Tag Archives: Target Audience

Creating Your Online Tribe

There’s always a lot of talk about building your online community, but what does that actually mean? How do you do it? What exactly IS an online community, and why do you need one?

Think of your current and potential customers as a sort of fan base. For big music and movie stars, fans will follow their work, look for information about them, even share stories and pictures of them online. They do this because they get something out of their “relationship” with the star… entertainment, usually. Having the inside scoop makes them feel special. They develop an attachment. Once the attachment is there, the star can expect those fans to support them via word of mouth and purchasing their products – movies, music, books, and more.

How the heck do you create the same sort of feeling about your business?

Online Community

It’s not easy, and it doesn’t work the same way for every business. An auto repair shop is going to have to utilize a different approach than an energy drink company. The first step is to provide your customers with something they can care about. There are a few ways to do this:

• Information
• Entertainment
• Common Cause
• Free Stuff

Which works for your business? If you’re a more buttoned-up company that can serve as an authority in your field, providing unique information in an easy-to-digest format can go a long way. More laid-back and “fun” businesses can go with something irreverent and entertaining. Energizing your base with something you all care about is another option (Childhood hunger? AIDS prevention? Local community?). Of course, free stuff through contests and sweepstakes will always attract a crowd, but make sure you give them a reason to stick around. Prizes always make better rewards for loyalty than incentives for joining.

Most importantly, you need to listen to your online community. Talk to them and pay attention to what they care about. They’ll almost always tell you what you should be doing if you’re willing to listen. Note that we don’t mean they’ll literally TELL you, just that their actions and responses will guide you in the right direction.

Don’t necessarily pay too much mind to what huge businesses are doing online. They have capital that you don’t have, and they have dedicated teams figuring out their stuff… but they also have massive ready-made followings. They could do pretty much anything and still have some sort of fan base to fall back on. When you’re starting from the beginning, you have to forge your own path. Make a note of the good ideas you see, but figure out how to scale them for your audience.

Now you need a rallying point. What’s something you know your audience can get behind that also ties in to your business? Maybe it’s a passion for fashion, or a desire to help people in need. Give them a platform to discuss, geek out, or otherwise fan the flames.

Finally, you need to create a plan. Communities aren’t built by accident. Keep your content fresh and updated. Respond in a timely manner. Block out time to dedicate to your online community building efforts. If you feel the need, attend a conference or consult with a professional.

And for goodness’ sake, have fun!

Stephanie Wargin is the Social Media Strategist at Zenergy Works, a web design and SEO company located in Santa Rosa, California. Her friends like to brush her hair into her eyes whenever she talks about Facebook.

Locating Your Target Audience

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.

target audience

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.