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If you’re running a business, your audience is the people you want to buy your product. If you are a writer, blogger, or self-publishing e-book author, your audience is the people you want to read your stuff. If you’re working on a political campaign, your audience is the people whose vote you would love to capture.

The question is, how do you find your audience? As everyone soon finds out, it doesn’t “just happen.” Finding the people you most want to appeal to requires a particular strategy.

Here are some starter tips on finding an audience:

Create Ideal Profile

A shotgun approach to marketing rarely works. This is the idea that you want to “appeal to everyone” or “the general public.” This is not a focused effort. For example, if you have a product that appeals to senior citizens, you don’t want to waste resources and effort marketing to Gen Z or Millennials.

Thus, write down the specific attributes of your ideal customer, reader, or subject. Create a résumé for this imaginary perfect individual. List their age range, geographic location, ethnic persuasion, their income level, type of jobs they hold, political leanings, and more. Determining your ideal target subject helps focus the subsequent steps you will take to focus marketing messages for them.

Go Directly to Source for Info

Once you have identified the kind of people you are looking for, go out and find some candidates and ask them questions. This is a market survey. You want to find out how likely they will buy what you are selling or read what you are writing. Go online to help you write a list of survey questions that will be pertinent to your goals.

You can also browse online forums where you think your target audience engages in conversation. You can learn scads about what is forefront in your audience’s mind in this way.

Find Key Influencers

In every demographic, there are people whom the crowd naturally follows or looks to for cues on how to act. These people are key influencers. Others wait to see if they will buy something before they do. There are many ways to do this. For example, you can purchase social listening software, leverage influencer marketing platforms, or take advantage of free tools like Google Analytics.

When you find influencers, endeavor to work with them to further your audience-building efforts. They have a lot of power to help you.