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How to Know Your Audience to Drive Your Marketing and SEO

Any digital marketing campaign needs to identify specific characteristics related to its target audience if it is going to perform effectively. Some characteristics that need to be defined include geographic, demographic, and psychographic ones. It’s a good idea to gain as much insight into your audience as possible to have a powerful digital marketing plan.

What actions can you take to ensure that you know your audience? Here is a guide to all the steps required to create a digital campaign that takes full advantage of targeted audience marketing.

1. Complete Market Research

Old-fashioned market research is one of the most important facets of marketing when learning about your target customers. When researching your audience, the goal is to gather as much information as possible about your target group so you can build fleshed-out buyer personas later on.

Here are five research methods you can use to gather data about your target audience:

Reaching Out to Other Departments

While you may not be used to working with colleagues outside of your department, market research will require you to take advantage of the information that professionals in other departments of your company can provide.

Here’s an example: your company’s sales team will be able to tell you what questions potential customers ask when considering your product or service offerings. The sales team will also understand prospective buyers’ interests and desires. Even small companies will have front-line workers who can help you understand your audience, as these employees work with customers and potential customers daily.

Gathering Data Using Tools

There are numerous tools to help you gather data to help you in your audience targeting. While these tools range in price, they all serve to assist you in finding everything from basic demographic data to specific habits and interests of your target customers. Two examples are:

  • YouGov: The free version of YouGov provides a sketch of your target persona pulled from a database of over 200,000 US consumers. To get targeted data, you must identify a brand, activity, book, movie, celebrity, etc., that aligns with your audience.
  • Demographics Pro: Demographics Pro analyzes Twitter and Instagram profiles to help you gain insight into your or your competitors’ followers to better understand your audience.

Performing Social Network Research

Social media is the best place to learn about your customers and target audience. Social listening is learning about what customers are saying about you, your competitors, and relevant topics online. You can also learn about trends in your audience’s problems and interests via social listening.

You can also learn what social networks your target audience is active on, what influencers are related to your customers’ favorite networks, and what content is most relevant and helpful for your marketing target audience.

Creating a Quantitative Survey

You will want to create a quantitative survey to gather valuable demographic information such as gender, age, and education level. This is especially useful if you want to survey a large population—your existing customer base, for example.

An online survey is the easiest method when you want to know your audience on a demographic level. The quantified data it provides will give you general statistical results about the chosen segment of your marketing audience. You will learn about general trends and commonalities rather than individual experiences. SurveyMonkey is an excellent tool that can help you create a survey.

Conducting Interviews

Like surveys, interviews are qualitative research methods. They look at your target audience’s thoughts, motivations, and opinions. You can learn about your audience on a personal level through interviews.

Interviews are time-consuming, so you will want a small research base—aim for no more than 10 to 20 interviews. Interviewing a few existing and prospective customers is a great strategy. Prepare questions in advance and make sure that they reveal the following valuable characteristics:

  • Interests
  • Motivations
  • Personality traits
  • Buying preferences

Make sure to keep your interview conversational—you should be doing more listening than talking. You also must ensure that you aren’t putting words in the respondent’s mouth; let the individual explain their thoughts as deeply as possible and ask permission to record the conversation so you can capture the exact words used in the interview.

Listening carefully to each interview will allow you to discover valuable details about your target customers that can boost your marketing efforts.

2. Build Buyer Personas

At this stage, you can use all of the information you gathered while researching your audience to begin building personas. Aberdeen Research states that marketers who use buyer personas achieve 73 percent higher conversions.

A buyer persona goes beyond a buyer profile; it is a representation of your ideal customer based on your research as well as data from your existing customer base. It helps to think of—and refer to—your buyer personas as real people rather than abstract ideals. This will help you find ways to engage in genuine conversations with current and prospective customers.

How can you build personas for your digital marketing strategy? Here are some tips.

Identify All Your Target Persona

If you identified more than one buyer persona during your audience research, don’t worry. This is a common occurrence. All of your personas ideally describe your different target customers. Tailoring your content marketing and SEO efforts will allow you to connect with each segment in a targeted way.

If you identified Millennials as one buyer persona, to give an example, you will want to make sure that your content strategy appeals to them. Understanding the words they use and the websites they prefer to visit can help you with your efforts.

Write a Description for Each Persona

You need to describe each buyer persona in detail. Include basic demographics, but make sure you also cover other important details:

  • Pain points
  • Goals
  • Interests
  • Concerns
  • Priorities
  • Personality traits

Including as much detail as possible will help you form a valuable persona description. You can even include real quotes from your interviews completed during the research stage to add depth. Naming archetypes or including stock pictures for your persona can also make each target buyer seem more real and help you understand them better.

HubSpot’s MakeMyPersona template can help you build your personas for free if you need help with this step.

Put Your Buyer Personas Into Action

Once you have created your personas, you must regularly refer to them while working on all facets of your digital marketing, from your SEO efforts to your social media strategy.

3. Identify Influencers of Your Target Audienc

Once your market research is complete and your personas are defined, you need to think about the influencers who can help your brand boost its visibility. Identify those individuals who have a direct influence on your target customers. These people have the power to impact your buyer’s purchasing decisions significantly.

While you may think of celebrities, industry analysts, or journalists when it comes to influencers, social media influencers are the ones you will want to think about where your audience is concerned. These influencers typically have a significant social following and actively engage with their audience.

As you might have guessed, social influencers vary by market. For example, young mothers might follow a popular mom blogger that you can reach out to. If you aren’t sure about which influencers impact your target audience, use tools such as Followerwonk or BuzzSumo to help you find out.

Here are some factors you will want to look for when defining influencers:

  • Engagement: Engaged influencers have a greater impact on their audience, which can benefit your brand more.
  • Worth: Many influencers expect monetary payment for their promotion efforts. Ensure you are getting your money’s worth before your agreement, and follow FTC requirements for sponsored posts.
  • Positive Opinion of Your Brand: A genuine influencer will be a more convincing advocate for your brand.

Reaching Out to Influencers

Once you have figured out which influencers fit your brand, it’s time to reach out. Taking time to know your chosen influencer is as important as taking time to know your target audience.

Once you know an individual’s thoughts and values, it will be easier to send tailored messages that will be more likely to elicit a positive response. Make sure to explain your objectives and brand values while connecting your brand to the influencer. Be prepared to talk about compensation, as well.

Conclusion

Here’s the bottom line: If you want to create a winning SEO or digital marketing plan, you have to apply marketing principles that have stood the test of time, most of which relate to the fact that marketing will always have a human audience. You have to know your audience for your marketing efforts to pay off.

If you need more help with audience research or another aspect of your company’s marketing strategy, the marketing team at Market MindShift can help. Call (480) 750-2252 or fill out our online contact form.

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