Understanding your audience sounds like Marketing 101, we know! But you’d be surprised how easy it is to lose sight of your audience when you’re swept up in the day to day responsibilities of running a business.

In order to sell your products and connect with your customers most effectively, you need to understand who your prospects are and why they do things the way they do.

Who is interested in your company? Who is buying? And what makes them tick?

At the heart of every successful marketing campaign is a laundry list of characteristics belonging to your ideal buyer. From geographic location and age demographic to personality traits, common hobbies and even their values and opinions – the more you know about your audience the better.

And in the age of Big Data you can never have enough, well, data!

Don’t limit yourself to the top level, easy to reach stuff—with more information available than ever before this is the perfect time to capitalise on this opportunity and leverage it for your business. Collect your information from multiple sources to create one main vision of exactly who you are targeting.

The better an understanding you have of your target audience, the better your ability to turn their interest into actual sales.

So if we recognise that understanding your audience is critical, what are the best ways to learn about them? We’ve come up with a list of recommendations on how to effectively learn about and understand your target customers.

Learn from others

The great thing about being a marketer in this day and age is the sheer number data sources we have at our disposal.

Marketers 20-30 years ago would’ve killed to have the type of data we take for granted. Use industry reports and market research that surround similar products, the industry and the people that you target.

Also, don’t forget to actually utilise your closest and strongest assets – your colleagues. We bet you thought we were going to say clients, didn’t you! Of course, our your clients are an enormously powerful asset but don’t forget to tap into all those bright minds you work with as well.

Our colleagues are right in under our noses and yet so many people skip this option! No matter the size of your business, it’s important to tap into those front-line, client facing colleagues that are communicating with your clients and prospects. Your account managers, sales specialists, customer service reps, client services managers, you name it, know the questions people are asking. It can be worthwhile taking the time to talk to your colleagues to gain some valuable insight on your target audience.

Conduct your own research

There’s nothing wrong with a little old-fashioned market research. In fact, it is pretty much necessary when it comes to understanding your audience. It will allow you to slowly but surely gain more insight into your audience’s lives, beliefs and habits.

When we say conduct market research, we mean both qualitative and quantitative—they are both equally important when it comes to understanding your target.

Conducting various surveys and questionnaires will allow you to collect, not only the basics, but also more open-ended questions around interests, motivations, attitudes, and values.

Large-scale quantitative surveys can be sent out to anyone and everyone to gain insight on the basics – age, occupation, location, income, etc. On the other hand, small scale qualitative surveys with open-ended questions are perfect to target at a smaller subsection of your audience, to learn more about their interests, motivations and personality based on how they answer your questions. Getting them to fill out a text box will give you a much deeper understanding of how they think than just using check boxes.

There are tons of low-cost ways of surveying your current customers. You can use something as simple as Google Forms to create a survey. We suggest platforms such as Typeform or Survey Monkey for conducting simple, easy surveys.

Study interactions

Studying a person’s social media is pretty much the closest you’ll ever get to reading their minds. Ever heard of social listening? This is what you should be doing.

So what exactly is social listening? It means watching social networks to see what is being said about your business. It also means watching to see what your target audience is doing on social networks. Look at what your audience are interested in online and what social networks they are most active on. Look into how your target audience is interacting with your brand, and your competitors. Look at what questions they’re asking and how they’re engaging online? Do they share your posts? Tag their friends? Save posts to read later? Ask questions in comments or DMs? Explore this, it will tell you a lot.

 Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics is another great tool you can use to learn about your target audience. You can check out user behaviour on your website, and see how your audience are interacting with you. This is a great low-cost way to track your audience. Google Analytics will allow you to examine exactly what kind of behaviour is happening on your website.

Google Analytics now offers you the ability to segment your traffic under the Audience tab providing you with insight into Demographics, Interests, Geo-location, Behaviors, and Technology. This information is not exhaustive but again, it provides you with a very good understanding of your website and app visitors.

Create a Buyer Persona

The team at Aberdeen Research found that those who use buyer personas in their marketing strategy get a whopping 73% higher conversions. A buyer persona is exactly what it sounds like – a complex, detailed representation of your average customer.

You can do this once you’ve collected enough objective data. You need as many details as you possibly can about your target group in order to build a persona.

You want to write out an extremely detailed description.  This means honing in on your audience’s values, their opinions, what they do in their spare time, their interests, goals, lifestyle, personality—whatever you can capture. Be as specific as you can, the more the better! This exercise is a bit like creating a character in a novel. You can refer back to this character through every step in your marketing process, and always be sure you’re aiming your strategy at them. Say you have a yoga studio in Richmond and you create a character called Emma. She’s 25, single, a health nut, lives and breathes city-living but also loves being adventurous in nature.

Have this character in the back of your mind every time you do anything marketing related for your studio. If Emma wouldn’t like it, is it going to be effective? Ask yourself these questions.

And don’t forget, there’s nothing stopping you from creating a few core buyer personas to use as your marketing guide.

Remember it’s a never-ending process

Understanding your market should be a process that never truly ends. In order to better your business, you should always be actively striving to learn more about your target audience. In a world that is constantly evolving and changing, as soon as you think you’ve got your audience figured out, things will change. But that’s okay – it’s just important to recognise this and work with it so that you can continue to understand your audience and retain and find new audience members to help grow your business.

Need assistance with your online marketing? We’re here to help you dominate in the digital world. It’s free to talk, so call us on 1300 841 244 or contact us via our contact page.