If you’re a savvy digital marketer, you know that knowing your audience is the key to successful and powerful marketing efforts. Yet you might feel stuck not knowing how to pull in more data that will help you learn who they are.

With audiences now multichannel and in the social media stratosphere, where does an online marketer start?

Let’s look at a step-by-step approach for getting to know your audience.

  • The search engine optimization loop is:
  • Keyword research.
  • Conversion.
  • User experience.

How do these words connect together?

They underline the techniques behind the most successful digital marketing techniques. The catalyst to attracting, engaging, and converting your audience lies in understanding your audience and how they “think,” what they “like,” and what it is that they want to receive from you.

If you’re looking to create a successful digital marketing campaign, then figuring out who your audience is is a critical first step in the process.

Investing time and effort into learning more about your audience will make your digital marketing efforts more powerful.

Without understanding your audience you can’t make a digital marketing plan that will capture the attention of your potential customers with relevant and timely content, or drive them to take any action.

It is not enough to know your prospective prospects’ demographics and their locations. You need to know everything about them, including:

  • Personality traits.
  • Values.
  • Opinions.
  • Interests.

Knowing these things will help you:

  • Determine what topics and keywords need to be targeted.
  • Optimize your pages for greater conversions.
  • Build an outstanding user experience.
  • Write content that’s optimized.
  • Ensure your message is relevant and persuasive so that your readers take action.
  • Determine key influencers in the market.

Using the steps below, you can learn more about your audience and craft a great digital marketing campaign.

Step 1: Research the Market

To become successful at digital marketing, you need to know the market.  You’ve got to research the market, find out why your products or services are different from your competitors and how they can answer their needs, determine what features you must have to stand out from the crowd.

Research the market, research your audience, and research marketing techniques. Taking the time to thoroughly research your potential customers and competitors is vital to continued success in an online business. Spending time doing proper SEO and PPC analysis will help you grow a business from the ground up.

The following five ways can be used to gather this information.

Get in touch with other departments

If you are working independently, you might be losing out on capturing great ideas that you could have received from others. You should always get as many ideas as possible that will help you grow your business.

If you want true success on a project, it’s important to reach across the aisle and get input from other departments or units. If you want to meet your goals and pass any tests with flying colors learn how to interact with others by pulling them into the conversation on a regular basis. This way, they know what’s going on and can be part of the process from start to finish.

At this point, you may be saying, “Well my business has only a handful of people or customers. How would I get their feedback?”

You shouldn’t forget that even if your firm isn’t that big, there are still people working in the field who field questions and comments from customers and prospects. Take the time to discuss your target audience with them.

Use tools to gather data

If you want to know your audience, the best thing to do is to survey them. Yes, this means that you’ll have to get out of the office, knock on some doors, and ask grandmothers (if any) what their favorite brand of toothpaste is.

But such a task will help you identify who your audience is and what they want from you. There is however a more efficient method: by using tools.

One thing that makes digital marketing so interesting is the fact that it’s diversified. As a marketer, you can use different marketing techniques to achieve the same goal. However, you have to choose the right tools to use for gathering data.

The data you collect from tools, which can be used as digital marketing research, becomes the foundation for your campaigns’ success. That’s why you need to start using them right now if you aren’t doing it yet. Demographics Pro and YouGov are just two of the best tools out there for gathering and analyzing customer persona data or profiles. 

Conduct social network research

When it comes to social network research, you’re probably familiar with Google and Bing. They are the primary search engines that many people use to find specific information on the web. But there’s an infinite amount of social media networks out there ignored by most online marketers. 

Social network research is compelling because it provides a way to gather qualitative data; in other words, data that comes from analyzing customer feedback and opinions. This is a valuable addition to quantitative (data that comes from numbers) research such as collecting sales statistics.

Conducting social network research expands the reach of your survey questions beyond those who find your survey through Google and results in a more diverse pool of participants.

Create a quantitative survey

There are several steps you need to take when creating a survey. The process isn’t overly complicated, but it can be time-consuming if you have never taken the time to properly analyze markets before. 

That said, creating a survey and conducting research doesn’t have to be difficult, and it is one of the easiest ways to gain a lot of insight into what is important to your target consumers.

To create a survey, you can go to Survey Monkey. It’s free to create a survey and requires you to provide an email address. If you don’t have an email address already, create one and it will tell you how to use that account for your surveys.

Conduct Interviews

Have you conducted interviews when you’re doing market research? Interviewing customers is a great way to understand how they think. To get insight into what they like and dislike about your product, how much they use it, where it fits in their lives. The list goes on and on.

The purpose of conducting interviews with your customers is to find out how you can improve the most important parts of your business. It’s easy to gather data when you conduct a survey and there are plenty of places that you can do that for next to no money.

However, interviewing your customers is a lot different than surveying them because it enables you to have real-time interactions with potential and existing customers so that you can better understand their pain points and emotions regarding your product or service. 

Interviews are a huge part of market research and a vital tool for data gathering. Empathizing with customers is one aspect of interviews that isn’t always talked about. Empathy refers to being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Anyone can ask questions, but to truly get to know what your audience wants it is essential you understand their perspective.

Step 2: Develop Your Personas

You might have heard about this staple in marketing called a customer persona. It’s used commonly among those in the B2B sphere, but less so outside of it. But a key to successful marketing lies within this reliable process.

In marketing and advertising, a persona is a description of your ideal customer. It is similar to a profile that offers information about the characteristics of your target market.

Building your customer persona is the right way to market your business and show potential customers, what you can offer. A customer persona is a future buyer of the product, who has a specific set of needs, characteristics, wants or frustrations that drive them to find a solution via your business.

A successful customer-focused marketing campaign makes use of knowing your customers. By building a customer persona, you are able to more effectively interact with, and offer your products and services to people who will buy your offerings.

Following are some ideas on how to develop personas for your digital marketing campaign.

Make a list of all personas you’re targeting and their description

When it comes to digital marketing, customer personas are a great tool in defining your market and reaching out to potential clients. However, the most common mistake most marketers make is not drawing up a list of personas. When creating digital marketing campaigns it’s important that you have a list of personas of the target audience in mind. 

It’s not just enough to know the age, sex, income, and where they live. You also need to know what kind of technology they use, how many hours a day they spend on social media, what content do they consume, etc. And this applies to any kind of business you want to promote your products or services. It doesn’t matter if you are an online or offline business.

By knowing who your target audience is you will be able to appeal better to them, learn about their needs and help them get the best out of your business.

A lot of free persona creation templates — including HubSpot’s MakeMyPersona — are out there for you to use if you need a little guidance.

Take action on personas

In every aspect of digital marketing, including SEO, content development, and social media marketing, you should frequently refer back to the personas once they have been created.

Taking a moment to consider your personas can help you redesign your website, create a social media strategy, or target new keywords, for example. 

Take them as your real customers and focus on how to connect best with them. You should also target your content to your persona types.

Step 3: Know Your Target Audience’s Influencers

These days, it is necessary for all sorts of businesses to find the right influencers in order to promote their products and services. These influencers can help give a good amount of exposure to your business or product. 

They can help in getting attention and thus, this will translate into consumer trust which is a very important factor in turning consumers into actual customers. This means that influencers are no longer just people who are well known in their own fields but can also come from behind the scenes.

Some would argue that choosing the right influencers is even more important than picking the right keywords to target. And I’m inclined to agree. While keywords are the anchor of your online marketing and SEO strategy, influencers can give your campaign that necessary push off of the dock. 

But out of all the different types of influencers out there — bloggers, YouTubers, tweeters, Facebookers — figuring out which influencers are right for you can be a daunting task.

These are a few factors you should consider when searching for an influencer.

  • Be sure to pay attention to their social media followers and engagement: Social media influencers are defined as individuals who have a large reach of social media users. The term “influencer” is usually associated with celebrities and brands. 

However, a successful business does not have to include celebrities in its marketing strategy. Instagram influencers without a huge following can still be very effective for advertising products or services. 

  • Ensure that your brand appeals to the influencer: The most important thing when choosing a social media influencer to work with on an ad campaign is making sure that the influencer really likes your brand. It’s very easy to choose someone who has a large number of followers, but if that influencer doesn’t really like your brand or products, it can ruin the whole campaign. 

If you find influencers that love your brand, you should be able to increase your sales. It is important to identify who these people are and how they can help.

  • You should know the influencer’s worth: Social media influencers have grown to be great marketing tools for today’s consumers.

Influencers have large social media followings and provide advice and recommendations across various online platforms such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They are experts in their field and highly trusted by their fans which makes them great advocates for your brand or business.

However, one big factor that may not be considered when using social media influencers is the cost of compensation.

Get in touch with influencers

You can begin outreach once you determine your audience’s most relevant influencers.

Like you would do with your target customer, take the time to get to know the influencer.

Check out his or her posts and figure out what the influencer cares about. Be sure to clarify your brand objectives and deliverables, while at the same time tailoring your message to each individual influencer.

Moreover, you should go over the projections you have set. As noted in the prior section, you may need to compensate the influencer, so get started on it right away.

Conclusion

Most of the information that has been presented up to this point has been about marketing. For successful SEO and digital marketing campaigns, you need to utilize tried and true marketing principles.

Some of these principles may have modified over the years, but the one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is that you are still marketing to people.

It almost seems trendy to talk about the changing consumer, but an effective marketer ought to be focused on the issues that remain constant: human needs,  wants, instincts and motivations.

Understanding your audience, including your target customers and major influencers, is fundamental to your success in digital marketing.

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