Target audiences should be driving your marketing decisions, from your keyword choices to landing page design. Your marketing channels too! In a previous post about your landing page, and how it should be structured and formatted for your target audience, we also mentioned that defining your audience might take a bit of research.
This may sound obvious, but it’s worth stating: knowing who your best customers are leads to good business and marketing decisions. The more your understand the customer experience and behavior when interacting with your business, the better position you will be to make make improvements and increase conversions.
Most top businesses today can credit a lot of their success to having a great customer experience, creating loyalty and creating word of mouth growth. Building a relationship and positive experience for your audience has become more important than ever. So make sure you know who your target audience is, and why.
Researching Customer Personas
While research takes some time, the information is out there. You can get to know your buyers through traditional sources like the census, paid research companies or doing your own testing and surveys. The Teacup team prefers doing our own surveys and talking to customers. You can also use analytics and testing of various ideas. Beta testing is usually a must nowadays.
The data you collect and piece together should create a narrative about your customer. Primary information would be gender, age, job position, company size, and how they consume content. It may be a good idea to humanize this data, so you view it as a person rather than just information. Traditional “buyer personas” give this customer a name and photo. This can help with getting your company to connect who these people are and who they know in their own lives who fit the profile.
“Every email is a customer survey of your target market, by testing they vote on what resonates best with them”
– Kath Pay
If your company has a sales team, make sure you talk to them. They’re on the front lines and are the best placed to help describe your customer persona.
Building The Customer Personas
Once you have data, you can begin creating “Matt”, “John”, “Victoria” or “ Kate.” You want to be very empathic, and dabble a little bit in psych 101, to understand the mind of your target audience. What motivates them? Why do they buy? Discover what their goals and objectives are. Follow with their challenges. Build a persona’s day-in-the-life. Responsibilities, professional demeanor, questions they may have, and content preferences. Content preferences will be important for further marketing, such as channels they use, social media, contact style, and media. This is also a great place to implement A/B testing, “does Matt respond better than Kate?” Begin to see these personas as real people.
Try not to assume anything. Also, we recommend you read a lot. Sounds a bit trite, but there are plenty case studies, analyses by psychologists, and industry reports that have endless info. Its great to learn from others, even your competitors. Find research they may have done. Who are their audiences? How do they connect with them? How can you do it better or different?
Creating Negative Target Audiences?
An often glanced-over audience are your negative buyers. Yes, we are taking a moment to think of all those customers who complain (a lot), are always unhappy or have said that your product just isn’t for them. They give your customer service team a tough time, need lots of attention, eventually stop using the product and may even leave a bad review. If you have many of these types of customers, you will begin exhausting resources. Wouldn’t you rather use your resources to find happy customers rather than have to deal with negative ones?
It can be challenging to think of a customer you may not want, but creating a negative buyer helps you to hone your target audience. It also helps use your marketing time and budget efficiently, allowing you to target the best audience. Begin asking your team about the red flags they encounter. Red flags would be product returns, poor communication and unrealistic expectations. Which customers are a net drain on resources, morale and negatively impact revenue?
There may be consistent behaviors that cause your team to spend more time or money on. A classic example are leads who your company put a lot of effort in turning them into a customer but couldn’t close in the end. When providing a product or service we want the best experience for our potential customers and we have a great amount of patience for them. However, a business should also know the point of “diminishing returns” where you understand that this customer will turn into a costly relationship than a beneficial one. You can at least be thankful that they are now helping your business shape your marketing a little better.
Observe, Interact And Listen To Your Current Customers
Once you have defined your target audience and established healthy relationships with them, they hold the most valuable secret to growth. Take note of what they are discussing in forums or in the comments of your pages. Social media may be an easy way to visually show your product but it more importantly to start “social listening”. To tune into the conversations that are happening about your company, competitors, and industries that your customers are using. Of course social media is also a great way to maintain a 1 to 1 relationship with your customers.
You can also look to internal resources. Have regular check-ins with your sales and customer service teams to understand how customer needs and goals are maintaining or changing. They may have noticed a new audience or persona, (even the negative ones). Having healthy customer relationships also allows you to begin conducting surveys. Your existing customers are where some of the most valuable historical data on understanding your wider audiences lies. Of course, we also recommend taking a look at keywords, these show you what words people are using to find or relate to your business. A bit more challenging to do but we are here to help.
“The consumer is not a moron; she is your wife”
Write The Story Of Your Target Audience
Businesses have shifted to make their marketing less about getting people see their products and more about getting to know potential customers. Modern marketing is structured around buyer behaviors. With the right research, observations and technology, you can create informed strategies when targeting your audience. Then create stories on characters you should expect to encounter – your buyer personas. We all are buyers and why we buy is always changing. We know when it is a good experience and when it is a challenge so begin to understand the people who will be best for your business.