Knowing your target audience can make the difference between a company’s growth and downfall; from one-person startups to corporations, every business needs to understand who it’s products and services are most wanted by and what type of content their most valuable customers are interested in.
Content also serves multiple purposes in its numerous forms; copywriting on emails, for example, differs greatly from blog posts and webpages. Knowing your target audience will help your business improve its content and delivery across all platforms. You can start to define your audience by following these best practices.
Google Analytics is the most popular way to track your website’s traffic. Insights such as visitors’ location, gender, average age and interests. Using this information can help you make changes that reflect everything from your graphic design to verbiage; you can also begin to assess how different types of content are received by others.
Through analytics, you can start to solidify fundamental attributes about your target audience that will influence all your future content.
Perform A/B Testing
As you begin to collect information, you’ll need to test various types of content and determine which type your audience likes best. A/B testing compares two versions of the same content to determine which one performs better. Knowing this will help you narrow down your content’s most appealing qualities which, in turn, help clarify your target audience’s preferences.
A/B testing can be done for virtually anything, including website elements, graphics and blog post titles. Your A test will be your control group, and the B test will challenge the results. In other words, the A test helps you get a clear picture on how your audience currently responds to what you’re testing, and the B test helps you integrate changes that lead to more favorable results.
Create Customer Personas
You may not know who reads your content now, but you do know who your ideal reader is. Customer personas are fictional characters who you create and help you direct your content. They ask key questions like who looks for your company, what they want and why they need it.
Most businesses serve more than one type of person, so two to three customer personas can help you establish the values, desires and needs of your target audience. The content you produce as a result will reflect them and, in turn, resonate with real readers.
Run a Survey
Audience surveys give you direct feedback from the people you want to understand better. Rather than using analytics alone, you can receive insights from your existing audience. Surveys also give you answers to specific questions data alone can’t answer. Consider the following:
– What are their core values?
– What are they looking for?
– Who do they go to for advice?
– What content format do they enjoy the most?
– What is their favorite social media platform?
Be as specific as possible when you phrase questions, but keep surveys short. Rather than having to provide detailed responses, which may feel like a violation of privacy, use brackets for categories like age, education and job industry.
Track Your Website’s Engagement
Compile a monthly list of all your posts and see which ones performed the best and worst. After three or four months, distinct features will emerge that will help you fine-tune your content and understand what matters most to your audience.
Your engagement should be broken down into different key performance indicators (KPIs) such as:
– Click-through rates
– Bounce rates
– Time spent on page
Target audiences change, and their needs will evolve over time. Make sure that you integrate a strategy to continually stay in touch with what your customers want. The more in tune you are with your audience, the better you’ll be able to connect with them and achieve real results.