Understanding your audience – who they are, which platforms they use, how they behave when they are on your website, is the foundation to developing strategic, effective and impactful content which resonates with your ideal customer.
Your target market is a key component of your online and social media marketing strategy. We take a look at 3 strategies which can help define and research an audience, providing vital insights in order to maximise the impact of your content marketing strategy.
1 – Creating a buyer persona
A buyer persona, also known as a customer persona, is an ideal semi-fictional character which represents your model customer. As most businesses have more than one ideal customer across different demographics, this can be accommodated by creating a number of customer personas.
When creating your customer/buyer persona, the following characteristics should be considered:
- Name of your persona, the persons job tile and description of their role.
- Demographic details such as age, gender, location, education, relationship status, salary, languages.
- Buying insights: motivation for buying the product, decisions involved in buying process, obstacles or objections to buying the product
- Online behaviour: social media platforms used, blogs and podcast subscription or regular visits, websites used, how information is searched and sourced.
In this way, you have a deep understanding of your customer’s personality and online behaviour, making it easier to personalise your content and make it more meaningful for your customer.
When creating your different personas, it is a good idea to establish a template like HubSpot’s buyer persona template (https://offers.hubspot.com/persona-templates?_ga=2.2356144.123142089.1496577702-1803309672.1494194009) which helps you drill down into different characteristics as part of the process in creating your ideal customer.
2 – Research
Another way of getting to understand your target market can be achieved through actual research. Use surveys to directly research your current customers in order to refine your present strategy or innovate a new content strategy. Surveys can be created using free tools such as Survey Monkey (https://www.surveymonkey.com) or Google Forms (https://docs.google.com/forms/u/o).
The best way to make a survey is to place yourself in your customer’s shoes. Today’s norm means that people are on the go and pressurized for time. This means that surveys need to be quick and easy, using formats such as multiple choice and including an option block for “other” in order to provide your customer with the opportunity to answer more fully when using the multiple choice format.
Tip: If you are using a question format for your survey, then it is best to avoid yes/no questions type of questions. Rather use more open ended questions which can produce answers which provide further insight about your target market.
Do you like video content:
Whatever answer is given for the above question will not assist in improving your insights.
Rather ask a more open-ended question such as: What kind of content would you enjoy more of?
Other question examples which may be helpful to include are as follows:
- What resources/products do you need to deal effectively with challenges?
- What questions weren’t answered on the website?
- What were the deciding factors in your purchase or taking your action?
Surveys work well with your current first-time customers and need to be done as soon after the purchase experience as possible, whilst the experience is still fresh in the purchaser’s mind.
By accumulating survey feedback, you are able to build one or more personas based on the information from a real person.
3 – Google Analytics
Google Analytics (https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/) can be extremely useful in providing a detailed description of your visitor as well as providing information on how your audience is getting to your website. Information can be accessed by logging into Google Analytics in order to access Google Analytics Social Reports which detail your audience’s interaction with your website. To find the list of characteristics and the social reports, click on the left had column to expand or close the navigation panel.
These Google Analytics built-in reports have 4 sections which enable you to build personas based on the following information:
- Audience reports: these provide insight on your users age, gender, interests, location language
- Acquisition reports: these show how your visitor came to your website
- Behaviour Reports: these show the actions your audience takes in relation to your website. This can mean further engagement or leaving your website altogether.
- Conversion Reports: these reports show if you are achieving your goals or Return on Investment.
Best of all, if you get stuck, you can use the search bar at the top of this sidebar panel to search for reports or help articles (https://support.google.com/analytics) . #Google’s got you covered!
Answers to survey questions and insights from Google Analytics may be both positive and negative in terms of audience activity (and what is or isn’t working) in relation to your website goals (https://freedom.studio/how-to-establish-goals-for-a-website/) and business goals. This is a natural part of the process and why you are monitoring via Google Analytics in the first place: to see what’s working, what needs tweaking or discarding altogether.
In turn, these insights inform your online and social media strategy. This facilitates refining your content and tactics as you gain a deeper understanding of your audience, enabling the creation of tailor made content which resonates with your ideal customer and builds your business and your brand.
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