Your audience is the most significant factor in determining the success of your inbound marketing campaign. If you understand your audience well and give them what they want, they’ll become more loyal and will be more likely to engage with your brand through sharing and purchasing. If you fail to understand the needs, wants, and behaviors of your audience, your campaign will become stagnant.
Before you start making changes to cater to your audience’s whims, it stands to reason that you first must understand your audience. It’s not enough to make guesses about your audience’s desires and mentalities—you have to empirically research that information and make measurable, real conclusions accordingly.
Going through the steps might seem intimidating at first, especially if you’ve never done it before. But there are actually seven relatively simple ways you can work to better understand your audience:
It’s nearly impossible to look through the social profiles of every one of your followers, but social profiles contain ample information about the types of people who choose to follow your brand. Instead, take a random sample of users from various platforms—let’s say 15 each from Facebook, Twitter, and any other social medium you use. Take a close look at those individuals’ profiles. Who are they? What are they interested in? What types of content do they like to share? Figuring out the answers to these questions can help you truly understand the face of your audience.
This is one of the more obvious strategies you can use to get to know your audience, but it’s also one of the most effective. Take a close, critical look at the types of comments you receive based on your content in social circulation. Which types of posts tend to attract the most comments? Which ones elicit the most insightful conversations? Which ones facilitate the greatest number of shares? As an immediate action, you can start posting more content in these areas, but in the long term, you can use this information to better understand your audience’s core needs.
If you’re interested in what someone is thinking, why not ask them directly? User surveys are perfect for this. You can implement these on your website, on your social media profiles, or if you’re really ambitious, you can set up a separate survey site and use an email blast to attract people to fill it out. The type of questions you ask depend on your goals. Are you looking to improve web experience? If so, work on questions that revolve around the functionality of your website. Are you looking to improve your content marketing efforts? If so, ask your users’ thoughts on your current rounds of publication.
Odds are, there’s someone out there who is already doing a great job of appealing to your target audience. If you can figure out what that person or company is doing, you can gain insights to fuel your own campaign. Obviously, you do not want to copy their content or tactics directly, but you can figure out what qualities make their efforts so appealing. Start by taking a look at the major competitors in your area and see what kind of social following they’ve achieved. Then, do some searches for industry-related terms and find individuals who have become known for their expertise. What strategies do they use? What do their followers respond to the most?
Google Analytics is useful for more than just seeing how many people have visited your site. You can also use it to see what types of people visit your site. Head to the “Audience” section and take a look at some of the demographic-related tools available to you. Here, you can see the typical age, gender, and geographic location of your site visitors, as well as what types of devices are being used to access your site. This information is vital in understanding your average customer.
Keyword research is ordinarily reserved for fueling SEO campaigns, but it can also be useful in helping you understand the needs and motivations of your customers. Take a look at what keywords tend to bring the most traffic to your site, as well as high-traffic keywords related to your industry. This should help to illustrate what topics and matters are most important to your current audience, as well as some popular information that you may not yet be covering.
Finally, spend some time on sites that are popular within your community. In most cases, that means browsing through industry forums or neighborhood boards to see what problems your target audience is facing on a regular basis. Take note of the threads and posts that have been getting the most attention, and consider addressing those topics on your own site and social media profile. You can even get involved directly by commenting wherever you have a solution for a problem.
Remember, better understanding your audience is only the first step. Once you have information on your audience’s needs, you can start customizing your strategy to meet those needs. Your audience is going to evolve over time, so be sure that your strategies start evolving alongside them. Eventually, you’ll reach a perfect balance and you’ll start earning conversions in no time.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.