One of the very first steps in creating a digital marketing campaign is to define an audience. Campaigns that are tailored to a specific demographic tend to do much better than generalized campaigns (which often fail to catch anyone’s attention). Defining an audience involves a number of questions and can take into account age, gender, social network use, stated interests, and more.
Often, the audience depends largely on the product. Sometimes, products are specifically designed for a single demographic, which makes it easier to define the audience. With more general products, however, it is helpful to create different campaigns that appeal to different targets. Here are some great tips for defining the target audience of a particular campaign.
Analyze the current audience.
Understanding who currently purchases a product or service can help inform future campaigns. A business can learn much from the buying patterns of its customers, including which marketing campaigns have worked well in the past and which have not. Ultimately, this information helps marketers decide whether they should continue targeting the same groups or perhaps attempt to enter a different segment of the market.
Fortunately, several tools exist for analyzing current customer behavior. Customer relationship management (CRM) software is affordable and provides several different methods for maintaining relationships and analyzing data. The software provides a breakdown of current customers according to age, geography, purchasing history, and other criteria. With this software, teams can see which past campaigns have spurred the greatest increases in sales and perhaps begin to figure out why certain campaigns did not work.
Too often, marketers forget that they can simply ask for feedback from their current customer base to help shape their future campaigns. The questions can be as open-ended or as detailed as they’d like. When marketers ask the right questions to the right people, they can get an incredible amount of valuable data. This data serves as an important complement to analytics since it provides insight into the psychology of the customer that is not possible with simple metrics alone.
Become familiar with online tools.
Marketers have a wide range of tools available to them outside of CRM software, but these tools are not always obvious. Many of them are tied to specific social networks. For example, Facebook Ads allows companies with a Facebook page to explore an impressive amount of data about the people who follow their page. This information can be used in turn to create highly targeted campaigns through the Facebook Ads system. Facebook Insights is another valuable tool that works sort of like Google Analytics (which is also highly valuable to marketers). Both of these tools help marketers figure out what audiences also like, as well as who they are, where they live, and what they do.
Another great social media tool is BuzzSumo, which works with various platforms to identify the posts that had the most interaction. By looking at the themes of these posts and who interacted with them, marketers can glean several insights.
Keyword tools are also great sources of information. These tools help individuals choose keywords for SEO purposes or for use in systems like Google AdWords, but they can also reveal a lot about the interests of individuals who search for relevant keywords, which can help identify new potential customer bases.
Make no assumptions.
When identifying audiences, marketers need to make sure that they check all of their assumptions. When campaigns run on assumptions, they often fail. A company selling a health product needs to think about what health means to different people rather than operating on the beliefs of the founders of the company. Marketers can only connect to their customers when they attempt to think like them. Consumer research can help challenge assumptions and provide insight into the mindset of the customers.
After using analytical tools to look at the existing customer base, marketers should compare the results to their assumptions of who would buy the product or service and address any discrepancies. These areas of misalignment can prove extremely fruitful in identifying new customers. Surveys and interviews are also great tools for learning about consumer motivation. Marketers should always listen to customer opinions, especially if they conflict with the company’s predictions. Doing so can help avoid harmful assumptions in the future.
Look at the competition.
Marketers should always pay attention to the competition, including their triumphs and failures, to learn valuable lessons about formulating campaigns. In terms of audience, marketers should pay special attention to who is buying competitor products and formulate campaigns that target different groups or, alternately, provide them with enough reason to switch to the new product. Targeting the same audience with a campaign that shows added value can prove very successful. Marketers should always focus on what makes the product different from those of competitors when figuring out how to appeal to new audiences.