Do you know your target audience well enough?
To really create content that will resonate with your audience — understanding your audience is very crucial.
It gets better when you can put yourself in your customer’s shoes and create content with empathy that’s tailored towards improving their lives.
It’s only when you know your audience that you can engage them with your content, and convert them to happy paying customers.
Here are 6 proven steps you can take to truly understand your target audience.
1. Conduct exclusive market research
This is by far one of the most important steps to understanding your audience.
Whether you are a small business owner or you run a large firm, it’s very important that you conduct a research before you ever start any marketing campaign.
In a recent research by Responsys, 34% of 2,000 US adults surveyed left a brand because they were receiving irrelevant marketing messages from them.
Oops! What a great lost.
This can only happen when a company ignores market research or fail to do it the right way.
I’m sure you don’t want to have the same experience — that’s why I wrote this article to guide you.
Here are the four simple ways to carry out this research:
1). Use Google Alerts or Social Mention tool
Google Alerts can be a very vital tool in following trends and people in your niche.
You can set alerts for similar products in your niche, follow updates, check out articles written by your competitors, and also check out the comments by your prospects. As you’re aware, mobile usage has surpassed that of desktop — so you need to study and understand user’s mobile behaviors as well.
You’ll have insights about topics, events, and people that your ideal customers care about. Researching the long-tail keywords that your target audience is using to search for information about your business/product is equally important. Unfortunately, Google Keyword Planner might not help you here — I like to use Ferzy Keyword Tool or KeywordTool.io
More so, you can also use Mention or Social Mention tools to monitor content and people from social media, forums and other social channels. Yes, you may have to invest in SEO, PPC, or even native ads to be able to reach your target audience, but it begins with a market research.
These services can help you know when a new research has been published about the specific keyword or phrase you are concerned about.
2). Interview Your Current Customers
Interviewing your current customers can be a great way to get first-hand information about your ideal customers.
It will not only help your customers, but it will allow you to gather case studies and metrics which are integral factors for building your personal brand and gaining traction online.
3). Study Your Web Analytics
Your web analytics can help you a great deal.
Are you really making use of the data available to you through your web analytics?
Your web analytics can help you answer the following questions:
Where did your website visitors come from?
What keyword or phrase did they use to find you?
How long did they stay on your website?
What content format are the most popular?
Where are the locations of your audience?
Where do they go from your site?
What are the patterns of your visitor’s behavior?
Are these patterns giving you information about the position your prospects are on your buyer’s journey?
When you are able to get answers to this questions you’ll begin to get a better understanding of your audience.
4). Use Professional Social Networks
Use professional social networks like Quora and LinkedIn to uncover what groups your potential customers are and what they’re discussing.
Great, you’re on the right track.
So far, we’ve discussed how you can leverage some of the resources that are available to research your target audience. Now let’s put them together to create a customer persona
2. Create Your Customer Persona
After gathering all the required information about your customer from your research, you need to now create a fictional customer that exhibits all the characteristics.
No matter what you call it, a customer persona or marketing persona, we’re referring to the same thing.
According to Ardath Albee – “A marketing persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. For content marketing purposes, you need personas to help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience.”
I love this definition of buyers persona by Ardath Albee.
Your buyer’s persona can help you provide actionable solutions to the challenges that your audience is facing.
And it should contain core characteristics that answers the following questions:
What is the buyer’s role in the company?
What type of company does the buyer work for?
What level of education has the buyer achieved?
What does the buyer like to do for fun?
What is the buyer’s gender?
What is the buyer’s age?
What is the buyer’s household income?
How does the buyer define success in the workplace?
What are the buyer’s career goals?
Here’s a typical example of how your buyer’s persona should look like:
Source: Single Grain
Once you know all of this, the marketing content you’ll create will be of great value to your target audience — they would feel involved and will stick to your brand.
4. Monitor Comments And Engagement
As you know, one of the reasons Neil Patel is so successful at blogging is that he interacts with his audience via comments on his posts.
I think he replies almost every comment and in the process, he understands how his audience thinks and will most likely find new content idea during the conversation.
You can also do the same and hopefully, you’ll be able to understand your client well enough.
5. Look at Your Competitors
Look at successful brands that share similar goals as yours. Look at what they’re doing. Evaluate their content marketing strategy, try to find out what they do differently, find out why they are using some terms consistently.
Truth is, a brand might not fully understand what they’re really doing, but a careful study will reveal to you what works and what doesn’t.
6. Learn from third-party resources
You can also leverage on the research done by other marketers with respect to your target audience. Study them very well and extract the necessary data.
Learn from case studies and psychological analysis conducted by more advanced marketers in your industry. For example, if you’re a digital marketer you can learn a lot from Moz, Content Marketing Institute, QuickSprout, and other credible digital marketing blogs.
Stay away from assumptions. Why?
Because, often times, your assumptions about your customer could be wrong. Yes, it’s acceptable to make intelligent guesses, however, that shouldn’t inform your decision making process.
Why Doing this Works Better than Asking for Business Referrals
After I released my flagship eBook – How to Retire to a Life of Island Hopping through Smart Blogging – I noticed something neat. My sales increased 12 fold the day I published a guest post for a highly successful blogger.
Seeing this spike clued me in to the quickest, easiest way to increase business: help people for free. Being generous improves skills, increases exposure and expands your business. Greater traffic and profits follow generous bloggers because helping people for free helps you be skilled and see, two qualities in every prospering blogger who reaps sweet blogging profits.
A large set of bloggers goes in another direction. Some ask for business referrals from trusted blogging buddies to drum up business. Feel free to take this route but know referral fishing is an ineffective way to drive profits because of two clear reasons:
- referral-seeking seems to be time-wasting
- referral-seeking rarely inspires trusted bloggers to take clear, business-building action, for you
I know 20 plus web developers. A few trusted blogging web developer buddies have reached out to me, seeking referrals. Two issues arise:
- the referral seeker has no idea if I know bloggers needing web development; non-targeted campaign
- I already know 20 plus developers, trusted buddies all, so I could never choose one to refer to someone if 20 seem qualified
Top Bloggers Become Ruthlessly Effective with their Time
Versus seeking referral business by asking blogging buddies if they know someone requiring your service, spend 20 minutes to write and publish a quality guest post for a blogger in your business niche. Instead of pitching 1 human, show off your web development skills for free, via a guest post, for 1,000 people. Do you see what I mean? Leverage. Do not ask for business. Serve for business. Although time needs pass and generosity needs inclusion in blogging business-building, helping for free is the quickest, simplest way to increase blogging business because you reach large, targeted audiences of clients with your attention and energy versus asking 1 person for business in non-targeted, ineffective fashion.
12 Times Daily Sales
I recall the day vividly, 5 years ago. I created and launched Blogging From Paradise. Before writing 100 plus eBooks, I wrote one. I did drive some sales through my blog but guest posting woke me up; why not leverage my presence and grow business by helping people for free, via different platforms? Eye-opener for me. Instead of asking, I gave. How easy? Giving freely is the easiest way to get freely. I observed a 12 times daily sales eBook increase for good reason that day: helping people generously through sites other than your blog is a simple way to grow your blogging business.
The simplest, direct, effective way to grow your business is to help people for free. Asking for referrals leads to a client or customer here and there, but full time bloggers are not in the “here and there” business as far as growing your venture. Pro bloggers drive steady profits through their blog by being generous on their blog and on other platforms.
Be helpful for free. Publish posts. Submit guest posts. Run a podcast. Broadcast live on Facebook. Help people for free to help people for pay. Versus untargeted referral-seeking, this is the effective way to grow your blogging business from a generous, genuine energy.
Why Does It Take Time to Be a Successful Blogger?
Successful bloggers implore you: it takes time to succeed.
I advise following your fun, helping people generously, trusting the process and seeing the blogging journey through. I mention in my eBook how time saving tips make your journey easier. But in the same regard, this journey takes time. Impatient bloggers weed themselves out. Generous, patient, persistent bloggers succeed. Sometimes, successful bloggers realize not the time element and how it works, and never explain in detail why it takes time to succeed. Why do you need to be patient? Why does it take time to succeed? I uncovered 3 reasons why it takes time to be a successful blogger.
1: It Takes Time to Practice a Skill So You Become Really Good At It
Today, I can write 10 to 20 blog posts daily if I so desired. I could easily create 20 videos daily.
10 years ago, I could write 1 blog post weekly and feared doing videos, to where, I never recorded videos as a newbie blogger.
Generous practice plus time made me prolific. Nobody gains skills in 1 day. Humans gain skills practicing 1 craft daily for months, then years. I love basketball. A handful of NBA players disclose how terrible they played after picking up a ball for the first time, 5 or 10 years, prior. Patient, persistent practice and time polished their skills to the point they became successful enough to go pro. Blogging is no different. Successful bloggers practice daily for years before being skilled enough to become a pro.
2: It Takes Time to Gain Big Exposure
Gaining big exposure for success takes time. Every creative act expands your presence a little bit more but those little bits add up over time. New bloggers blind themselves to this concept, believing 1 day and 1 blog post gives them successful exposure enough to make money and gain clout. Nope. Time reveals persistently generous bloggers because getting massive exposure requires months to years of generous, patient, persistent service.
No human can begin blogging at 8 AM as a new blogger and land a Forbes appearance by 12 noon. Nobody knows you. You have no exposure. Humans require time to create and connect in enough spots to gain success promoting exposure. Relax. You are on the way. But allow for time and generosity to leverage your presence. Time is required to be seen in many places.
3: It Takes Time to Uncover and Feel and Release Fears
Do you want to know why I wrote this post? I uncovered this reason a few moments ago. I noticed one income stream yield lesser amounts over the 2 days prior and felt a tiny but palpable surge of fear. Aha! I got you. Feeling fear, I released it and proceeded. I blogged for 10 years. I still feel tiny fears if an income stream yields less money, day to day, based on my expectations. But I needed to face this fear to make more money. New bloggers generally have deep fears concerning money, success and freedom. It takes time to feel and release fears concerning making more than $1 a day until you vibe at the $100, $1000 or $10,000 monthly – or more – level of blogging income.
Time unearths fears for feeling and releasing, to reach the next level of blogging success.
Time is a great blogging ally.
All you need flows to you over time.
Generously create, connect, follow your fun and nudge into fears.
Success is yours.
What Does Your Blogging Network Look Like?
I do nothing on my own.
Everything is a team effort.
As I teach in my blogger networking eBook, the way to increased, ever-expanding blogging success is to look for, grow and tap into a huge, loyal network of blogging friends through the power of generosity. Be generous. Help people. Shout out fellow bloggers. Release expectations. Get super connected. Most of us understand this is how to succeed online; be generous and get connected because 100 is better than 1. 100 friend efforts are far better than your effort alone.
One basic problem arises for most new or struggling bloggers: overcoming the deep fear of networking. For odd reasons, humans cling to pulsating fears concerning reaching out to other human beings. Bloggers fear being rejected, failing, being criticized or giving up credit for their blogging success. Honor that fear. See how far you get on your own steam. Not only that, the agony of micro-managing makes you sick, broke and quite dumb, if you are honest with yourself. How silly of you! Why do everything on your own today? Why not comment genuinely on a few blogs, retweet a few blogger blog posts and mention a few bloggers on your blog? Begin networking. Build a network. Succeed online.
What’s It Look Like?
Be honest, my blogging sweet robbins. What does your network look like? Is it even there? Do you even have a network? Many bloggers publish a post, share it to Twitter and Facebook and sit there, dumbfounded. Do you honestly believe your network just materializes out of thin air? Nope. But if you buy my eBook, follow my 13 steps and build your blogger buddy network by being generous, you can land on famous blogs, earn coin and drive traffic to your blog, too. Everything hinges on your honesty. Admit having only 1, 3 or zero blogging buddies. Truths set you free to network generously and successfully.
How to Grow Your Network
Simple. Be generous. Begin now. Publish a thoughtful, personalized comment below. Be seen. I cannot read all comments but the thousands of people who read blogging tips tend to read comments. Somebody eventually reads your blog comment if you comment genuinely and generously every day on Blogging Tips after reading posts. Someone clicks your link because they love your comment and want to meet you. One visit to your blog later, you may have a blogging buddy, or even a client or customer. Or maybe you have a loyal reader. This is networking 101; be generous, engage people and you build your network.
But do not stop after commenting on Blogging Tips. Branch out. Go wide. Read and comment genuinely on other blogs in your niche. Make more friends. Life gets easier and easier if you have more blogging friends in your corner because these folks inspire you to keep going, plus your friends amplify your presence exponentially.
Be generous and genuine. Reach out to more bloggers every day. Networking is a bit uncomfortable sometimes if you look for immediate returns but gliding through these temporary feelings helps you tap into something special with your blog. Connected bloggers have no issues growing their blogging business because 100 is better than 1. Remember that they next time you try to go lone wolf with your blogging campaign.
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