Who are you marketing to? Where do your customers come from? Where are they hanging out? And therefore how can you reach them?

These are really important questions to ask yourself as a business owner. Taking a step back and doing a bit of audience profiling can really help you to refine your marketing strategy and expend your energy – and your budget – in the right direction.

Let me illustrate why this matters…

I recently worked with a B2B company who asked me to come on board to cover their social media needs. They asked me to create three posts a week to populate their Facebook and Instagram pages. 

“How many clients have you ever signed up from your socials?” I asked them. 

They seemed surprised. “None, as far as we know,” came the reluctant answer, “But we need to be creating content, don’t we?

Not necessarily, if that’s not the best way to reach your audience.

“Where do your clients come from?” I went on

“We have a mailing list and warm contacts.”

“Do you market to them?”

“No.”

And there we have it – the beginnings of a marketing strategy that isn’t just about pushing content into the void; a strategy that has far more potential to provide good return on investment. 

Knowing who your audience are, where they’re most likely to find you and what types of content engage them is a crucial part of your strategy. 

Note: I’m absolutely not dissing social media as a way of communicating and marketing – if your audience are aged under 30, chances are they’ll check you out on Instagram before they even visit your website, but the focus and the frequency totally depends on your audience.

Ok, so how do I work out who my audiences are?

Time to drill down into who your audiences are – and there will probably be more than one. First, gather information:

Look at who visits – if you have a physical space like a shop or restaurant you can get a good idea of your audience by simply watching who visits. Dig a little deeper by chatting to them to get a sense of their likes and dislikes which will help in building your personas.

Use metrics tools – If you have a Facebook page you can drill down into stats on your audience like sex, geographical location and age by visiting Page Insights and clicking on people. Most social media offers this ability to see demographics. 

Set up your website – speak to your web designer about setting up elements of your webpage to profile your customers. You’ll need to let them know you’re doing this with a cookie agreement.

Ask them – survey your customers and stakeholders, asking them some basic profiling information. Explain why you’re doing this and maybe offer a small reward to one or all participants to encourage replies.

What do I do with the information? 

Next, outline groups and individual profiles to help you understand your different audiences in more detail. 

Start to break it down

Can you name the different types of customer you need to appeal to? Families? Pensioners? Young couples? Professionals? You might even be able to be look at interests such as wine lovers, runners, foodies or people who like to travel.

Can you define age groups too? Here’s a good introduction to how marketers categorise the different ages by Businessclan. 

Also, take a look at this article by Forbes for useful insight into the marketing implications of different ages – there are some surprising similarities as well as notable differences in how consumers want to be marketed to.

Create audience personas

It can be useful to create individual characters that represent your key audience types. The key with this is to base it on research and not do too much guesswork to make these as valuable as possible.

Google audience personas and you’ll get a lot of content suggestions to help you create your own – I like this one by hootsuite as a starting point.

Seems a lot of work. Why does all this matter? 

Knowing your audience helps you to get into the heads of the people you’re talking to, to stand in their shoes and understand where they might spend time (defining your places to advertise), other things they enjoy doing (suggesting potential brand link-ups) and even how they want to be communicated with (feeding into your tone of voice and content strategy). 

Fundamentally, you’re looking to define your customer’s needs so you can meet them with your product or service and with your content and marketing strategy. It gets you out of sales stats and brings you closer to the people who engage with your brand – which ultimately helps you to build the great relationships consumers of all ages crave.

You can’t even begin that journey without understanding who  you’re talking to.

Need help creating your brand personas or communicating with different audiences? Please get in touch.

Suzie_Inman

Suzie_Inman

Suzie has worked in marketing, PR and communications for more than 20 years. She has worked for and with brands including visitBlackpool, JVC, Elemis and in the South West the Eden Project, Skinners, ShelterBox, Porthleven Food Festival, Whistlefish, Tempest Photography, Tom Raffield and more. Suzie believes in the power of the personal touch — and of telling and sharing stories to make meaningful connections with customers.

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