Understanding Your Audience

In marketing, customer experience, or user experience is one of the most important metrics to help you evaluate the success of your strategy. The whole marketplace is focused on the users and how to provide an experience that is most relevant and most user-friendly.

To have success with this approach, you need to focus on understanding your audience better and here are some ideas and strategies that will help you with that.

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Define your audience

The first step is defining your audience. At this point, you might or might not have the exact vision of your target audience. In fact, so many people aren’t even aware of their audience until they dive deep into statistics and until they start examining the data about the people interacting with their content.

Two steps to define your audience

Firstly, start with your own definition of the target group. Who is your audience? Who are the people who subscribe to your newsletter/follow you on social networks/buy from you, etc? Think about the people you manage to reach and what do they all have in common? Also, think about your expectations. Who do you expect to reach with your online marketing strategy?

The second step is to explore the statistics. Use website stats (or social media stats) to get to know the people who follow you and interact with you. Usually, the statistics report shows the audience divided based on several criteria (age, gender, location, etc.) helping you determine the percentages relevant for your audience analysis.

With both of these steps, your goal should be to define your audience, and hopefully, learn more about them. Some of the commonly used metrics for this purpose include:

  • Demographic factors (age, gender, religion, education, occupation…)
  • Location factors (city, region, state…)
  • Interests (People interested in travel, sport, lifestyle, education, media, shopping, art, family-focused, movie lovers, foodies…)

Obtaining all the data above isn’t always doable. For example, if you’re only starting out, you don’t have the statistics so you’ll skip the second step altogether. But it’s important to have in mind all these elements that help you define the audience because eventually, you will revise this strategy. Even if the data isn’t available at this moment, sooner or later, you’ll have these metrics within the statistics.

Understand the behavior

Now, the next part of the process of analyzing your audience is understanding their behavior. What this means is that you need to further analyze your audience and how they behave based on certain conditions.

One example could be the situation where you offer a free download. What kind of behavior does this download encourage? Do they subscribe, take the download and then unsubscribe? Or, do they eventually become your customers?

Another example could be a retention rate. If you have a type of product that is bought multiple times or a subscription type of service, understanding the retention rate can help you get ideas on what kind of customers you should try to reach in the future.

The idea with this approach is to try to figure out patterns of user behavior and how they affect future actions. This way you can discover activities and strategy that helps you boost your sales, grow your reach and in the end, improve your business to customer relationship.

Differences in your audience

Even when you define your audience, as closely as possible, there will still be so many differences between members of that group. In that sense, it’s helpful if you can understand the behavior and categorize your audience based on those.

Let’s take customers as an example. There are people who will buy from you once and never again. But, there are those who will become your recurring customers. Can you determine what each of these groups have in common? Is this maybe related to the type of product? Or maybe you get one-time customers only when you offer a discount?

Like with lead generation, where you have lead scoring, ranking your audience based on certain criteria can help you with:

  • Engaging those with a low score
  • Keeping those with a high score

Setting up your expectations

The bottom line is that understanding user behavior brings you one step closer to setting your expectations when it comes to your future campaigns and strategies.

You see, without any of the data about your audience, any expectations you might set would actually be only a wild guess. With no background knowledge and no facts, expectations won’t be realistic.

On the contrary, if you have a deeper understanding of the audience, and if you are able to figure out why people engage (or don’t engage) with you, there won’t be any guessing from your part. Instead, the expectations will be more precise and data-based. Almost like estimates.

The reason why this is important is because it helps you create more realistic plans. Since all the activities basically spring from that base, from your plan, you’re more likely to create a realistic plan and determine plausible goals. Hence, your overall business strategy will have better chances of success.

Provide an answer and a solution

Defining your audience’s concerns, needs, or problems, being able to anticipate what they need before they hit that search button helps you provide an answer and/or a solution almost instantly.

Just imagine.

Your potential customer suddenly has an urgent problem or concern and they use search engines to solve it. If you already have a solution, chances are that they will be able to find you. As soon as you fulfill this need or solve their problem, you will create trust and credibility.

Along the way, it’s important to encourage interest in what else you have to say, what else they could benefit from. It is at this point that you transition from the awareness phase to the interest phase in the sales funnel. The further you take your potential customers through this journey, the more successful you’ll be at actually converting potential customers to regular customers.

Therefore, rather than simply defining your audience and their behavior, take a moment to analyze how you can help them. What is a problem or a question they might be having that you can solve?

When thinking about this, always have your audience in mind. Focus on the needs of those people who could genuinely be interested in becoming your customers.

Benefits of understanding your audience

To determine why audience analysis is an important part of your business strategy, you need to know all the benefits of this approach and how this can help you become more organized and get better results with your marketing.

Here are the key benefits to have in mind:

Identification of best customers and opportunities

Knowing more about your audience helps you define your best customers. Like mentioned above, not all of the customers are the same, and your goal should be to determine those that are more likely to turn into recurring customers.

Also, this helps you with recognizing opportunities with more success. For example, you might get invited to a corporate event or a conference. When you think about your audience, you can easily understand if this event is an opportunity to grow or promote your business. Thus, it shows you if that is an activity worth your time. The same can be applied to many different aspects. For instance, Facebook advertising might get you good results and help you gain customers, but if those are low-quality customers who only stay until they have a discount, then this might not be the best strategy to obtain new customers in the long run.

Audience-centered approach

At first, there is a limited amount of information you can get about your audience. The more you go on with your strategy and being actually in a situation to interact with your audience, the more data you will have to spot opportunities more easily and to recognize behavioral patterns, common ideas, etc.

Another aspect to have in mind is user experience. In this article, you can find out more about why user experience is important and how this actually directly affects your SEO and online marketing: How UX affects SEO.

This now helps you define an audience-centered approach. What this means is that your approach in online marketing should be created by having your audience as a central point of the strategy. From this central point, you will develop campaign ideas, ad ideas, advertising strategies, lead generation strategies, etc.

When a campaign is based on your audience’s expectations, it’s more likely to be engaging, to create more interest and to eventually lead to a higher number of conversions.

Effective campaigns

Knowing your audience is the number one factor that will help you with running effective campaigns, especially when it comes to paid advertising. Since advertising platforms such as Google Ads (AdWords) and Facebook Ads, offer a lot of ways to customize your campaigns and target them based on your individual settings, you will have better chances at targeting campaigns successfully and thus maximizing the number of conversions.

A well-targeted campaign produces better results, makes your ad more relevant and better rated, which overall improves the results you will get from paid advertising. If most of the audience you reach is, in fact, people who are potentially interested in what you have to offer, you will end up with a high-performing campaign.

On the other hand, if you target a group of online users that is too wide, your results will be more moderate. Your ads won’t convert as effectively, and the overall campaign score will seem lower. Consequently, you’ll be paying more to run such a campaign. And all this can be improved with just one factor that is causing all the poor results – better target group.

Successful content strategy

A lot of aspects of online marketing can be improved when you put your audience under the spotlight, but content strategy is certainly one of the relevant strategies that should be based on your audience expectations.

The idea is that content is one of the main methods to reach and engage online users. You make the content available to online users through any of the publishing platforms, such as a blog or social media channels. As much as creativity and original thinking invested in content creation are important, one of the highest priorities should be for that content to be a piece of a big picture.

Have in mind that content helps you establish your relationship with the online users, create trust, build authority, but eventually, your goals will be getting more subscribers, promoting other businesses or selling your own products or services.

Now that you think of it this way, the content actually represents a step towards you achieving those goals.

That is why audience analysis should be one of the deciding factors when creating a content strategy.

Personalization

A sure way to personalize your content is by knowing your audience. This is particularly important for email marketing, but personalization is a concept you can apply when creating a sales page, when creating social media updates, etc.

When you know your audience, your message can be more direct and thus more effective. Rather than writing a general message for the entire world, start thinking about your audience. Imagine one or several of your subscribers were standing in front of you. What kind of message would you send? How would you create a message that feels like you’re reading their mind, mentioning their own thoughts and speaking to them like you’re writing for a single person?

Now transfer this kind of thinking into creating content and messages that radiate with personalization and confidence in your voice.

Conclusion

One thing that should be the central part of any online marketing strategy is your audience. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a new blog post, creating an ad campaign, or simply trying to design an effective landing page. Knowing your audience and using this as a starting point in the thinking process will make any of these activities more organized and better targeted.