Ways to Understand your Audience

Even before sales and marketing made their move to the internet, some principles of business have always remained true; have a good product, hire good staff, and know your audience. It’s easy to lose sight of the basics with algorithms and SEO and worrying about social media but fundamentally, your audience is still your major priority in marketing plans. 

You need to know about your audience so you can decide which platform to use, what strategies to choose, what messages to deliver, and how to follow up. All of this will help you figure out what content you need to create, what your ads should look like, and what will bring a higher conversion from your website. Read ahead for actions you can take to understand your audience better 

Know your Current Demographic 

The first step is to collect data on your existing customers. How old are they? Where do they live? What life stages are they in (students, new parents, retirees)? How much money do they spend? What are their interests? The most important question you may want to answer is what are their challenges or “pain points”? As a part of this exploration, you need to also look at who is engaged with your social media presence. Who likes, comments, or engages with your posts? Who watches and shares? If you are already on social media, then analytics and audience insights can help find out this information. 

This information should be re-examined regularly, and you should test new audiences occasionally but the information you gather from your current audience and clients will provide a wealth of data to discover and utilize for your benefit. 

Ask Questions 

This is 100% the easiest way to determine the demographics of your target—ask them questions. If you have an opportunity to speak with them directly, this can be as easy as a simple conversation and getting to know them more personally. If you do not see them face-to-face, utilize online surveys. We recommend that they be short with very simple ways to answer such as multiple-choice questions or rating scales. You can also use the “ask question” features in Instagram or Facebook to capture the answer to one question and use it regularly to gather, track, and update information. It is also recommended that participation be rewarded—such as a discount, prize, or promotional offer. 

Check out your competitors! 

So, this is like backwards research. Here you will examine data for customers who did NOT choose your business first! First, figure out who your direct competitors are—do they sell the same product or service? Do they capture your clients? How do they do that?  

To use this information, you need to understand their style, their voice, how they market or advertise, and what problems they are solving for people. What phrases or statements are common to their ads? What types of pictures do they use? Chances are this research will show you what is working for them, but you may also find out what isn’t working—which is very valuable too! 

Utilize Social Listening 

Social listening is all about tracking keywords and hashtags related to your business on social media. You can search these keywords and phrases on your social media accounts and find out who is talking about the product you sell or the service you provide. Use this investigation to find out more about the audience and about what they want from your business. Another way to use social listening is to reach out to people who talk about your business online and ask them questions. You can narrow down your target audience even more clearly. You can also uncover other hashtags or related keywords to help you improve the reach of your ads. 

What do you do with this Knowledge? Create an avatar! 

Nope, not the blue aliens from the movie, but a customer persona representing your ultimate “target client”. Using the information, you have gathered, you will imagine a fictional character who is interested in being your client. You will detail the answers to all the questions above regarding age, gender, stage of life, financial habits, interests, and challenges.  

Going ahead, when you think about your marketing materials, they will all be aimed at this person. You will write as though you are speaking to them directly. This will help you laser-focus your message and target audience for advertising as well as for trimming your budget.  

Knowing the audience most likely to be interested in your content, products, or services will serve to help you craft that content, deliver those messages, and find your clientele more easily. There are likely many characteristics that they have in common that you can fruitfully aim towards to create a significantly improved return on your marketing investment budget. Remember that while you can target “everyone” in a broad sense, the same messages don’t apply to an adult as they do to a teen, a retired elderly person, a millennial, or a married parent and that means you are paying to deliver your message to a bunch of people who may never read it.  To help this from happening be sure to contact the Van Patter Group to help find your target audience.