Why Your Target Audience Shouldn’t be ‘Everyone’

Small Business Marketing

You’re starting a business, and you want to reach a lot of people so your brand can be as profitable and impactful as possible.

For maximized success, you should market to everyone, right? Wrong.

Although it may seem counterintuitive at first, narrowing down a specific target audience will actually give your business a better shot at survival and make your product or service more memorable.

If you’re not convinced, here are several reasons why you shouldn’t try to target everyone when starting or running a business.


You might not appeal to anybody  

As Chris Do puts it, “If we cater to everyone, we’ll stand for no one.” Entrepreneur also explains this by stating that we can’t be “everything for everybody” or we risk being “nothing for nobody.”

When you say that you’ll be marketing to everyone, you’re more or less implying that your product or service doesn’t attract anybody specific.

Think about it this way; do a 15-year-old boy and an elderly woman value the same things or spend their money in similar ways? Most likely not. Do they have the exact same needs and shop for the same clothes? Let’s hope not.


The point is: Different types of people have different emotional needs, so products or services appeal to them in different ways.


So if you’re trying to meet everyone’s needs, your identity and voice won’t be as powerful, which brings us to our next point…


Your brand will be vague

Since you aren’t tailoring your approach around any specific type of person, your brand identity will end up being ambiguous.

For example, you won’t fit into any particular crowd, and your business’ personality won’t resonate with people because it’ll be inconsistent as you try to speak everybody’s language.

This is why it’s crucial to develop a brand that matches the personality of your target audience. Are you trying to appeal to hourly workers who maintain a flexible lifestyle? Your brand voice should be characterized as…

  • Unconventional
  • Action-oriented
  • Straight-forward
  • Free-spirited


If you’re not sure what kind of customer you should target, Business News Daily suggests making a hypothetical buyer whose needs line up with your products or services and recall who have been the most profitable and easy to work with clients.

They also recommend asking the following questions to develop an ideal customer:

  • Who has bought before and returned to buy again?
  • Which client has been the most profitable and referred their friends?
  • Where do they get their news? What do they do for fun? What do they care about?
  • Why do they do business with us? How would they describe our company?


At the end of the day, your target audience shouldn’t be a secret and anyone familiar with your brand should be able to explain what you stand for. If you water down your personality in an attempt to appeal to everybody, people won’t be drawn in and they’ll easily forget your message.


It’ll waste time and resources

This mass approach to marketing not only is ineffective, it also results in a waste of time and money.

Since different marketing strategies are more successful depending on the age, gender, location, education, income, and lifestyle of the customer, in order to market to everyone, you’ll have to use numerous marketing strategies.

The more marketing tactics you implement, the more money it will cost. For example, if you’re trying to build every type of website, use all kinds of copy, attend every event, hand out all kinds of print material, and master each social media platform, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Plus, it’s not only expensive to target everyone, it’s also exhausting.

You won’t be able to maintain such an all-inclusive approach for very long without burning out or losing vision.

 So to wrap it all up…

Although it’s tempting and seems like it would be profitable to market to everyone, resist.

Instead of trying to take on all roles, focus on what sets you apart from your competitors like your unique selling proposition and then hone in on that. Spending more time becoming an expert at what you do best allows your business to stand out and offer a more refined product or service.

Also, if you succeed in attracting a specific audience, they’ll be more loyal to your brand and you can stand up for them by advocating for what they’re passionate about.

As Todd Friedman says, “The more you can define not only the demographics — like age, gender and household income — but also the type of person (psychographics), including attitudes, tendencies, and preferences, the more you can directly speak to your audience. Owning a specific market’s mind share is the key.”


If you’re still having trouble identifying your brand or deciding who your target audience should be, we’re here to help. Our team has years of experience helping small businesses develop their personalities and successfully attract specific customers.


Reach out to us today! We’d love to chat more about how your business can acquire the right people and make a meaningful impact on your community.

Emerge is a digital marketing boutique firm that helps you grow your business through affordable website designs in Richmond VA. Our website designs are built to be Google-Friendly to give you the best possible chance of success.

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