How well do you know your audience? You’ve likely defined a target audience that best aligns with your business strategy (if you haven’t, check out our previous blog, “3 Steps to Defining and Finding your Target Audience”), but are you keeping up with their changes in tastes and behaviors? It’s essential to keep a two-way communication line open between your business and your audience so that you’re learning and adapting to new wants and needs they may have. Read on for five tactics to get to know your audience better.
1. Get to know your audience better by asking them
One of the easiest ways to get to know your audience better is simply to ask them. Surveying your audience provides the opportunity to ask open-ended, yes-no, or multiple-choice questions that help you better define their unfulfilled wants and needs. Here are a few simple and, in most cases, free suggestions to survey your audience:
Social media offers fast, easy, and free options to get to know your audience better. You can set up a poll through a Facebook post or an Instagram story, or simply post a question to your channels and ask for feedback in the comments. The responses can be lacking if you don’t have a very active or engaged audience, so don’t be afraid to reach out to Facebook groups whose membership align with your target audience.
Email is another way to get your questions directly to your audience. Platforms like Survey Monkey, MailChimp, and Constant Contact have free and paid options to send a survey directly to your contacts, depending on your needs or goals. These platforms offer robust survey options that include varying question formats such as multiple-choice, checkboxes, open-answer, order rankings, and numeric scales that gather the information most important to you. This tool can be very successful if you have many active and engaged email contacts. It’s also advised that you segment your audience (existing clients, prospects, etc.) to determine the opinions of specific audiences versus the overall group, if possible.
In addition to the digital tools mentioned, you always have the opportunity to ask your audience questions directly (in-person, by phone, or virtually). You can have direct conversations informally by simply chatting with customers or in a more formal setting such as a focus group. Just make sure if you have more than one person asking the questions, that they ask the same questions, for a real apples-to-apples comparison/data gathering. Hearing what customers have to say in their own words can provide invaluable information and context that isn’t clear through text or analytics.
2. Use listening tools
Another way to get clued in on what your audience thinks of your business is to set up listening tools. Using listening tools such as Google Alerts, Brand Watch, and Falcon.io is a way to monitor brand mentions, relevant keywords, competitors, etc. By setting up listening tools around various topics and keywords, you can track what consumers and prospects have to say about your brand, products, competitors, or the industry as a whole. Listening tools can be very specific or broader depending on what information you are trying to gather.
By paying attention to what consumers and prospects are saying about your brand and competitors, you can identify unfulfilled needs, common complaints, and areas for improvement. Listening tools help you get to know your audience better by identifying the keywords and phrases they use most often with your tracked topics.
3. Implement A/B testing to improve your ROI
Using A/B testing is an indirect way to get to know your audience better. Rather than directly asking them or actively monitoring their conversations, you can measure different tactics against each other to refine your marketing strategies. Or you can do both! Various tests will help you identify what your audience is engaging with and what type of content resonates best, with the ultimate goal being to align your efforts with their needs better.
A/B testing can be done through organic and paid social media efforts, email distributions, and internet marketing. UTM codes, vanity URLs, promo codes, etc., are tools to help measure the results of these tests. A/B testing is essential to continually improve your marketing efforts and achieve the best return on investment.
4. Get to know your audience better by creating them
Ok, so you can’t create your consumers; however, you can better define them by creating a customer persona. Creating a customer persona identifies your most qualified consumer based on shared interests and attributes among your core audience. These include hobbies, consumption behaviors, lifestyle, etc.
Learn how to define a customer persona by visiting this recent blog. Once you’ve identified your brand’s customer persona, you’re able to build a better framework for your marketing strategy and content.
Gathering the information to create a customer persona can take a bit of research. Apply strategies mentioned above, such as surveying customers or implementing listening tools to identify common themes and trends across your audience.
5. Use measurement tools to get to know your audience better
We cannot stress enough the importance of measurement. Testing, measurement, and refinement are fundamental components that make PTE different from other agencies and crucial elements to marketing success. By measuring all marketing efforts, both traditional and digital, you’re able to discover your audience’s user journey to help inform your marketing decisions and guide your content strategy.
Digital marketing efforts tend to be the easiest to track thanks to tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook’s marketing platform. These dashboards allow you to customize the data you’re viewing from high-level analytics to granular-detailed performance metrics. The amount of information can be overwhelming, but the question remains the same – if you lead the horse to water, did it drink? Did they take the action you wanted when they were on your site (sign up for a newsletter, request an appointment, complete a contact form). Tracking the user journey beyond the initial website entry is what matters and can help you determine what information and pages your audience finds most valuable.
While traditional media can be harder to track, implementing tools such as UTM codes, vanity URLs, and tracking phone numbers can help you determine if your audience is taking action based on these items. It’s also vital to track website activity and conversions (form completions/actions as mentioned before) during and after a traditional push for unusual increases that non-digital campaigns may push.
Don’t know where to begin? We can help! The PTE team has 15+ years of experience in getting to know our clients’ audiences and communicating with them in a way that matters. We conduct research and develop well-rounded strategies that produce actual results. Contact us today for help with getting to know your audience better.