The key to any successful marketing campaign is understanding your target market. That way, you know what their interests are, what kind of people make up your market, and how your product or service can improve their lives. But if you don’t understand your market, it’s quite possible that all of your efforts will miss the mark.
Gaining that understanding is difficult. Market research can be a very expensive investment that you might not be able to pay for, but don’t worry; there are tools and resources available to you. The biggest source of information is your own personal data, especially from your website. All you have to do is understand and utilize your analytics software to draw meaningful conclusions the data.
Getting on the Right Track: Avoiding Stereotypes and Researching Demographics
Understanding your target audience is a long-term journey. Every great journey has to have a strong start though, so the first step has a major impact on everything else.
To start, what are the general demographics of your target market? This involves analyzing your products, the general people you want to sell to, and the demographics they typically belong to.
Start by looking at your sales information and combine it with third-party sources, like census data and general demographics. Who makes up the majorities of your current customers? Are they mostly male or female, how old are they, and do they reside mostly in urban or rural areas? All of this information is a springboard to learn more about them.
Gathering this kind of data is essential, especially if you plan to market to a worldwide audience. Multicultural marketing is requiring companies to target people with vastly different backgrounds than their own, which means understanding your audience is even more important. For example, somebody who grew in China might have very different buying habits than somebody who grew up in Wyoming.
Be careful of stereotyping your audience though. Many stereotypes are offensive or ineffective to the demographic they represent, and playing into them can seriously harm your marketing. Instead, look for trends in the data and utilize them to properly attract who you are looking for.
Page Traffic and Bounce Rates to Find the Right Topics
Next is determining what interests your target market and what pushes them away. Most traffic to your site will come from people searching queries into Google in hopes of getting answers. The content on your website hopefully is there to answer those questions and lead them to buying your product.
General traffic is one of the easiest data sets to see and make sense of. The more people are finding your site, the higher it goes. It shows that people are clicking on search results or links to your site.
Go deeper and analyze the traffic for each page on your site. Do specific pages get more traffic than others? Are there topics that always perform better than others? Is there a type of title or style of content that brings in more people? Determining what brings people in is the next step in building a good strategy.
Next, compare your traffic data with your bounce rate. This shows what percent of people come to a page on your site and leave without going to another page. This can mean two things: either the topic on the page wasn’t what they wanted/expected, or the call to action that leads to another page wasn’t interesting enough. To clear that up, look at the average time spent on the page. If the average time is really low, that probably means the page wasn’t what the visitors want, and a high time spent means they liked the content, but nothing pulled them to another page. Bounce rate can show what is working and what isn’t on your site, and is an often overlooked but very important data set.
This base can lead to understanding what topics, and especially what pain points, your target market has. These pain points are the things you want your content, and eventually your product, to solve. Find the trends between your high performing, and low performing, pages can guide on what pain points your audience has. Then, you can better address and target your content so it speaks clearly to your audience.
The Power of A/B Testing
Marketing requires a fair amount of experimentation, especially when it comes to learning about your target market. A/B testing is a good way to test out what works and have a baseline to compare your results to.
It’s possible to A/B test a variety of things, all with the purpose of better understanding, and thus better market to, your audience. This can include things like a title for a blog post, the layout for a specific page, different call to actions, or even the format the content comes in.
A/B tests are a great way to gather new data that is highly relevant to your business. It’s real data from the people engaging with your site, and this practice should be implemented whenever you want to make a change to your site. A/B testing it before fully committing to a change can give good impressions of how your audience will respond and prevent potential disasters.
Utilizing Data to Attract and Improve
Good marketers know that using data is the best way to plan future strategies. If you can’t back up a decision with data, you are taking a dangerous risk. Either find existing reliable data to back it up or do some research to test your theory.
Analyzing your data also needs to be a constant thing. Audiences are constantly shifting, and every product you release is for a slightly different group of people. Staying up-to-date and constantly improving your marketing requires staying on top of your audience, which means always looking at the data.
Use data as the base for your marketing decisions, then combine that with creativity, and you have a formula for success. Just be sure to do that work to understand your audience as much as possible by doing your research and analyzing your data.