Maybe this has happened to you. Imagine you’re having a lengthy chat on the phone. Maybe it’s with a loved one or maybe you’re trying to sort out important details for a project. You’re chatting away, giving a long, well-thought out response to whatever conversation you’re having. You’ve gone on for a few minutes before you realize that your reception cut out five minutes ago and you’ve just been talking to air – whoops. Now you have to call back and start all over again.
This is what it’s like trying to do marketing without targeting an audience. You might have a lot of good things to say, but it’s going to be completely pointless if you don’t have anyone to hear it. Before you start the conversation, you need to know who you want to be talking to. The more granular the better. When you have a defined audience, you’ll better be able to address their wants and needs, rather than having them glaze over your tweets and emails. So, how do you find these elusive people who want to hear what you have to offer? Here are a few ways you can narrow it down.
Start With What You Know and What You Want
This is your business. You started it for a reason. Maybe it’s a passion or maybe it’s a need you saw that needed to be filled; hopefully it’s both! You first need to think about who your products or services will appeal to. In this first step, you’re primarily using your intuition and first hand experience. If you’re opening a daycare and you notice that most of the people who use similar services are often new parents in their late 20s, use that as a starting point. These high-level, big ideas of who you audience probably is will help facilitate the conversation.
But it’s not always about who your audience is, but who you want your audience to be. Maybe you’re a tech company that keeps getting work small mom-and-pop shops, but you really need to land a large enterprise company to keep the lights. That’s important too and will steer the tone you use. It allows you to reassess your current branding and marketing tactics and think if they’re appealing to the wrong group of people. Once you know who you want to go after, you can start building a persona and researching the type of people at those companies who are the decision-makers when it comes to outsourcing their tech. You could build a whole campaign going after CIOs or marketing managers within certain industries. In every other step of this process, you’ll want to keep your ideal, goal audience in mind and question if your tactics are going back to that core mission.
Maybe you already have a built-in audience, but you’re not sure exactly what the breakdown of their demographics looks like. If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, there’s a wealth of information to be found. You can get everything from gender, age, interests, etc. for free in your analytics. If you’re especially savvy, you can even see how users are interacting with your content. You can follow their journey across your website, from time spent on certain pages, what page they went to next, and even if they’re a new or returning visitor. This type of data shows you what’s most appealing to your audience, guiding you to what you’ll want to put an emphasis on in your marketing.
Most social media platforms provide you with this type of core information as well in the form of handy dashboards. These are especially great because you can see breakdowns of engagements (likes, comments, shares, etc.) on your posts over a certain period of time. Seeing the breakdown of ages, gender, location, and professions also can tell you if you’re hitting the mark you want to or not. If you want to be targeting young, female marketers in the Seattle area but you’re analytics tell you that you’re biggest demographic is older, male accountants in Switzerland… something is definitely amiss.
When In Doubt, Just Ask
If you’re still having trouble figuring out who your audience is and what their needs are, there’s an even simpler solution: just ask. This could be in the form of one-on-one conversations or it could be a survey or a dedicated outreach campaign. The point is, it’s better to hear it directly from someone than to have to infer it. What if your business is just starting out and you don’t have an audience you can ask questions to? Go out and find some people who you think would be in interested in your product and services, then ask them what type of content would appeal to them. It can be nerve wracking and awkward to approach someone like this, but a few minutes of feeling weird is worth it for information that will make your business flourish.
Engaging Helps You Learn
When in doubt, engage. Social media and even your blog can be a great way to engage with your current audience. Pose questions that will incite conversation and take notes on the types of responses you get. Social media especially can be great for this. There may be tweet chats already running in your industry that you can jump into, allowing you to expand your reach even further.
Defining your audience is hard, necessary work. When you’re trying to focus on keeping your projects going, going through these steps can feel like a time-suck. That’s when you know that maybe it’s time to bring in some help. N2Q’s full-service marketing team can help you expand your business’ profile and start narrowing down your efforts to only the core demographics you want to reach. Whether it’s with PPC, SEO, or social media; we’ll connect you with your audience. Ready to chat? Give us a call today.
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