If you’re a business owner, you should always have one question on your mind: who’s your target audience? Many businesses make the mistake of not defining the audience they want their marketing efforts to resonate with. While creating stellar content with engaging visuals is important to increasing audience reach, it’s also imperative for a brand to understand their audience, who they are, and what their shopping habits are. In fact, according to Hootsuite, audience research is one of the most vital ingredients to a business’s marketing strategy, and “will help you craft relevant content, messaging, and ads. All of this can lead to higher conversion rates and better social media ROI.”
Without proper audience research, a brand’s marketing strategy can run the risk of becoming messy and uncoordinated. And a messy marketing strategy leads to an audience that’s not likely to be engaged. That’s why you should hone in on your target audience so that you can create an effective marketing strategy that’ll help you achieve the results you seek.
1. Research your target audience.
You must make sure that you know which audience you want to attract with your content. This involves a ton of extensive research to find the right demographics, geographic, and interest group for your brand. Some important questions to ask include:
- What does your ideal audience or customer look like?
- What websites or social media do they frequently use?
- What types of content do they consume while online?
- What are some of the issues or concerns they face on a regular basis?
If you already have an ideal audience or demographic you would like to target, don’t just assume it is the right one for your brand. Branch out and educate yourself about the different niches that are related to your industry. You should also try to see if there’s any possible interest in your product or services in other industries and niche markets as well to expand your market size. With this new information, you can make a well-informed conclusion about your target audience and their interests.
2. Provide solutions for your audience.
Your brand should give your audience a solution to their problems or concerns. When you base your brand’s marketing around your customer’s pain points, you empathize with their struggles, leading them to trust in your message. And if you emphasize aspects of their issues that your competitors are not, you may build up your brand as the go-to source for your target customers. This can allow you to attract a particularly large following as you become an asset to your customer base.
Of course, you will need to conduct research to find and provide solutions to your audience’s issues. Research is also important if you want to know how you stand among your competitors in the industry. Social media platforms can help you take a closer look at your audience at a personal level, including how they talk, what their concerns are, and what appeals or excites them the most. Once you start getting to know your audience, you can closely analyze their behavior and make educated generalizations.
3. Use social media platforms.
There are at least 3.8 billion active social media users on the Internet right now. That makes social media one of the best platforms to use to learn about your target audience. From trending topics to popular shared photos and videos, there are so many content types that show you a glimpse of what your potential customers are engaged with. Whenever you’re on social media, pay attention to the trending discussions or topics that are driving conversations in your industry.
By following trending discussions, you gain higher insight about new approaches and messages for your marketing campaigns that you may not have considered before. This also helps you find out where your target audience is amongst all the different social media channels so you can accurately allocate your advertising dollars. For instance, you may realize that the bulk of your audience spends their time on Facebook or Instagram compared to any other platform. It would make sense for you to focus your marketing efforts in these channels.
4. Conduct regular surveys.
Sometimes it’s better to direct with your audience. One of the best ways to be straightforward is to ask questions—simple as that! We recommend conducting surveys to help you receive honest feedback or answers that could alter the direction of your brand’s marketing strategy. Asking questions can also present your brand as helpful and considerate versus your competitors.
Surveys through your social media or email newsletter also boost engagement, which fuels interesting conversations that further your understanding of your audience. Creating surveys isn’t difficult—platforms like Instagram have tools that allow you to ask questions in various formats. You can also launch surveys using tools like SurveyMonkey. Of course, depending on the type of survey or channel, you may need to offer a prize that incentivizes your audience to answer.
5. Analyze your audience analytics closely.
Make sure you keep track of your audience analytics as often as possible. Why? Your analytics helps you base your marketing efforts on data and facts, not assumptions. Tools like Google Analytics and social media analytics can provide you with the means to pinpoint what content is resonating with your audience.
When analyzing your audience analytics, take a good look at the channels that are attracting your audience’s attention, what content your audience is sharing or garnering the most comments, and what pages on your website are gaining the most traffic.
6. Conduct a competitor analysis.
A competitor analysis (also known as a competitive analysis) is a key form of market research that you should definitely perform. In a competitor analysis, you’ll garner useful information about your competitors who share the same target audience as your brand. Similar to an audience analysis, you’ll analyze different aspects of your competitor’s behavior, and other important pieces of information.
Pay close attention to your competitor’s branding, including their voice and message, and how customers respond to it. You should also evaluate their marketing strategies and campaigns to figure out their weaknesses and how you can stand out. You may also need to review how they’re emphasizing their products and services in their marketing. If you would like to learn more about how to conduct a competitor analysis, read more about it on our blog, How To Do An Effective Competitor Analysis.
7. Never make assumptions about your audience.
Creating effective marketing strategies that appeal to your target audience involves a blend of personal conversations and analytics. You should never assume that your audience understands your brand or your products and services. Instead, your business’s marketing should do that for you after you conduct thorough research. Once you have the research completed, you can zero in on what your audience is interested in so you can revamp your marketing to match it.
Your brand needs to have complete confidence in their target audience. If not, you risk losing opportunities in crafting campaigns that fit their needs. You may feel that understanding your audience is more work than necessary but it’s actually conducive to your business’s success. According to Sprout Social, when you target a specific audience with advertising efforts, “you ensure you’re spending money where it counts. Marketers see an up to 20% increase in sales when using personalized content.” On top of this, these strategies help you understand your target audience in a way that allows you to improve your strategies.
If you’re not sure how to use social media for your brand’s advantage, check out our blog, 5 Ways to Use Social Media for Brand Awareness.