An essential part of every marketing strategy is being able to segment your audience. This allows you to target your efforts more finely. Different people are going to be interested in your products while others only want the services you offer. Such a market needs to segment and target each sector targeted individually.
Having enough knowledge about your target audience helps to drive your marketing strategy in the right direction. Aspects of your campaign, such as the pricing, positioning, promotion methods, and your actual product, all depend on what composes your target audience. But like many things to do with marketing, creating an audience targeting strategy is easier said than done.
Knowing your target audience isn’t necessarily a straightforward process. It may take a few weeks’ worth of research and observation, but it will all be worth it in the end. So, what’s the right way to promote your brand online?
Understanding Your Target Audience
Narrowing down your target audience is going to involve a lot of intensive research, depending on the amount of information you already have. Three factors to keep in mind when locating your target audience are your customers, your product and the competition.
Your product: An essential question every business should ask themselves before marketing even begins is ‘what problems does your product solve?’ This is part of your value proposition. If you’ve been in business for a while, you probably already have a good idea of what your value proposition is.
Upcoming businesses should be able to define their value proposition because it acts as a guide towards where you want to go. If you don’t understand the problem you’re trying to solve, your marketing efforts are unlikely to be successful.
Your customers: Do you know who your current customers are? Why do they visit your store/use your product and not others? This is another crucial component of your value proposition.
Depending on how complex the data you have is, you might have to break the visitors into different categories based on metrics like location, budget or needs. It’s a step you should consider if there is likely to be a correlation between conversions and the type of data.
Your competition: Your immediate competitors are usually easy to identify. Making a quick search on social media networks like Facebook will often reveal businesses that you weren’t even aware we’re in the same space as you. These are important to remember because they can play a huge role in defining your marketing campaigns.
Creating an Audience-Targeting Strategy
Step 1: Use the Information You Already Have
To get started, use the data you’ve collected before. Information like the customer’s age, employment status, and income are good enough to start with. Unless this information is relevant to your brand, they should just be used as placeholders.
If possible, visualize the data to gather insights from them. Often, it’s impossible to tell the relationship between different metrics by just looking at the numbers.
At other times, it’s also easy to misattribute correlations between different kinds of data. Seeing the data in charts helps you to identify correlations, but it’s all up to you to study the data and find actionable insights from them.
You might also want to compile data about your current customers to create models on who they are. Done right, you can tell how much money they are willing to spend, how much time they spend online, what hobbies they have and how that data affects your business.
Step 2: Field Research
After you’ve exhausted all the data you have available to work with, you should go out into the field and collect data on your competitors, customers, and your product. The data collected should help you to fill in any blanks created by your previous lack of adequate information.
Research your customers
If you don’t have data compiled on your current consumers, go out and observe your current customer base. It’s time to start building your value proposition or adjust it depending on the market’s response.
You might be surprised about the kinds of reasons people shop from your business or buy your product rather than others. Look for common characteristics, interests, and themes. This is referred to as first hand/primary research.
Primary research can be conducted in several ways:
Interviews: This is the most direct way of getting information out of your customers. Ask them basic questions about themselves and about how they interact with your product. If done right, it’s a chance to create loyal customers and improve your product offering.
Surveys: These may be difficult to carry out in real life, but if you have a website, platforms like Google Docs and Typeform are great user-friendly options to collect data from your website. To encourage people to participate in surveys, offer freebies like whitepaper or coupon.
Questionnaires work pretty much the same way as surveys but tend to be longer and more detailed. Rather than setting up your own from scratch, use established online services. These normally include a few ‘bait’ questions that disqualify anyone that seemed to be blindly filling out the form. They don’t add any value to your campaign.
Researching the Competition
Few companies in the world can exist without facing any kind of competition. To further define your target audience, you need to be up-to-date with how your competitors operate, who they target and even how much they are spending.
A great place to start is social media. Companies increasingly rely on social media to increase their reach and build communities around their customers. By tapping into these outlets, it’s possible to pick up some interesting information about your competitors.
Monitor their Twitter mentions and Facebook feeds to know about customers’ general sentiments about your competitors. The same goes for keeping an eye out on review sites like Yelp to find out what they do right and which areas they fall short.
The first thing anyone is likely to do when researching a competitor is to search for information on Google. It’s a good thought, but Google can only grant you so much insight. Take a step further and use tools like ‘SpyFu’ and Google Trends. These provide information like what kinds of ads they are buying and what keywords are getting the hits.
For some kind of information, you might have to do the research yourself. A lot of businesses outsource their work to third-party companies like EssayShark, which should incidentally answer the old ‘is EssayShark legit’ question, and freelancers.
Finally, Facebook also provides a decent amount of information that can be used to track your competitors. Facebook Insights has a transparency feature that lets you add pages to a watchlist. At the end of every week, you will be provided with data like which posts got the most views, the most shares, and the most likes.
Step 3: Understand the Importance of Analytics
When starting your business, you likely won’t pay a lot of attention to data or analytics. It’s understandable because businesses that are just starting don’t have a lot of data to work in the first place.
Once you’ve done enough SEO and social media promotion, you need to start evaluating how effective the methods you’ve taken are. If they have not borne fruit, adjustments have to be made. Don’t drown money in a venture without measurable results.
Besides, different kinds of content resonate with different markets. Maybe your market prefers long-form content over short content, maybe vice versa. This brings to light the importance of carrying out A/B tests. This simply involves serving different versions of your site or ads to random visitors and studying how they respond to the changes.
If you have a website, understanding all the metrics Google Analytics provides is a great place to start. It’s free and quite detailed. Once that’s done, it’s time to expand your analytics to more marketing channels. Everything should be guided by data. Add tracking pixels to your emails to track open rates, start backlinking campaigns and carefully monitor everywhere you distribute your content.
Step 4: Stay Up to Date and Iterate
The tech sector is one of the most dynamic fields in the world. Every marketer needs to stay on top of trends to make sure they don’t get left behind. At one point, blogging was the most engaging form of content, but that was quickly outpaced by the popularity of video-first platforms like Snapchat and YouTube. Today, video is the most dominant form of media, but that’s not guaranteed to remain either.
Also, markets aren’t stationary, either. People’s interests change so there’s no guarantee they are going to remain in love with your product or business. It’s important to continually carry out tests, interview your customers and collect as much data as you need to keep your business profitable.
Defining a target audience can be a lot of work, but considering all the benefits it brings, it’s one of the most important decisions you can make for your business. It helps to make your marketing efforts simpler to conduct and bolter their effectiveness, increases your reach and has the potential to create brand loyalty.
So, while it’s easier to try and appeal to everyone with your product, that’s rarely ever going to be the case. Before you can expand your market that much, you need to cast your net over a smaller area. Even more importantly, once that target audience is defined, you should do some research on what works and once you find it, double down on it till it doesn’t work anymore. Finally, it’s not always obvious what the market wants. The worst thing you could do is attempt to make decisions without any data to back it up.