Digital marketing can be an intimidating venture for many business owners. How do you decide where to invest your time and money? How do you produce content that drives business to your site? How do you ensure your hard work pays off with increased brand awareness, more qualified leads, and bigger sales?
If you want to succeed online, you must start by knowing who your target audience is. If you don’t create content with the right target market in mind, your efforts won’t be nearly as fruitful. Then, you need a clear, step-by-step plan to keep you focused on your goals. Otherwise, you’ll get off track and distracted by the countless options available for marketing yourself online.
In this article, you’ll find a 7-step process for identifying, understanding, and reaching your target audience online. You can implement these steps on your own for any business in any industry. But be warned: This can feel like a full-time job! If you want to grow your online marketing but don’t have the time, a digital marketing agency can provide the support you need to succeed online while focusing on what you do best—running your business.
Step 1: Clearly define who your target audience is.
Before you have a productive conversation in any setting, it helps to know who you’re talking to. The same principle applies to online conversations. Before you can engage your target audience effectively, you have to know who exactly makes up that audience. A customer survey is a great way to learn more about your target market, and it doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. Click here for a free customer survey template you can use via email, website forms, or even one-on-one conversations.
Once you survey your customers, compile what you learn with buyer personas. Buyer personas are semi-fictional characters that represent specific segments of your target audience. When you create and study buyer personas for your company, it becomes much easier to create content that will reach and engage members of your target market.
Step 2: Identify what your target audience truly cares about.
If you want your customers to listen to what you’re saying online, it helps to publish content that answers the questions they’re already asking. It’s impossible to do this until you understand what your target audience truly cares about. Customer surveys, keyword research, and social listening are all helpful tools for identifying what your audience cares most about. As you research, remember to ask questions like:
- What are their biggest pain points on a daily basis?
- What goals drive them in their personal lives and careers?
- What problems keep them up at night—or at least send them to Google?
These answers will help you create detailed buyer personas and plan engaging content to reach your target market online.
Step 3: Consider how your target audience wants to receive information.
Once you know what your audience cares about, consider how they want to receive information on that topic. Do they prefer videos? Long-form articles? Infographics? Email newsletters? When you know your target audience’s preferred medium for new information, you can focus your efforts on producing content they’ll actually enjoy.
In addition to identifying the best content medium, it’s also a good idea to dig into what tone resonates most with your target audience. Do they respond well to humor or prefer a more reserved tone? Are they comfortable with your industry jargon or do they appreciate more transparent language? Adopting the right tone in your digital marketing is critical to ensuring your target market feels seen, heard, and understood.
Step 4: Provide valuable content for your target audience.
Now that you know who your target audience is, what kind of topics they want to hear about, and how they want to receive new information, you’re ready to produce some content. Every blog, email, video, and social media post you produce should be written with your buyer personas in mind. Strive to answer common questions, solve problems, and provide value for your buyer personas in your content. When you do, prospective customers will be far more likely to follow and engage with your brand.
Step 5: Meet your audience where they hang out.
You can write the best LinkedIn articles in your industry, but if your target market is spending all their time on YouTube, you’re only wasting your time. Use your customer research and buyer personas to determine where you should share the content you create. Once you know your target market’s preferred platforms, you can focus your efforts on those platforms to maximize the reach of your content.
Step 6: Make it easy for your audience to find you.
Hanging out on your customer’s preferred platforms is only part of making it easy for your audience to find you. Engage with your followers, use popular (and relevant) hashtags, and pay to promote posts or run ads when your budget allows for it. Steps like these can make a huge difference in getting the content you’ve worked so hard to create in front of more members of your target audience.
Step 7: Be consistent.
Digital marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. If you produce a ton of great content for your target audience in the first few months, then burn out, your results will quickly stall. To get the most out of your online marketing efforts, it’s important to show up regularly and offer valuable content on a consistent basis. If you find yourself struggling to schedule out content and stick with it, a digital marketing agency can do the work for you and report back on the results. This will empower you to grow your business online without spending your own time on the long-haul efforts of reaching and engaging your target market.
Whether you decide to oversee your own digital marketing or partner with a professional digital marketing agency to reach your goals, you should always start in the same place: identifying and understanding your target audience.
The more specific you can be in defining your target market and creating buyer personas, the better content you will create and the more effective you will be in reaching and engaging your target audience online. If you’re ready to identify and reach your target audience, we’re offering a free resource to help.
This template is designed to make it easy to survey your customers via email, website forms, or even one-on-one conversations. It covers everything you need to know to understand the goals, motivations, and pain points of your current customers—and it’s free! Click below to access it now.