Your target audience is comprised of the people who could benefit most from the products or services you sell. Because of that, it’s important to understand exactly who they are and what they look for in your business. Without a clear understanding of your target audience, your marketing campaigns and selling efforts might not be as effective as they could be. But in order to perform a thorough analysis of your audience, it’s good to know how to research them and why it’s important to do so.
Researching your target audience can help you learn more about them and their needs. It also provides you with an abundance of information that can lead to even more benefits, including:
Here is a list of steps to help you research your target audience:
Personas are fictional representations of your target audience, including their stakeholders, sources of information, challenges, and motivations for making a purchase. Creating personas can help you better understand your audience by doing a deep dive into their pain points or problems and linking them to the benefits or solutions that your products provide. Essentially, when businesses build a persona, they start by thinking about why a potential customer might be interested in the products or services they sell and what influences their decision-making process. From there, they think about what journey the customer might have taken to find their business.
Building personas is often one of the best places to start your audience research because you can first build them using logic and a basic understanding of what your products or services have to offer. But from there, it’s important to back up your brainstorming and ideas with data that can support the claims you make about your prospects and uncover opportunities.
For example, let’s say you manufacture construction and agricultural equipment and develop personas based on your target consumer. Comparing these personas to customers in your CRM and anticipating their buyer’s journey for equipment, parts, and service, based on purchase and service history, will lead to insights and revenue.
Hiring third-party data companies is a great way to receive a thorough analysis of your target audience. But you can also conduct part of that analysis yourself using data tools and products. For example, Google Analytics is a free tool that provides you with key audience insights, including their demographics, preferred devices they use to browse your website, and which of your content they liked over others. If you work in industries like trucking, manufacturing, or construction, you can also use data products like EDA and RigDig BI to learn more about your target customers. That includes things like what brands they prefer and what time of the year they tend to make purchases.
All of this information can help you market your products and services more effectively by creating targeted and more relevant advertising and content. For example, let’s say you discover that your target audience or consumer prefers one brand over another. Knowing that, you can focus your efforts on selling and marketing the products of that brand or the maintenance services you offer for the products of that brand.
Using expert data products and audience personas, you can shape and conduct effective interviews and surveys that can help you learn more about your audience by getting direct answers about who they are and what they want from the products and services you offer. It can also help you receive feedback or critiques to make your business even more attractive to your target audience.
Surveys are also a great way to develop testimonials for your company. If they rate your overall business as an eight or higher on a ten point scale, ask them why. Their answer might give you a great review to showcase to other members of your audience and show them that your business knows how to handle their pain points and deliver a high level of customer satisfaction. If you’re looking to get started with your own interviews and surveys, there are a few free tools online you can use, including SurveyPlanet and SurveyMonkey.
When you research your competitors and how they market their own business to a similar audience, you can discover which marketing materials and content is most effective toward that audience. This can help you see which marketing channels might work best for your own campaign and help you find gaps in your marketing strategy.
For example, let’s say a lot of your competitors use social media to build interest and engagement. If you’re not doing so already, it’s probably a good idea for your business to focus its efforts there too. That way you can engage with your competitor’s audiences and improve your share of voice for your own social media profile and company.
Social listening is the act of searching for mentions of your business, your competitor’s business, and certain keywords on social media platforms. This technique allows you to learn more about your target audience and stay up to date on what they say about your business or the products and services you offer. Most social media platforms allow you to search public posts that include certain keywords or phrases, including your company name or industry terms and topics.
Some of the posts that people write might be praises about yours or your competitor’s company, or they might be critiques on how you or a competitor failed to meet their expectations. Learning this information can help you understand more about what your audience expects from companies such as yours. It can also help you stay proactive in communicating with them. That might include responding to what they say about you or developing marketing materials that target keywords your audience frequently uses when talking about your company or its goods and services.
For example, let’s say your company sells long-haul trucks and you conduct social listening to see what people are saying about them. You might find that a lot of people are currently writing social media posts on “electric trucks” and their “complications” or “energy usage”. You can use those keywords in your content to target your audience’s pain points and interests more strategically and attract them to your brand when they search for those keywords.
Believe it or not, your target audience might change over time. That might include small changes, like what topics they prefer to read about, or large changes, like which content or marketing channels they prefer altogether. That’s why it’s important to constantly monitor your audience and research them to ensure your marketing efforts are as effective as possible.
As you progress in your marketing campaigns, continue to analyze the behavior of your audience and revise your understanding of them. This can help everyone on your marketing team develop more relevant marketing materials that attract and engage with your target audience more effectively.
Once you know more about your target audience, it’s time to start putting that knowledge to good use in your sales and marketing campaign. Want to know the best way to start using your data and research effectively? Randall Reilly currently offers programmatic marketing solutions that start by building a custom audience list using our proprietary data and analysis of your audience’s buyer behaviors. From there, our programmatic campaigns that target your audience wherever they consume content.
Contact us today to learn more about how our data and industry experts can help you build an effective marketing campaign.