How To Identify Your Target Audience For Your Online Course

Article by Nelli Gevorgyan / Updated at .21 Feb 2024
11 min read
How To Identify Your Target Audience For Your Online Course

The vitality of identification of the target market and the audience is often overlooked. However, it is critical for your online course success.    

In this competitive market and dynamic industry, where new products are available almost every hour throughout the world, you need to be aware of who your target audience is and how to sell your products to them.    

Therefore, in this article, we will review everything related to the target audience.

What is the target audience?

First things first, let’s comprehend the concept of the target audience. In short and simple terms target audience consists of people who are most likely to be interested in the purchase of your product or service. The key factors to consider when identifying the target audience are:

  • Age 
  • Location 
  • Income levels
  • Language 
  • Interests and activities     

There are also other aspects to consider depending on the product or service you offer; we will review everything in more detail a bit later. 

Difference between the target audience and market audience

Now, as far as we are clear on the concept of the target audience, let’s review the difference between the target market and the audience.    

Basically, the main difference is that the target market is a larger group of people you want to reach, whereas the target audience is a subcategory of your target market. Your target market can have a few subcategories, and you can run tests on each of them to understand which one works better, what you need to improve, and who you should focus on. 

The importance of understanding the target audience

It is critical to know who your target audience is in order to be able to meet their needs and expectations, basically providing supply on demand. That is the key factor for having higher profit margins. Here are a few reasons that prove the importance of understanding the target audience:

  • Clears everything up: If you know who is your target buyers, you will have a better idea of what they expect. 
  • Meeting customers' needs: Knowing what customers expect helps you in offering a product that they will need.
  • Higher profits: When customers are supplied with something that meets their needs & expectations, alongside resolving issues they are facing, they are most likely to purchase that product or service, which results in higher revenue for you.
  • More hype around the product: When you offer a product that people need (which you will be able to do if you are aware of who is your target audience), they will share that product with friends, acquaintances, and colleagues who may be interested in. So, your product gets hyped up for free. 
  • Saves your time and energy: By identifying your real audience, you will eliminate the potential costs of advertising, promotional strategy, and extra work on an audience that doesn't need your product at the end of the day and won't be interested in it. 

Don't miss the 25 best ways to promote your online courses. 

target audience

7 tactics to identify your audience

Now, let's dive into the practical part of identifying your target audience, which will help you succeed. We will take a look at the seven main practices to achieve that; all of them are quite easy, although they may be time-consuming. However, remember that those methods will help you accurately identify your target audience, which will further benefit you in terms of profits, publicity, and hype around your business. 

Tactic 1 - Conduct Interviews & Surveys 

The vitality of interviews and surveys is proven; those are perfect tools to grab first-hand data about your target audience. You will directly ask customers certain questions and, after evaluating the collected data, have a clear understanding of who is your target buyer.     

This will help you to gather information about the main audience research elements:

  • Basic demographics: age, gender, location, income levels, education level
  • Problems, pains, and fears of the customers: the most crucial information you need to know about your target buyers is their pain points, and you definitely can grab some data about it with surveys and interviews by implementing data extraction techniques.
  • Interests of your market: Identification of how, when, and where your target audience prefers to spend their time
  • Values of your consumers: Identification of what is important to your audience, mauve happiness is one of the main values, and you are a lifestyle coach, so you will grab an idea to create a course "How to become happier." 
  • Shopping behavior: Knowing what your customers buy and how much money they are ready to pay for it is also quite vital, and you can collect data on it by evaluating the survey results. 

Tactic 2 - Validate Your Idea, and Product Popularity 

Validation of your idea is quite important before launching a course and being disappointed on low-demand levels. Make sure to complete some research using search engines, forums, and survey data to come up with a list of behavioral traits of your customers and the overall demand of the product in the existing market. 

Tactic 3 - Use SEO tools to analyze site visitors 

Using SEO tools in order to analyze site visitors is a great idea. First of all, let's understand how your potential clients may find you. In the search engine, for example, in Google, they will type keywords or keyphrases of what they need, for example, "Content Writing Course," and the search engine accordingly will bring up all the results found.     

The results which rank higher are better SEO optimized and include keywords the user was searching for. So, if you want your course to appear on the first lines, you need good SEO optimization.     

But besides higher rankings, SEO tools provide you with full insights on the audience, their interests, time zones, locations, languages, and engagement rates in different posts. Having all that results in front of you will greatly contribute to further analysis and evaluation of your target audience. Besides, it will help you to understand what are the pain points and needs of your market. You can retarget these people using social media too. Simply be consistent on your socials and use a social media scheduler that allows you to schedule Facebook group posts, Instagram posts, tweets, and more.  


Tactic 4 - Leverage Customer Data 

Leverage Customer Data can be pretty helpful in the process of identifying who your target customers are, based on the current customers. CRM (customer relationship management) systems will help you to store and analyze data furtherly.     

Your existing customer data most likely includes name,s phone numbers, emails, past purchases, and previously viewed items information, which is very beneficial for you. As this information is sensitive, make sure to implement data privacy management protocols and encryption measures to safeguard your customers' details.

Tactic 5 - Beta Testing

Beta Testing of the product, one of the types of software testing, will help you not only to check out the promotional strategies but also the overall performance of the product. Testers will give you direct feedback on the item or service, therefore data based on which you can make further improvements.     

There are different methods to perform beta testing; for example, when you conduct surveys and interviews, at the end of the survey, you can include a button “Become a Beta Tester.” When users click on that button, they will get a free version of your product, be that e-book or a few lectures from an online training course. Afterward, they will watch, read or test it and give you feedback on the performance. 

Tactic 6 - Market & Competitor research 

Understanding what your potential customers may need is not enough; you have to conduct full market research because, at the end of the day, you are going to have Target Market, then segments of that market - Target Audience. Therefore, make sure to analyze the marketplace carefully. For example, if you are an online course creator, you have to analyze the general market of online course consumers, not just one niche. 


Luckily in this digital era, there are lots of tools that will make the process easier. Some of the great market research tools are - Alexa and Google Trends. These tools will provide complete analytics and vision on the market, trends, and competitors. And, you can use all that information to improve the product quality. 

Tactic 7 - Create Buyer Personas

Identifying your Buyer Personas and creating an Ideal Client Profile is extremely important for your success. 

What are buyer personas? 

Simply put, a buyer persona is a detailed description of someone who represents your target audience. For example, let's create a buyer persona for someone who may purchase a "Level up Your Business" course. 

How to create buyer personas?

To create a Buyer Persona, we will need to identify the following points:    

  • Demographics: Women & Men aged 20 - 45 live in Toronto, Canada. Mid income level, revenue generated by business X$ monthly. 
  • Goals & Motivation: Wants to grow their business, be self-sufficient, and gain financial freedom.
  • Pain points: Struggling to attract more buyers, low traffic on the website.
  • Interests: Loves to spend time on self-development, traveling, and education.     

So from all this information above it becomes clear what can we include in our course do be more appealing. First of all, the person loves spending time on education, so we should analyze competitors and work on SEO to rank higher on Google.     

Also, from the interests alongside goals and motivations, we can think of a marketing (promotional) strategy which will include keyphrases self-development, business growth, and financial freedom.     

Then, there are pain points for which we have to offer a solution, e.g., have lectures in the course on how to increase website traffic, how to do market segmentation, and attract new customers. 


What is the next step?

After identification of the target market and audience, there are several next steps you need to take. When you are sure for who you are creating the content, your possible next steps can be:

  • Brainstorming the ideas: There are many techniques available for brainstorming. However, I would recommend the following one, called 5 Why's analysis. This is a less structured brainstorming technique compared to other popular ones, but it really works. The main point is to ask why over and over again until the idea is proven to be good enough to be on the list. 
  • Validation of the idea: Validation of your ideas is extremely important because that will help you to check out the demand for the product or service you want to offer and either develop the idea furtherly or create something totally new/different. 
  • Business Plan: You need a business plan to have a clear vision of future objectives, current resources, and strategies you plan to employ for achieving your brand's goals. Make sure to include SWOT analysis in your business plan, and have a budget-related part.  
  • Marketing Strategy: This is a must-do step because sales of the product depending on how you promote the product. You can use 4Ps and 4Cs marketing techniques and further base your strategy on them.
  • Making the final product: After you have everything set up, it is time to create a product you are going to sell. For example, if it is an online course with pre-recorded lectures, then you will need a good camera and editing software to record and edit the videos. Then you have to write a course outline and include learning objectives, outcomes, grading, and absence policies. Afterward, you will need to choose a platform, e.g., Uteach, to launch a course, write an effective description heading, and hit on the publish button. 
  • Start selling and follow your plan alongside the marketing strategy.    

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Everything is going to be alright, and you will eventually succeed if you keep going and work smart rather than hard. 

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