One of the most telling pieces of a business’ approach to marketing is in the way they come at their audience. Everyone talks about a “target audience,” but how many really know what that means? For a lot of small businesses, it’s all guesswork. They only think they know who their audience is, or they cast the widest possible net and hope something sticks.
These days, you don’t HAVE to guess anymore. There are infinite numbers of analytics interfaces that can show you, point-for-point, exactly who’s looking for you and who’s sticking around. There’s much more to it, of course, like having a website design people actually peruse for more than ten seconds, or a clear path that leads to conversions. Once you have the building blocks in place, you should be able to figure out who your target audience is without too much trouble.
Here are a few methods to help you find your audience.
1.) Who’s responding to you? When you post a blog, use social media, or send out emails, who’s responding? If you answered “no one,” you’ll need to rework your approach, but hopefully you’re getting some level of response to the lines you’re casting out. Those people are expressing interest in what you’re pitching. Take note of their commonalities in order to better target. So long as your message is on point, (related to your business as opposed to cute kitten pictures), then you’ve got something to go on.
2.) What’s bringing people to your business website? Your analytics should tell you everything you need to know about the key words and phrases that your viewers are interested in. You also need to pay attention to the duration of time they spend on your site. If they come for the term “women’s shoes” but leave almost immediately, you’re either targeting incorrectly or your website doesn’t sell women’s shoes.
3.) Where do they live? Google recently introduced a new format for Google+ that combines business listings, G+ business pages, and Google Maps into an analytics platform that shows you where your business visits are coming from by zip code. That’s a pretty powerful tool. Are your website visitors coming from your target areas? Is there a city listed you’d never considered before? Maybe it’s time to boost your advertising in that area!
4.) Don’t get caught up in who you think your target audience SHOULD be. Worry about who your audience IS. Several successful businesses have set out targeting one demographic only to discover their service or product is often utilized by an entirely different group. Rather than continuing to ignore that demographic because they weren’t the original “intended” target audience, cater to them, too.
Sometimes none of this seems to make sense and you can’t make heads or tails of your analytics. That’s where professional guidance can help. If you’re flying blind, you’re not doing right by your business, or yourself. Locating your target audience is crucial to your success. Don’t miss out on increasing your business through more sophisticated targeting!
Stephanie Wargin is the Social Media Strategist at Zenergy Works, a web design and SEO company located in Santa Rosa, California. She creates digital media campaigns for a variety of clients to better optimize their social media properties. Her friends like to brush her hair into her eyes whenever she talks about Facebook.