I have worked in the media industry for over 13 years and my first role in publishing taught me an invaluable lesson. In order to sell a product (albeit space in magazine) it is essential to define a target audience who will be the most responsive to your marketing pitch! This is a 3 tiered approach, which in theory should lead to an increase in sales. Although I was a bit confused when a farmer on a tractor answered my call in my first country publication position!
Subsequently I discovered that defining a target audience is the backbone of marketing success. I spent 10 years in a media agency working with many talented individuals and expensive media tools to help create the ideal audience profiles. This aided media selection for advertising purposes and supported content creation and marketing messaging.
Today the digital world is brimming with multiple avenues of gaining audience insights which makes it easier to gain deeper knowledge of customers. However achieving CUT THROUGH amongst all the online noise is more difficult than ever.
I have learned that in order to achieve growth in brand awareness and a loyal following it is crucial to implement an audience first strategy. As it evolves keep on testing and monitoring results to gain further insights and adapt the next campaign accordingly.
Currently I work as a social media consultant and advise clients on profiling for their social strategy. I build audience personas and use them for all marketing activities including platform selection, ad targeting and content creation.
They are also called buying personas as they should be aligned with product design and sales where applicable.
Here are some top tips for identifying your target audience and creating personas:
Use social media to conduct audience research and analyse current trends in your market. Through the process of social listening you will be able identify tribes of people who are connected by shared values and interests. They will become part of your target personas. Highlight the ones with the highest affiliation to your brand as they will be the most loyal and valuable. Your marketing content will then qualify why they need your product or service.
For example if you are selling coaching courses a tribe may be ‘mother’s on maternity leave’ who are looking at options for setting up a business. You would listen to conversations around flexible working and becoming a mumtrepreneur whilst the messages would be based around confidence and providing advice.
Some tools for social listening are:
- # search function on Twitter and Instagram
- Facebook and LinkedIn groups in your niche
- Facebook search function – type in ‘pages liked by people who like x brand’ for example
- Affinio – paid tool
2) Ask questions
If you already have a database and social following conduct research regularly to gain consumer insights.
Survey Monkey and Google Forms are great for hosting your surveys or include the questions in your latest newsletter ( incorporate an incentive for a higher response rate)
3) Use Owned Insights
Analyse your own customer database which should give you insights into demographics and consumer behaviour.
Once established on social media you will have access to free analytics which gives excellent audience data. For example Twitter analytics provides great insights into your audiences interests as well as demographics and Facebook Audience Insights can show you when they are most active.
If you own a website Google analytics is a fantastic source of information for your business. You can look at the type of people visiting your website, the source of your traffic, the time spent on the site and set up conversion goals. You may decide to tweak your audience depending on the conversion rate on the website.
TOP TIP: If running advertising campaigns on Facebook make sure you install a Facebook pixel on your website. This will allow you to have deeper options for targeting and higher conversions.
4) Follow Competitors and Industry experts
Track your competitors and their marketing campaigns. Is there a GAP in their activity which you can fill such a social platform they are not utilising well? Look at their keywords and hashtags. Can you apply them to your strategy if successful?
I also advise to follow industry experts and key influencers in your market. They will keep you updated with trends and also are great for informing social content ( or even potential collaborations!)
Facebook allows you to track 5 other brands in Facebook Pages to Watch (found in the insights section) so make sure you take advantage of this.
5) Analyse results
After creating the audience personas and setting campaign KPIs make sure there is tracking in place for measurement of success. For example the objective could be click throughs to a landing page or sign ups to an email list.
This analysis will then inform you of whether changes need to be made or if you continue with a winning formula!
Using these methods you should have the information to be able to build your ideal personas. This will include:
Demographic information (age, gender, job title, location),
Lifestyle and behaviour
Goals and challenges
All of this knowledge will inform your marketing messages for each persona and define a strategy for attracting them to your brand.
There is so much you can achieve once you take your ideal audience through the sales and marketing funnel! (A whole new topic to cover!)
I have created a persona template as a guide for you to print off. Feel free to add your own notes and sections. Click here for your FREE TEMPLATE
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