It is nigh on impossible to market a product or service to someone if you don’t know who that person is. If you ask any marketer they will tell you that the first step to a successful marketing campaign is to understand who your target audience is and what works with them. Depending on a number of factors, such as age, gender, location, education, you will tailor your campaign both in what you say and how you say it.
Although your work online may be only a part of your overall business, the internet is becoming used increasingly across the whole spectrum of society. No longer is it just the play-thing of geeky 20-somethings. Now people of all ages, ethnicities and levels of education are using the internet to conduct their lives. And the best thing for you as a marketer is that we can gain useful information about our potential customers through the internet.
There are three main questions that a marketer needs to try to answer about their target audience, and by bearing these in mind you can then start to understand them better.
Probably the most important is this. You need to understand their demographics – their gender, age, location, marital status etc. This will give you a deep understanding into how to approach them, where to market, what tone to use, what visuals to use, content ideas, the list is endless. It might be that your target audience isn’t just one demographic group and that it spans across various.
You can get this kind of information through tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook, but you can also get this by talking to your customers – either ‘formally’ through surveys and questionnaires or ‘informally’ through chatting with them. This will also tell you a lot about how they like to interact with other people and businesses alike.
Where Do They Like To Hang Out?
If you are intending on putting out content using social media it is vital that you know where they hang out online. There is no point in working on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram if most of your clients use LinkedIn. You can spend hours preparing the best written content in the world but if it doesn’t reach your target audience, it’s useless.
It’s also worth looking into whether they watch a lot of TV or listen more to the radio, read newspapers or glossy magazines etc.
If you are a bit stuck on where to start, try Facebook, as it has the largest and most diverse user-base. As you get to know your customers better you can then turn to other social media.
Find Out Their Interests And Concerns
By understanding other aspects of the lives of your customers you can flesh out your target audience profile, gain new ideas for content and by showing empathy and understanding of other issues in their lives, build a stronger and longer lasting relationship.
To an extent you can work out what other interests and concern your customer base might have. If they are mainly teenage boys, it may be video games, sports, girls, or music, whereas an audience comprising of retirees may be interested in gardening, cruises or looking after the family in the future.
If you are going to do anything before embarking on a marketing campaign it is this – understand your target audience. By having a deep understanding of your target audience you can begin to work out how to appeal to them and sell your product.
Head of Marketing
The Internet Marketing Academy
(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)