The following was previously published in an earlier edition of Marketing Insider.
When competing with other brands to find the best channels needed to reach your audience, developing an effective marketing strategy might feel like throwing darts blindfolded. To increase your odds of reaching people who might be interested in your product or service, you first need to define your target audience accurately.
It might take more than one try. Along the way, you might discover your business has more than one target audience. As you begin to determine the best way to reach them, below are some questions to consider.
1. Who are you marketing to now? Start by profiling your current customers and the people who engage with your brand on social media. Do these people have common characteristics (location, age, and interests)? If your target audience is Gen Z, for example, you’re unlikely to succeed by trying to reach them on Facebook.
Before you can serve your audience an effective ad, you need to know what kind of messaging will resonate with them. Use your customers' demographic profile to pinpoint your most effective messaging and branding, then advertise only the products or services relevant to their needs. When you understand who your audience is, you’re better equipped to talk to them in a language they understand.
2. Where do your customers go for information online? Once you’ve defined your audience and how to communicate with them, monitor where they get information from you. Do you receive more visitors to your blog than likes on Instagram posts? Knowing where your audience is likely to look for information will help you decide where to focus your marketing efforts.
In addition to monitoring where your customers go for information, keep track of how they engage with it. If a social media post results in new followers and visits to your site, that content could be repurposed in the future. Understanding your audiences’ behavior online can help you prioritize platforms that may have a better return on investment.
3. What information are your customers looking for? Once you know where a target audience goes for information, identify what content they interact with most. For example, some people prefer to read content while others are more likely to watch a video. Do how-to videos outperform your organization’s written blog posts?
Certain types of content are universally better at attracting your target audience. High-resolution photos, infographics, and videos accompanied by well-written text are more likely to elicit a response on social media than low-quality photos or videos.
4. Whom does your audience trust? People trust recommendations from individuals more than faceless brands. Think about your own habits: How often do you read reviews or ask others for advice before purchasing something?
Influencers are an underused B2B social marketing resource who can help your organization reach new customers within a target audience. Creators, thought leaders, and industry experts who align with your brand’s core values can help amplify your message among their loyal followers.
Make sure existing relationships are nurtured to build trust between your brand and its loyal customers. Strong customer service skills will only enhance your word-of-mouth reputation.