market?  

Please fill in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!