Have You Identified Your Target Audience?

If you aim at nothingyou will hit it every time.” ~Zig Ziglar

Are you aiming at a target audience? Or are you aiming at nothing?

When I consult for indie authors, I ask them to send me a list of their questions prior to the consultation so I can structure the time to best meet the author’s needs.

I have yet to have an author ask that I help her identify or refine her target audience. Most simply jump into questions about marketing. And yet, many have not spent any time distilling who the audience for their book is.

Here is the problem. You cannot develop an effective marketing plan without FIRST identifying your target audience. And, many indie authors fail to do just that.

Many marketing plans often fail for the following reasons:

  • Failure to identify target audience.
  • Failure to plan and execute marketing activities for multiple targets.
  • Failure to balance marketing activities to primary, secondary, and tertiary targets.

Think of your target audience as a target with a bull’s eye and expanding rings. The bull’s eye and each ring of the target represents a segment of your target audience.

A target audience is made up of a primary audience, a secondary audience and a tertiary audience. How does this look in practice?

With the recent growth in religious children’s book sales, let’s take a children’s picture book as an example. Let’s use a Christmas story picture book.

The primary target audience for this book would be children ages four to eight years of age who celebrate Christmas. However, children don’t buy books, so we need to include the parents in the primary target. Here is the breakdown of target audiences for a children’s Christmas picture book.

  • Primary Audience: Parents of children aged four to eight years who celebrate Christmas.
  • Secondary Audience: Grandparents and aunts and uncles of children aged four to eight years who celebrate Christmas who give Christmas-themed gifts.
  • Tertiary Audience: Churches, Christian preschools and elementary schools, and libraries.
  • Quaternary Audience: Collectors of all things Christmas.

Looking at this breakdown of audiences for the sample book, you can see that there are at least four distinct audiences for this book. Each audience requires a different marketing approach and strategy.

Identifying your target audience in this manner lets you prioritize your marketing efforts and expenditures. Of course, you will spend the most time and money on your primary audience. But you do not want to neglect your secondary and tertiary audiences.

Remember, the first step in creating a marketing plan is identifying your target audience. Only after you identify your target audience can you develop specific action steps to reach your audience.

Related Posts:
Do You Know Your Target Audience?
Get to Know Your Target Audience
Micro-Target to Get Results

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One Smart Book Promotion Tactic

I love hearing about authors who are engaging in smart book promotion tactics. Such stories always get me excited and fuel my creative juices for ways to better promote books. Recently, I was introduced to an author in my hometown who is engaging in some really smart book promotion.


This author, an attorney, wrote a handbook on divorce for couples going through that process. Upon publication of the book, he mailed complimentary copies of the book to therapists in private practice in his metropolitan area. In addition to the free book, he invited each therapist to attend a free seminar that he was hosting to educate them on the divorce laws in the state.

Why did he choose this route?

It is really quite brilliant. Many couple on the verge of or beginning to go through the divorce process seek counseling (actually, many couples put off seeking marital therapy until one party has already decided to call it quits). Therapists frequently recommend books for their clients to read to help them with whatever problem they are facing. Knowing this, this author attorney mailed complimentary copies of his book to therapists knowing that once they read or looked through the book it would become one of the resources they recommended to clients experiencing a divorce.

Additionally, this author attorney chose to give therapists a free seminar to cement his promotional activities. By offering additional free information that he, himself, presented, this author hoped to not only secure the purchase of more of his books, but also referrals. He knew that when therapists became acquainted with him personally, they might also give clients his name as a divorce attorney referral.

While you may not be able to go to quite the promotional extravagance that this attorney has, you can certainly make use of his idea. Notice that he is targeting influencers with his free promotional copies. In other words, this author gave free copies to people who can recommend the book to his target audience.

  • If you have published a Bible study for teenagers, consider sending complimentary copies to key youth pastors in your city. Include a letter explaining your bulk discount rate or offering to lead a Bible study or talk for the church’s youth.
  • If you have published an encouragement book for women going through a difficult time, send complimentary copies of your book to either Christian counseling centers in your area or to women’s ministries at local churches. Again include a note explaining your availability as a speaker for a women’s event.
  • If you have published a fiction book for young adults, send complimentary copies to the English teachers at local Christian high schools. Include in your letter information about your ability to be a guest author for their class.

I encourage you to let this author’s book promotion idea fuel some creative book promotion of your own. Giving away complimentary copies to influencers will often fuel book sales. Targeting the influencers of your audience helps ensure the best promotion results; so choose wisely.

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