An understanding of the audience is vital to the success of any marketing campaign. Marketing is what connects your company with your customers. It is the line of communication that builds long-lasting and loyal customer relationships. Furthermore, these days, customers not only want their marketing communications to be interesting, entertaining, and compelling, they also want them to feel personal.
According to TMG Custom Media, 90% of consumers find custom content useful and 78% believe that organisations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them. Alternatively, 70% of wireless customers surveyed by 7 said that they were frustrated when communications were impersonal and didn’t understand their needs. This means that a thorough understanding of every sector of your target audience is more important than ever.
1. Questions to Ask Yourself Before Determining Your Audience
Determining your audience is easier said than done. You might think that your business appeals to one particular sector of society but, in reality, you reach could go much further, even into areas you may not have even thought of.
Painting a thorough and clear picture of your entire target audience will take some time and analysis but, as a starting point, you can ask yourself the following questions:
What problems does my business solve?
Every business exists to solve a problem (or problems). Identifying what these problems are can be useful in determining who your target audience is. However, it’s not just enough for you to think an error exists; your potential customers also need to be aware that they have the problem. Perhaps consider checking Google to search for your particular business idea?
What kind of people are likely to be suffering from these problems?
Build a list of the kind of people your business could help. You can then paint a picture of who these individuals are. Are they male or female? Do they have high or low incomes? Where do they live? All this can help determine what will appeal to your audience.
What are my competitors doing?
Look at some of your biggest competitors’ marketing efforts to see what kind of people they are targeting. It’s likely that your target audience will be made up of similar people. However, don’t just copy their marketing approach; use this information to find ways you can separate yourself from your competition.
2. Building Demographics
Once you have a general idea of what constitutes your target audience, you can start to build more detailed demographics. As well as the age, gender and location of your target audience, it can be useful to know what interests they have. You can find this out by using tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights.
As well as showing the age and gender of your website visitors, Google Analytics can also show you what they are interested in around the web. This can help you paint a more detailed picture of your target audience, something which is vital when creating relevant marketing content. Information like this can also help you create unique and relevant marketing campaigns, as well as identifying cross-selling opportunities.
In a similar vein to Google Analytics, Facebook Insights can help you understand who is engaging with your Facebook fan page. Facebook Insights allows you to keep track of your target audience statistics, such as age, gender and location. You can also track the total number of interactions per post (page views, likes, un-likes, comments etc.). This can help you identify what kind of content appeals to your customers and what elicits the most engagement. You may also find that different types of content appeals to different sectors of your demographic.
3. Creating Quality Content
Identifying your target demographic is only the first step on your marketing journey. You must then create quality content that your audience will want to engage with (and that won’t end up in their spam folders).
First and foremost, quality content needs to resonate with the target audience you have identified. Use language and topics that they can identify with. Write about things that will give them value (be it educational, entertaining or useful), rather than just giving them the hard sell. Keep the content interesting by interspersing it with high quality images, videos, or infographics.
Creating custom content for your audience is all well and good, but it also has to reach their inbox. As well as thinking about your customers when creating content, focus on staying out of the spam folder. Avoid using too many spam trigger words (like discount, free, bonus etc) and keep things written in upper case to a minimum. Your spelling and grammar should also be impeccable; nothing singles you out as unprofessional more than mistakes in these areas.
An effective email campaign does not have to just include messaging. In a recent guide to creating content for email campaigns, email marketing provider Mailing Manager notes that surveys, coupons, video and other elements encourage customer interaction.
According to research by Aberdeen Group, 92% of marketers indicate that producing high-quality content is valuable or very valuable. This indicates a shift from the traditional ‘hard sell’. Customer want to feel respected and engaged with, and the content you create should reflect this.
With some simple analysis and the help of some useful tools, you can easily paint a detailed picture of your company’s target audience. By getting a thorough understanding of your audience; their demographic, interests, problems and needs; you will be more focused in your marketing strategies, creating content that your customers can really engage with.
Tracie Sherlock is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about technology and the Internet.