Why You Shouldn’t Target Everyone: Segmenting and Casting a Smaller Net

A photo that represents audience segmentation in marketing featuring a hand holding a magnifying glass above a pie chart topped with multiple stick figures on each portion.

Reaching the right audience is essential for digital marketing. However, many businesses fail to find their audience. Instead of targeting their marketing campaigns to reach, engage and convert audiences who are interested in their products or services, they try to connect with everyone. Simply casting your content out into the world in hopes that it will find the right clients is not the answer. 

Instead of trying to appeal to the masses, your digital marketing needs to attract the right audience. Then it has to go further by identifying and connecting with the individual subgroups that make up the target audience. This marketing strategy is called segmentation. 

 Key takeaways this article will help you recognize:

  • Understand that targeting everyone you will not connect with the right audience
  • Discover the importance of conducting research to identify your target audience
  • Learn how audience segmentation helps you connect with the subgroups of your target audience to achieve your goals  
  • Recognize that a knowledgeable digital marketing agency with audience segmentation skills can use their expertise to help you more effectively reach your target audience 

 Targeting Everyone = Poor Results 

The biggest misconception about digital marketing is that your message needs to reach as many people as possible. On the surface, that concept makes sense. The more eyes that see your marketing campaigns, the more likely they are to engage with your business. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Let’s say you own a local music shop that sells everything from instruments to accessories. Your business even offers music lessons for guitar, drums and keyboards. To build your brand awareness, you conduct a digital marketing campaign designed to reach as many people as possible. This is a mistake.

While your campaign may appear to hundreds or thousands of eyes, most won’t take action. Why? Because the majority of them are not interested in buying instruments or taking music lessons. Your email, social post, Google ad campaign or video may have been seen by many, but many of them have no interest in your business  or need of your services. 

The reality is that your marketing needs to reach the right audience. It needs to be seen by and connect with people who are interested in your products or services. Whether it’s individuals who are actively searching for a particular product or service or groups of people whose interests align with your business, these audiences are the ones most likely to click your ad, visit your website and take action. 

How do you ensure that your digital marketing efforts reach people who are interested in or need your products or services? 

You identify these audiences. 

How To Identify Your Target Audience 

Instead of trying to market to a broad audience with poor results, you need to connect with a more refined audience that is more likely to engage with your content and take action. This is your target audience.

To identify your target audience, it’s best to begin with your existing customers and clients. Take a close look at these customers to determine the following information:

  • Where do they live?
  • What is their age?
  • What is their gender? 
  • What is their marital status? 
  • Do they have children? 
  • What service or product did they purchase or show interest in?

Next, take a look at your competition. What does their audience look like? To find out, refer to the same questions you asked about your own customers to determine who your competitor’s customers are.

Once you have all of this important information about your customers and the competition’s clientele, you should have a better understanding of who your target audience is. 

As you look at this customer information, you’ll probably notice just as many differences as similarities. That’s because your target audience is actually made up of various individuals and groups who have diverse interests and backgrounds. 

To maximize your digital marketing efforts, you need to ensure that you create multiple messages and campaigns that are designed to attract the attention of these key subgroups. 

This digital marketing strategy is known as audience segmentation. 

Achieve Your Marketing Goals with Audience Segmentation 

To avoid creating marketing campaigns that are aimed at an audience that’s too broad, you should define  your target audiences that can benefit from your particular products or services. To help you further refine your target audience, you need to segment them using demographics, psychographics and behaviors.

Using Demographics for Segmented Audiences

Demographics are one of the metric types that can help you identify your target audience and sort them into a segmented audience. 

The demographic metrics that are most commonly used for identify target audiences are:

  • Gender 
  • Age  
  • Location
  • Marital status
  • Number of Children
  • Education
  • Profession 
  • Employment Status
  • Income 

Once you have compiled these demographics, you can use them to further define and refine your target audience by creating a segmented audience. Once you have this segmented audience identified, you can create marketing messages that speak directly to their needs, wants and aspirations. You’ll also know where your campaigns will best connect with them (Google, social media, email, etc), and plant the seeds for a continued customer/business relationship. 

A typical segmented audience that is created from demographic metrics may look like this: 

  • Female
  • Age 30-50
  • Lives in Central Pennsylvania 
  • Married
  • Mother of two 
  • College Graduate
  • Project Manager 
  • Average Annual Income $75,000

In addition to providing vital information for your marketing strategies, these demographic-based segmented audiences will also provide additional information after your campaigns have concluded. Using sales data and digital analytics, you can determine which specific segments of your target audiences are purchasing your products or employing services.

Using Psychographics for Segmented Audiences

Although often confused with demographics, psychographics are similar yet very different. While these metrics also help you identify your target audience and allow you to segment them, they do so using a more qualitative approach that may involve the use of audience surveys and digital analytics. 

The psychographic metrics that are most commonly used for identify target audiences are:

  • Interests
  • Values
  • Personality
  • Lifestyle
  • Opinions

Using this psychographic information, you can now classify your target audience and break them out into segments. 

A typical segmented audience that is created from psychographic metrics may look like this: 

  • Enjoys spending her time with her family and attending concerts  
  • Enjoys her profession and looks for new ways to develop her skills 
  • Always puts the needs of her family first 
  • Budget-conscious but spends extra on her children
  • Believes in helping other first and addresses her one needs after 

By applying this information to your digital marketing practices, you’ll have a clearer picture of your target and segmented audiences’ needs, wants, aspirations, and pain points. This allows you to create relevant and empathetic messages that appeal to these specific groups. This maximizes the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by connecting with interested audiences. 

Using Behaviors for Segmented Audiences

Another way to identify the different segments of your target audience is by taking a closer look at their behaviors. Essentially, you want to determine what compelled your audience to buy a good or service. 

Some of the behaviors that are most commonly used for identify target audiences are:

  • Customer journey stages (awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy)
  • Types of products and services audiences purchased
  • Factors that influenced their purchase (produce/service usage, price point, benefits, purchase frequency) 
  • Time of day they visited your site or made a purchase 
  • Type of device they use when engaging with your marketing or purchasing (desktop, mobile, tablet)

With this information in hand, you’ll have a better understanding of what influences audiences’ purchasing decisions, their preferred purchase times and devices, and the types of products or services that best suit their needs and wants. You can then use this information to create the appropriate segments for future marketing campaigns. 


As you can see, identifying your target audience is essential for effective marketing. Yet, to truly maximize the impact of your marketing strategies, you need to break your target audience into segments. That way you can create relevant content that reaches the right audiences, speaks to their exact needs, compels them to take action, and converts them into loyal customers. 

This practice is essential to your marketing success – but it is a time-consuming and constantly involving process. With that in mind, it may quickly diminish your personal bandwidth if you try to put these strategies into practice on your own. 

Instead of trying to take on the role of a one-person marketing team, you can benefit from the assistance of a top-tier marketing team with segmented audience experience.  

If you are ready to identify and segment your target audiences, let us know! We would be happy to discuss how our team can help your digital marketing reach and connect the most relevant audiences!

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