Defining your audience may seem like a bit of an open door but it can really help you to set priorities and create a focus on the people you need to reach to make a living. So, I’ve lined up the most interesting aspects and subsequently the actions to reach them!
Step 1: Gather everything you need to know
Let’s start with the question who is going to make sure you can pay your bills? That’s probably several people if you think about it. There’s the one who will actually pay you but also the people around this person that are influencers. Keep that in mind while gathering data.
First off is ‘The not-so-hard-to-get data’
This kind of data should be readily available if you’ve been doing business for a while. Not very exciting but it’s low-hanging fruit and it helps to know how old your audience is or whether it’s mostly men or women you’re working with (or anything in between). Better start gathering all those dry facts!
Not a whole lot to tell about this one because smaller companies usually don’t need to bother with location/culture nuances. But it’s definitely a good plan to see where your customers are located. If you’re targeting the Netherlands and all your customers are in you might want to have another look at your business model.
Working in B2B defining your audience can be a little harder than when targeting the end user directly. Within a company it’s usually multiple people who are involved in a decision and so you need to get information on the company itself too like the size, industry they’re in, and typical challenges certain companies face.
Then we proceed to the ‘Data that that takes a little extra effort’
Analyze your offer
Your value proposition and audience obviously go hand in hand and because of this you should analyse it well. Start with a blank sheet and start writing down whatever comes to mind. One of those old school mind maps actually work very to get this done.
Look for groups in your industry
On LinkedIn there’s an option called Groups. Just like groups in real life these are people with shared interests and/or jobs. By joining some groups of which you’re positive they contain your customers you can see what’s trending and what a particular audience is talking about and how they react to developments in the industry. By joining groups you’ll get interesting data on your audience and you’ll stay up to date with industry news. Win-win!
If you consider demographics the ‘who is buying’ then psychographics can be nicely put as the ‘why are they buying’. This part is all about your customers attitudes and interests. Although this one is far less easy to determine, if you get it right it can be a real game changer to your marketing plan. Just keep in mind that gathering of this kind of data can be a real pain in the ass because it’s qualitative data as opposed to quantitative (which is easier). If you really want to try this think about hiring a market research firm. Eventually this info could help you to reinforce your brand values, write very compelling copy by playing on emotion, and also help you to identify new topic areas.
Finally, we have ‘the data you’ll probably need to get out of your chair for’
It doesn’t hurt to ask around every now then with your peers to find out how others perceive your products, service, or your brand altogether. Different people have different perspectives and although every now and then you might hear something you can use to further develop your business and to connect even better to your audience.
Do a survey
Besides asking around with your peers it’s also possible to do a survey amongst your customers. Probably best to promise a little gift for completing a survey by the way and don’t make it too long. Take some time to come up with meaningful questions and have someone test it before sending it out. Two tools that will get the job done? Google Forms and Survey Monkey!
Compare with the competition
Ah yes, the old look at what the competition is doing. In marketing this is actually a recurring topic because it’s not a single person that has all the good ideas. They probably won’t let you have a look at the books, but it doesn’t hurt to steal a little folder at a conference or have a look at their website to see how they are positioning themselves and who they are trying to target.
Step 2: Put all that data to work
Create a game plan to conquer your audience’s heart
Turn your findings into personas to make them more relatable
Research for opportunities in company where your audience works
Develop a contact plan to actively identify and approach prospects
Make sure your branding is something your audience can relate to
Start generating content that will speak to your audience
Track content performance and adapt accordingly
Identify conferences where your audience also is and participate in anyway
Set some goals to see how you are doing
What are you waiting for? Get started!