Walk in like you know everyone: be sure you know your audience
Knowing your audience is a critical success factor for any successful marketing strategy. But why’s it so important?
There are plenty of different marketing strategies and styles, each of them with their own specifics. With all this diversity, it’s quite easy to miss some of the basics, the things that are essential for every strategy, and one of those is this principle: know your audience.
All marketing strategies have the same goal — target audience attraction, engagement and conversion. It’s possible to achieve, you just have to build your actions based on the prospect customer’s specific traits, involving demographic, geographic and psychological criteria. This will help you precisely target your campaigns and get the best results. But there are no limits. In fact, knowing as much as possible is the best approach of all, including your target audience’s personality, characteristics, interests, values and opinions.
It takes a lot of work and research, but it pays off a hundredfold. You will need to:
- Create a detailed list of appropriate topics and keywords
- Perfectly adjust your landing pages to increase conversion
- Perform qualitative content optimisation
- Create an excellent user experience
- Generate a powerful message, motivating readers to take action
- Define your market’s key influencers
Check out the best ways to get to know your audience better and create successful marketing campaigns below.
Do your research beforehand
There is still no marketing tool more powerful than good, old-fashioned market research, with the goal to collect as many details as possible about your target audience. This will serve as a base for creating further personas.
Carefully collect the demographics of your audience, but don’t limit yourself to those you’ve assumed are characteristic of your audience from the very beginning.
- Look for new possibilities, studying related niches and areas.
- Reach out to other departments (for example sales or customer service) to gain information like prospects’ interests, desires, pain points, common concerns, the words customers usually use that serve as keywords for SEO, etc.
- Use data gathering tools like consumer databases by country, providing insights on their interests. Use tools that analyse your followers’ Instagram and Twitter accounts, gathering loads of information like age, sex, interests, profession, average income etc. (like Demographics Pro), and harnessing B2B company databases offering tons of business information — things like company size, address, financial and digital insights, credit risk and other valuable data.
- Handle quantitative surveys with a large population of interest, such as your potential market or existing customer base. This will bring you the statistical details about general demographics that are the basis of every good marketing strategy. The most convenient way to do this, the way that reveals trends and similarities among your audience, is an online survey. Such surveys can be created for your social followers, email subscribers, prospects and clients. You can choose them by applying specific criteria to an accurate database filtering system, or other audience categories, which results in unexpected and exciting insights.
- Organise interviews to get to know your audience on a more personal level, for example learning more about what motivates them, what they’re thinking about, and what their opinions are. This qualitative research method is time-consuming so can be applied to a small population, but is also extremely helpful.
Here are some handy lifehacks about conducting a good interview:
1) Prepare the questions so that they will uncover the audience’s buying preferences, motivations, interests, and personality traits.
2) Conduct the interview in the form of a friendly conversation, where you’re playing a predominantly listening role. Listen carefully.
3) Always ask permission for the conversation to be recorded and used later.
4) Embrace social listening, monitoring social conversations and engagements your audience has not only with your brand but with other brands and other people, their comments, likes, shares, questions and answers and other interaction manifestations. This will reveal new trending topics, the approaches that are working nicely, and the efficiency of your content as well as ways to empower it even more. Remember to use a variety of social listening tools to make the task easier.
Study your competitors
This way of knowing your audience is a great addition to your own marketing research. It can serve as basic research when you’re a startup with few to no clients and, respectively, a small audience. Choose the most successful competitors (preferably those whose target audience is the same as or close to yours) and become their most devoted fan. Analyse everything they are doing, ask yourself what is being done, what for, and why. Pay the most attention to:
- the image they’re trying to create
- their marketing strategies types and techniques
- the main message of the campaigns
- specific phrasing and images
Don’t forget about the data gathering tools we’ve mentioned and remember that the recommended tactics, when used appropriately and applied to your competitors, will bring loads of valuable information as well as create an overall picture of the market.
Define customer personas
Once the data collection process is over and you have detailed information about the people who’ll be targeted by your marketing efforts, it’s time to start creating your buyer personas. As Aberdeen Research has shown, using personas in marketing can result in 73% higher conversion.
A customer persona is a simple profile of your ideal customer, built on the market research and existing clients database information you’ve collected. The profile includes every piece of data you discovered about your audience, put together and well-structured.
Get used to thinking of your personas as real people. This will help you personalise your approach to prospective customers and shorten the engagement process. Try using the following steps in the persona building process:
- Personas identification. There’s usually more than one persona and each of them describes different prospects, which means you will identify several customer segments to target. Adjust your content and SEO efforts according to each segment’s common traits to get your message through more efficiently.
- Detailed description. This step is not only about the type of persona. Each persona has to be described in detail, including their pain points, interests, concerns, goals, priorities and personal traits. Give them names, include pictures and attribute real quotes to them that reflect the characteristics above. There are a lot of persona building templates on the market in case you need assistance in the beginning, such as MakeMyPersona from HubSpot.
- Put into action. You are viewing your personas as real customers, and you consider them every time you’re planning a new campaign, be it social media, digital or email. They should also be consulted when redesigning your website, or creating a strategy for one of your sales or marketing channels.
Identify your target audience influencers
Don’t struggle alone in an attempt to engage your prospects and arouse interest in your product or service. Now you know them well thanks to extensive research and realistic personas, it’s time to identify the people who have authority, those who will influence purchasing decisions. When talking about digital marketing, the focus should be shifted to social influencers. Try applying these tactics when identifying the influencers for your market:
- Consider the engagement
- Be sure the influencers like your brand and are happy to be its advocates
- Learn the influencer’s trust rate and assess whether it’s worth the money you’re paying
- Communicate your objectives and expectations to them clearly, using a personalised approach, after researching his\her content and audience.
While the latest trends include monitoring the evolving consumer and adjusting every effort to meet the changes that happen to them, we don’t have to lose sight of the basics. They don’t change. My advice is to always consider human needs, desires, instincts and motivations and build your strategies accordingly. Knowing your audience is the key to success in marketing and it means every second, every dime is well spent.