Basic Marketing

Essential (but often Ignored) Steps that can Make or Break your Digital Marketing Campaigns. Episode I – Know Your Audience

You have a great product, you figured out the logistics, and your awesome website is up and running. Now, time to get your messages (and product) out in the world, right? You probably have in mind some digital marketing and in most cases, you would be right. But before even thinking of spending money on a social media campaign or Google ads, ask yourself that: do you really have everything that you need to know in order to make an efficient campaign? This is the first of a series of article addressing basic marketing issues that are essential for the success of a digital marketing campaign, yet often ignored. In this episode, about the most important one: your audience.

Knowing whom to sell to, seems pretty basic, right? Yet, I’ve see a lot of young marketers or small companies going directly from product to the digital marketing part only with a vague idea about who are they targeting. They worry then about the lack of results of their Google ads or social media campaigns and the money spent with no or little results.

Hopefully, you already thought of your potential clients when you were creating your product and/or company. But even if you did, chances are that you have only a general idea about your target market. That may have even been ok in the designing stage of your product but for planning your digital strategy, you need more. So before spending any more money online, this is the time to try to find more in-depth answers to all of the questions below.

Who is your ideal customer?

If your honest reply is “everyone!”, then you are not thinking like a marketer. You need to have tangible results with a limited budget so advertising to everyone is not really an option, is it?

The unspoken, complete question is actually: “Who is more likely to buy your product because they will most probably like it, they know (or can be convinced) they need it, they have easy access to it and have the financial means to make the purchase?”

Your ideal customer is the one who checks all four conditions and, in order to spend your money efficiently, these are the people you should focus your marketing efforts on. In simpler terms, everyone might enjoy your premium, preservatives free shampoo that you sell, but only some of them will afford to buy a bottle every month.  Probably everyone will want to buy and ride your electric bike, but if the shipping fees double the cost of the bike, why spend your advertising money internationally instead of spreading your message in the regions where you can deliver at a reasonable cost?

What are their demographics?

Now that you know how your ideal customer looks like, you need to narrow it even more to a specific group of people. Find out at least your ideal customer age, gender, income, education or occupation and don’t forget to think in terms of “most likely”. Make a map with their general location so you know where to “strike”. This will give you the information you need to make your campaigns efficient. Your product may be attractive to most people, but you want to advertise first to the ones that are most likely to purchase from you.

How are they like?

Now you need to put even more flesh on the data. Try to answer questions like: What do they like/dislike? What do they care about? Where do they spend most of their time? How do they spend their weekends/free time? What influences them? What brands do they like? What do they think about your brand? What do they think about your competition?

All the answers will help you understand your ideal customer better and will tell you what kind of messages best work for them. For example, if you find out that price is a sensitive issue for your ideal client, you’ll want to focus on attractive promotions to include in your messages. If they are health conscious, you will emphasize the quality of your ingredients or other health related benefits your product might have.

Where does your brand need to be present?

Marketing wise, you need to be where your customer is. The cleverest message and the most beautiful ad are useless, unless your potential customer is there to see them. It may seem obvious for you that you need to advertise on social media, but is your customer there? And more importantly, do they make purchase decisions based on the information they see on that specific channel?

Facebook might be still number one on the list of social media to use in 2019, but if your ideal customer spends more time on Instagram or Pinterest for example, it makes more sense to use your money there.

So how to find all of this information?

If you don’t have the budget to hire a specialized agency to conduct a market research study for you, there are plenty of other methods to start with.

  • Google “audience insights [insert name of the social network here]” and read what comes out. Then decide if you are better off with one channel or another. You’ll find there a lot of other related information as well. Do that every 6 months at least, these info change quite often.
  • Search for free studies/researches on the markets you’re interested to. Some organizations offer audience insights for free. You just have to be persistent and try enough keywords.
  • Go to social media – read group discussions or forum threads where people interested in your product are exchanging ideas, see what they think about it, things they care about. You can even comment in those discussions and ask for their thoughts. As long as you do it nicely, people will respond.
  • Talk to people – try to find offline people to talk to and pick their minds. Ask them how to do they make their purchase choices, what convinces them if a product is good for them or not.
  • Go to the Chamber of Commerce in your city or area. If you are a startup of launching a totally new product, it’s a good option. They usually have a lot of information they give for free, or for reasonable prices.
  • Study your competitors – if your product has a direct competitor, observe their audiences. Try to notice where they are, which channels, how their ads look like, who is commenting on their social media channels, what platform they use. All these will give you a pretty good indication about your audience as well.

When you are studying these audiences, keep in mind not only the “who”, but also “how many”. Make sure the channel you end up choosing is a place where your ideal customers come in sufficient number to justify your expenses.

Now that you know how does your ideal customers look like and behave in the digital landscape, you can make decisions about what kind of messages or ads you need to create, where to place them and in general how to set up your digital campaigns.

Main takeaways

  • Your digital marketing campaigns will have a better chance of succeed if you target your ideal customer.
  • Without knowing your audience you will spend your money inefficiently. Possibly with little to no conversions. Remember: likes are nice, orders are better.
  • Determining who your audience is will affect all your other decisions in digital marketing. Without knowing in detail who your audience is and where to find it, you’re just shooting in the dark wasting time and money.

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