If you want more customers, you’ll need to find them and offer the messages that they want to receive. Here’s how to do that even if you’re starting out.
Content marketing offers hurdles that frustrate small business owners starting out in online promotions. They struggle with trying to figure out what to produce in the way of content. The bigger issue is trying to figure out who their ideal audience is. To do that, they need to construct a profile of their ideal audience.
I often grind their gears by telling them that nothing should happen until they take the steps to find their core audience. That means learning about their demographic and their geographic locations.
Next comes the creation of the persona; the mythical character that represents their best customer. Define your audience persona. Make the avatar unique; with depth and personality. Detail their behaviors, goals, and challenges.
Why are Target Markets Important?
My college marketing courses back in the good old days always put this step as the number one priority. The definition of target market was thus; “A target market can be defined as a specific group of consumers or businesses at whom you focus your marketing efforts.” Here’s how experts handle this issue.
Knowing your target market is critical when launching a new business or offering new products and services. Having a clear grasp of your target audience helps to create better products. You will also write better advertising and promotional copy. This leads to better sales conversion.
For example, for a ski shop, the local consumer may be a recurring source of business, but the online market may offer a greater profit margin as drop ship orders.
Local skiers who buy from the physical store can make up a small segment of the market while the company services a global clientele. The physical location may be near Aspen, Colorado, while customers are as far away as Germany or Switzerland.
Being able to build a reputation among your core constituents is a prime directive for successful small businesses building their brand online. This is also important for offline marketing as well. If your business covers a 35-mile radius, being able to target the right prospects within your local area keeps you profitable.
Another reason to create a marketing avatar is to determine who needs what you offer and why they want it ahead of the competition. You do have competition in your industry. They are going after the same (or similar) audience. The audience share of some competitors may be greater than yours.
How Do I Find My Target Audience?
I’m not above fighting dirty to help my clients. When I wanted to know how to reach a particular market, I looked at their competition. Ad intelligence software is a great place to start the ball rolling these days. Find the biggest fish in your ocean and look at their followers.
Here are some tools to dig into the demographics of competitors’ followers. Look for tools that can analyze data from advertising campaigns. Use these tools to explore social media performance. You can now gather data about your competitors using the same tools that track your own web performance.
- Google Alerts
- Social Blade
- Google Keyword Planner
- Monitor Backlinks
- Competitor Analysis from WooRank
- What Runs Where
- Link Explorer
- Sprout Social
- Majestic SEO
- The Search Monitor
- Link Prospector
Tools like Ubersuggest and Ahrefs can help to check your market to find new competitors, as well as keywords that match your demographic. Facebook Business can help you dig deep into your target audience profiles.
Track competitor advertising to find your audience. I recommend espionage tactics, whether you’re new or have been in business for decades. Get a list of keywords your competitors are targeting for AdWords, Bing, Facebook and Instagram ads. Conduct research on the audience based on keywords and cross-reference them with Facebook demographic data.
Spy Networks, Competition and Your Audience Persona
Social media has made the art of competition analysis for lead generation so much easier. One of my favorite ways to tie this all together is with three pieces of software. AnswerThePublic, BuzzSumo and SproutSocial can help you pinpoint your target audience with laser precision.
BuzzSumo helps you find the viral nature of online content. Find out which types of content are most popular for a specific keyword. Check out which of your competitors’ posts has been shared the most by influencers in your niche. Craft content for specific audiences by knowing what they want.
Sprout Social allows you to manage your Social Media while uncovering pockets of your target audience on the Web. You’ll gain insights into what your audience wants and what they are looking for in engagement. You’ll be able to find the major influencers for your market and be able to connect with the right prospects on the top social media platforms.
AnswerThePublic.com captures data from search engines like Google and then generates all the phrases and questions people are asking. Take the keywords that have been collected from your research to gain more insights into audience profiles. Now you have a list of their major concerns.
OK, what do you do with all this data? How do we go from spreadsheets of keywords, ad comparisons, traffic stats and social media follows? Hold onto something; you’re about to build your audience persona.
It’s easier to create campaigns and visual assets that appeal to each of your target groups. Here’s what Hubspot has to say about the power of personas.
“Personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among our real and potential customers, they help you understand your customers better.”
It’s important to build detailed personas. The success of marketing, advertising, and design efforts depend on buyer personas. Make sure all marketing materials are tailored to your target personas. Knowing what their interests and desires are will help you get through with less cost. It’s time to compile a list of traits of one key persona.
Here are the areas you’ll need to fill in to create the profile:
- Job Description:
- More detailed Demographic Information:
- An example of how they spend their day:
- Basic Goals:
- Major Challenges:
- Channels of Online Engagement:
- Offline Engagement:
- Key Obstacles related to your product or service:
- Their idea of the perfect solution:
- Common objections:
- Key Marketing Message:
This is the basic template for creating the personas that would make the perfect customers or clients for your business. Now consider there’s going to be a difference between the exercise and reality.
You’re building a guide. The term “target audience” refers to a specific consumer with characteristics favorable to buying a product. Target personas are based on research about specific target customers.
Don’t stop at one persona. Even if your current target demographic consists of women, 35 to 55 who go skiing 30 times a year, let the data lead the way. I’ve been surprised more than once by the results of market research. Collect the most important characteristics that your target market shares.
You can also choose more than one target audience. That’s the end goal of creating your dream customer profile. You could choose to target the customers you already have while looking for your ideal long-term customers.
If you’ve been in business for a while, connect with your current customers and get their feedback. Use questionnaires and surveys to find more information. Compare it to the data you’ve gathered. Next, test your message to see if you can reach a particular market segment.
Pay attention to what your target audience is going through. Some questions to ask yourself:
- How can I solve the biggest problem facing my audience?
- Could you please tell me how I can help them?
- How do they spend their days?
- Can I help with any other related problems?
- Are they worried about anything in particular?
Work to understand what your audience is experiencing and their unique situation. You will create effective marketing campaigns that convert once you do. Now that you know how to build an audience persona and dig into competitive analysis, take action on this information.
Knowing who your target audience is and how they think puts you way ahead of the pack. Sites like Inc.com, hubspot.com, and contentmarketinginstitute.com offer further resources.
For more information on content marketing and competitive analysis, connect with me at https://contentmarketingmagic.co/blog