It’s easy to get stuck picturing your audience as a faceless crowd. Maybe your business has grown enough that you’re not quite sure who follows you on Instagram anymore or whether your blog is being seen by people likely to buy from you.
This is a common growing pain for businesses when you transition from every customer being a friend of a friend to your brand being known in your community or region. People know who you are, but you’ve started to lose touch with who your audience is.
It’s time to get as close as possible, all in the name of getting to know your audience. You’ll research, listen and poke your nose into the corners of social media until you have a good handle on who is in your audience and why exactly they’re there.
- You’ll better understand pain points and be able to talk about why your brand matters to your audience.
- You’ll create content for people, not market segments.
- You’ll build connections that foster loyalty and brand awareness.
Now that you’re all set on the why, let’s talk about some ways to gain a better understanding of your audience:
Almost-Stalker Status: Gathering demographics can help you gain valuable insight into who is following you on social media, searching for your site or buying your products. Using tools like Google Analytics and social media demographic reports, you can gain a picture of who is most into your brand. Look for data on income, age range, job titles, hobbies, interests and education levels.
Understanding demographics can help you tailor many aspects of your brand. You may gain insights into why products at certain price points outperform others or suddenly get a light bulb over the mystery of how pay-per-click ads did so much better than your email campaigns.
Fill in Gaps With Surveys: Look at you, you fun company asking people whether they prefer mountains or a beach, hiking or relaxing. Do it in the right spirit and you’ll be gathering information about whether your audience is filled with outdoorsy adventurists who would prefer a more rugged design on your next product. Pretty slick.
Surveys help you fill in those areas where you might have a gut feeling about your audience but you would like confirmation or areas where you simply can’t get an accurate read.
You can also try polling on social media, which helps give your brand a fun vibe and might get some conversations going.
Get Comfy With the Stakeout: Your competitors are a great source for learning what your audience likes and what’s trending in your industry. Don’t be shy about checking out what is working for the competition to see how their audience is responding. Maybe you even have a competitor with a sense of humor that will banter with you and help you get their audience interested in you.
Cultivate Higher-Level Eavesdropping: Social listening is another great way to get to know your audience. Search topics related to your products, your industry and don’t forget your actual product name and brand. See what people are saying. You might find out that there’s a great idea for a new product feature or that no-questions-asked returns would be the small change that sets your brand apart in a crowded market.
Legitimize Imaginary Friends: As you get to know your audience, some patterns will begin to emerge. You may find that your brand largely appeals to women between the ages of 35 and 50 who have no children, busy careers and earn a high income. But within that demographic, you may discover that about 60% are married and 40% are single and about 35% are engaged in an active lifestyle.
Suddenly, you have more specific buyers taking shape. You should continue to drill down until you have a small handful of audience segments. For each of those segments, you need to develop what’s called a buyer persona.
Now you’re not writing a Facebook post to people who buy your protein bars, for instance. Your post is now a personal post for your buyer persona Jill, who is a single, high-income earner that uses her weekends to go rock climbing and will likely want to tuck one of your protein bars into her pack on Saturday.
The Elephant in the Room
You may be wondering, “Does SJC Marketing do this, too? Do they practice what they preach?” The answer is yes, of course. At SJC, we dive deep into demographic data, we engage in social listening and we absolutely have buyer personas (We call you Steve, by the way).
And we’ll do it for your company, too. Come see why SJC Marketing is the trusted source for marketing for a lot of small businesses like yours. Contact us today to get started.