What’s the key to running a business in any field or industry? Is it the quality of the product, level of service, or efficient distribution channels? Sure, those things are all important, but above all of else, there’s one thing that reigns supreme – knowing your audience.
Whether you’re trying to incorporate social media or launch an eCommerce site to leverage the digital marketplace and bolster your brick and mortar, understanding your audience is the end all be all. You can have the best supply chain and speediest delivery but if you’re not selling or providing what your audience genuinely yearns for, it’s all for naught.
This idea extends to every facet of what your company does, right down to content creation for your marketing strategy.
A company that struggles to find an audience for its products, is a company that struggles to stay afloat. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are some simple and surefire practices, all easy to accomplish, that can uncover vital, actionable information about your audience.
1. Analytics and Market Research.
Analytics and market research are the basis of real knowledge. By diving into the numbers, past and present, you’ll start to get a clearer picture of what makes your audience tick.
Take advantage of the wide variety of tools at your disposal to gain insight into the prevailing trends in your niche. Jumping into SEO research, for example, can help hone your messaging. You may find that what you thought were your most powerful search terms were actually not ranking well. This disruption in your efforts causes your marketing strategy to be just that little bit off and ineffective. Perhaps eventually leading to a lower than expected return on investment.
Depending on your goals and what you’re aiming to learn, the data you mine will of course vary. The macro-level is a great place to begin and then work your way down to more specific goals.
Research also lets you get out ahead of the curve. Having a rich understanding of competitor tactics, with solid numbers and analysis, allows you to make much more educated predictions about what your audience wants next.
2. Monitor All Feedback from Engagement.
If you’re currently in business, you have a touchpoint with the digital space. That’s just the way the world works these days. Even if you’re “old-school” and don’t want to deal with the online world and aren’t actively exercising control over your online presence. In fact, brand awareness has a real effect on your business nonetheless.
Embrace this reality and use it to your advantage. Social media has created a way for communication to become much more of a two street for your company than ever before. That’s great news for you. Instead of having to pay for advertising just to get your name out there, your business can be visible on social networking sites.
Monitor the feedback you receive across all channels and platforms. You’ll be able to see what’s working and what’s not with your strategy, be it content marketing, social media, or other forms of exposure. It helps you identify trends in your audience’s behavior.
That monitoring doesn’t end in the social media realm though. If you have a dedicated online forum that customers use, you’ll want to stay consistent with your posting schedule. Not to mention with your customer service and support outlets as well.
The engagement you get across the board, from blogs to Instagram posts should directly inform your subsequent moves. Listening to what your customers have to say is imperative because they’re not mincing words or sending mixed signals. It’s all real talk about their experience with your business and offerings.
Not using this opportunity to learn would be a major misstep in learning about your audience.
3. Look at Your Competitors.
What your direct competitors are doing is another useful way to learn about your own audience. This could be seen as another form of market research, but it deserves its own section. If your competitor in a given segment is doing leaps and bounds better than you, enjoying much more rapid growth, and expanding at a faster click, they may have uncovered something you haven’t.
If you all are targeting the same audience, why are they able to succeed while you feel stuck in a rut? It’s worth investigating this discrepancy.
It could be that the targeting itself is different or that they’ve taken a different approach with their tone or copy. There are a lot of factors that could be at play here so it’s worth taking some time to really sit down and analyze your similarities and differences. Conducting a competitive analysis can teach you a lot, not only about what makes your audience react but about your own business.
4. Encourage Users to Take Surveys.
The most obvious way to learn more about your audience? Just ask.
Nothing fancy and no gimmicks. Consumer feedback surveys for businesses are useful tools for learning. The beauty of a survey is that it allows you to get honest answers to extremely specific questions, ones that may not often come up in the regular feedback you get.
Why would they be honest? Well, you can make your survey anonymous. Not having to attach names or personal details to something encourages people to be much more open and honest in how they answer. The end result is that the knowledge and insights you get are much more meaningful.
And since these are customers who have used your products or services, the answers are sure to be more insightful than a potential customer.
Learning About Your Audience Has Never Been Easier.
While it’s true that we live in an era of information overload, the flip side of that dilemma is that if you’re on top of your game, you’re able to use that avalanche of info to your advantage.
There are so many opportunities and avenues at your disposal by which you can glean useful insights about your audience. From market research to consumer feedback surveys, there are actionable avenues to explore. And once you harness this capability, your brand can thrive with a more targeted business strategy.