As a marketer or blogger, one of the most important factors to your success is how well you understand your target audience. They have all this data and metrics that give them data on their audience. They don’t, however, truly know their target audience. They don’t know what makes them tick. They don’t know what motivates them to go to their pages and read their content and that is where they really miss the mark.
Your first realization should be that your audience is made up of actual human beings with all the dimensions that come with the human experience. You should, therefore, seek to understand their intentions, problems, and the questions they ask that cause them to go looking for answers.
In marketing, perhaps more than in many other industries, your success really depends on your ability to add massive value to the lives of your audience. To be able to do that you should have an intimate understanding of your audience. You will be better placed to sell them your product or service because you will know just how to position it in a way that it adds value to their lives. Think of it as giving in order to get. We all know that the only way to truly get value is to give value first. And the only way to give value is to understand the target of that value. That said, there are a few ways you can truly understand your audience and we’re going to look at the top seven.
Research your Keywords
Your entire website, from the homepage to the About page, is full of keywords. Don’t think of keywords as mindless data in this case; they are clear indicators of the things that your audience are interested in. If you do some comprehensive research of the most popular keywords in your niche and study how they change over time, then you will begin to understand the motivations behind the search habits of your audience and even anticipate.
So what, exactly, is your audience looking for? Here you should be open-minded enough to consider both the one-word keywords and their long-tail versions. Because of the intense competition that comes with single words, long-tail keywords will give you some latitude in targeting your customers for the same keywords with less competition. You will also be able to more colloquially or semantically phrase their needs in a way they recognize. Luckily, there are plenty of tools you can use to find these keywords, including tools like Google’s Keyword Tool and others.
Talk to your Front Line Staff
There will naturally be people in your company that have some direct contact with your target audience. These people understand, in very comprehensive ways, the very problems, wants, and needs of your target audience. They know their pain points and they can tell you just how to tailor your marketing plan to solve those pain points.
You can have regular meetings with your salespeople and get them to tell you about how your target audience is doing. If physical meetings aren’t possible, then organize an internal blog or wiki for your company where different people in the company can suggest topics and encourage them to make them customer-centric. You will be surprised about how much information you can get this way.
Do your Hunting on Forums
If you want more information, forums are a great place to look. This is one of those places where people will talk freely about issues that are relevant to them and you can learn a ton about them if you only listen. To start with, go through all the forums related to your industries and find ones where your target audience loves to hang out.
Places like Quora, Hubpages, and EssayOnTime are a great place to start. The forums will give you valuable information about the questions your target audience are asking and what they want to know. You can then tailor your content around that.
Mine for Information in Historical Data
Do you regularly go through your WordPress history and data to find out things like your best performing article, call to action, and overall page? If you don’t, then you need to start now because this is very important information. It will tell you where your page views, comments, and inbound links are coming from and it will give you massive insights into what your audience likes about your content and what you should rinse and repeat.
Do this as regularly as you can because this information will also give you insights into how the tastes and preferences of your audience change over time.
Don’t Neglect Social Media
With the power of social media coming to bear on the world, you simply cannot ignore it. There is no better place for you to monitor and crowdsource your audience in order to gain valuable information about your audience.
Use Feedback to Improve
Do you do regular surveys to find out what customers want you to improve in your product? Do you then take the results to those surveys seriously? You shouldn’t take feedback from your customers lightly because it will help you to improve not only your product but also your relationship with your customers.
It’s not just surveys either. You can also talk to them conversationally and try to connect with them. Ask them what you could do better in their opinion to find out what they really want. Collect all their suggestions and then work on one thing at a time, improving a single area of customer experience before moving on to the next one.
Always Follow up
This is one of those important things that most people overlook. Following up is something you should do day to day like any other part of your business. Always do it when you miss leads or after completing a project or even after writing an article. Show your audience that you’ve been listening to their customers by mentioning details in of what they said. This shows true connection. It eventually causes your audience to open up to you and tell you more about what you can do to grow even better.
Ultimately, your customer is the king and so you should fall in love with them even more than you fall in love with your craft. Learn what makes them tick and understand their motivations. Take care of your customers and they will take care of you.