We live in a digital era.
And that’s good news for marketers, as well as business at large.
The average American spends almost 9 hours consuming digital content these days. Millennials, according to the same source, are at it for 11 hours!
All those eyes amount to opportunity. It’s never been easier to get a product or service in front of a captive audience! They’re all online, ready and waiting to be exposed to your business.
Unfortunately, though, success isn’t guaranteed. Generating leads and conversions with a respectable ROI relies upon one thing:
You must understand your target audience.
Launching a marketing campaign in the absence of such understanding is a recipe for trouble. You shoot from the hip, risk irrelevance, and waste money in the process.
Want to avoid that fate and define your audience with greater accuracy? Let us help!
Read on for 7 essential ways that businesses can improve their understanding of an audience.
1. Know Thyself
There’s a level of irony in understanding your audience.
It often starts with knowing yourself first.
In other words, a business must have a solid grasp of its unique offer in order to understand its audience. Be clear on your place in the market.
What does your business offer that others don’t? To put it another way, why would someone buy from you instead of the competition?
Knowing your USP is of paramount importance. With that behind you, it’s easier to work backward and ascertain the type of people who’d frequent your business.
Understand your ‘why’ and the ‘who’ will follow.
2. Compare Yourself to the Competition
In business, as in life, comparing yourself to others can be a great source of information.
That’s particularly true for understanding your audience.
Think about your closest competitors and cast an analytical eye over their endeavors.
Look at everything from their specific approach to advertising to the tone of their web copy. Consider the brand they’ve created, the image they possess, the values they espouse, and the products/services they offer.
This research can be revealing. You can see what seems to works and what doesn’t. You can use the findings to inform your understanding of the audience.
3. Start With a Buyer Persona
Start-ups face numerous challenges.
Consumers don’t know who they are or what they do. In competitive industries, start-ups must convince those consumers to jump ship from other better-known and trusted brands.
That’s by no means easy.
And lacking a pre-existing audience is a part of the issue. How can you understand your audience if don’t have one?!
Buyer personas can help.
It’s about sitting down and establishing the profile of your target customer. Based on market research, you imagine what they look like, where they live, and how they think. What do they like? What do they wear? How do they spend their days?
With that in mind, you’ll stand a better chance of targeting them in initial ad campaigns.
4. Check the Data
You might have masses of untapped audience data at your fingertips.
Everything from Google analytics to specific ad platforms deliver important insights.
Imagine that you’ve run past PPC campaigns on Google and social media. You can guarantee that the results they delivered came with an abundance of audience data.
Dive deep into the backend if you haven’t already. Harvest the data on offer. You can glean everything from demographic data (such as age, location, and ethnicity) to individual tastes and spending power.
You’ll also see how certain elements of your ad converted. Certain copy, colors, phraseology, links, and widgets might work better than others.
That’s of immense value in your bid to understand your audience.
5. Check the Comments
Comment sections can be a treasure trove of information.
Don’t ignore them!
Always take the time to go through the comments and engagements your content receives. Go through what people are saying on your latest blog, video, or podcast.
The frequency of their engagement is just as valuable as the content of it. Attend to what people say, the posts that elicit the greatest number of responses, and the nature of those responses too.
You could even post questions on social media and start contentious (brand-related) threads. Both will spark revealing comments, conversations, and reactions. Read and take notes! It’s all insight into your audience.
6. Run a Survey
Methods of understanding an audience don’t get much better than asking them!
That’s why surveys can be such a powerful tool at your disposal. They remove all guesswork from the equation. You no longer rely on data interpretations and evidential inferences.
You can hear from the horse’s mouth exactly who they are and what they want.
Surveys can be used whenever you have a business decision to make. Let’s say you want to do a giveaway but don’t know what prize would have the greatest ROI. You could shoot an email to your subscribers to ask them!
7. Talk to Your Customers
Has your business already made some sales?
Well, it’s time to get maximum value from those customers.
Talk with them! Engage with your customers whenever possible to learn more about them. Of course, this is much easier for businesses that have one on one interactions. Businesses with a hands-off approach will find it harder.
All the same, take advantage of any opportunities to interact with clients. Get to know them as people. What do they like? Hate? Fear? Desire? Wear? Watch? Support?
Don’t go overboard! Only find out what’s appropriate at any given time. As your insight develops, though, you can apply that understanding at a wider scale, in advertising and so on.
Time to Understand Your Target Audience
You must understand your target audience in order to enjoy marketing success.
After all, without that insight, you don’t know what they want! If you don’t know that, then there’s no way to advertise effectively to them.
Hopefully, the tips in this post will help you glean such essential levels of audience understanding.