The Learning Center
AKA... The Blog
AKA... The Blog
As the Content Manager at Titan Web Marketing Solutions, I write a lot. Part of my job includes developing a message and tone for client marketing projects.
Our clients come from a wide array of industries, which means I have to write for a variety of audiences. Whenever we start a project for a new client, we always ask:
“What can you tell us about your target audience?”
This seemingly easy question tends to elicit either a handful of bland answers or a blank stare followed by a mortified realization that they do not understand their target audience.
Some clients provide vague answers, such as:
That’s a start, but how helpful is that? To build a website, develop a marketing campaign, or grow your business, you must understand your audience.
In life, how do we get to know someone? If it is a romantic interest, we take them on a date. In order to really understand your audience, you need to take them on a date.
It’s time to get to know your customers. If you feel comfortable asking one of your loyal customers to get a cup of coffee and have a conversation, great! Otherwise, a bit of research can start you in the right direction.
The typical questions you ask on a first date can help you understand how your audience thinks, acts, lives and enjoys their time.
Think back to when you were a nervous teenager on your first date. You probably didn’t know how to spark a romantic conversation, so you went straight to a safe question. “Tell me about yourself!”
The answers to this classic first date question will give you a solid starting point for your market research.
You’ll want to know:
Yet, you wouldn’t date someone just based off of their age, geographic location and employment status. You need to get to know them better before making a full commitment. After all, you never know if they could be seeing someone else. Cough, your competition, cough.
We all have our personal hobbies and interests. What does your target audience like to do?
The answers to this question are part of the psychographic information about your customer. Psychographic information consists of activities, opinions, interests, values, and characteristics about a particular audience.
When you understand what your audience likes to do in their spare time or their personal behaviors and values, you’ll be able to create messages and use the proper advertising channels to reach your audience. For instance, do your customers shop for clothing online or in-store? If your customers shop online, but you have an end display in another retail store, you’re completely missing out on an advertising opportunity.
Now what about their online habits? There’s the kicker.
It is in your best interest to find out which social media channels your audience enjoys. Do they prefer blog posts or videos? Would they react to remarketing advertisements on other websites?
The information you receive about their online habits is more useful than you think. How can you create an online marketing strategy without knowing where your audience is or what they do?
First, never ask this on an actual first date. It will not go well.
Do you know why customers go to your store and buy your products or services?
Imagine that you own a fitness center. Why do the majority of your customers go to your gym? Are they trying to lose weight and regain their health, or are they all passionate weight lifters?
Would you create a marketing campaign about bodybuilding when 80% of your customers are trying to lose weight? Nope. That’d be pointless.
You need to know why your customers buy your products and services, so you can speak directly to them with your marketing efforts.
When I drink coffee, I am not thinking “Oh boy! I’m about to consume 80-150 mg of caffeine from a fair trade coffee roasting and distribution company!”
Sure, I love the fact that there’s caffeine in coffee and that the type of coffee I drink supports coffee producers and sustainable farming practices – but that’s not why I chose to drink the cup of coffee.
Aside from being a coffee addict, I drank the coffee for the benefits. Would I have consumed a cup of coffee that was less than 80mg of caffeine? You bet. The features of the coffee are wonderful, but not why I chose to drink the cup of coffee. I drank the coffee because of the benefit I received as a result of the caffeine.
This is not only a prime example of Features Vs. Benefits, but also how your customers are looking for solutions to their individual problems.
What problem did the benefit of coffee solve for me? I was likely tired, and wanted something to wake me up and give me the motivation to write this article for you! (You’re welcome, but you should thank the coffee).
Determine what problems your business can solve for your audience, and you’ll be on your way to marketing success in no time.
Now, since this is a first date, you are only beginning to scratch the surface of knowing who your target audience is. As you continue the dating process, you might notice that your customer base has many buyer personas.
As defined by Hubspot, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
As a business owner, you need to understand your audience in order to experience success. Get out there and start learning about your audience!