Knowing and understanding your audience is essential to any marketing strategy. There’s a ton of different marketing styles and strategies out there, sometimes it can be easy to get distracted and forget some of the fundamentals intrinsic to every strategy. From a practical standpoint, there are only a couple of techniques that are non-negotiable if you want your marketing campaigns to succeed every single time. One of the most if not the most important is, knowing your audience.

Businesses that don’t know who their audience is just “hope” marketing and really don’t stand a fighting chance to survive. Without knowing your audience, you won’t know what strategies or media outlets to utilize, and there’s no way you’ll know what messages to give them or how to nurture them before or after they become a customer.

In this article, we are going to cover 5 actionable ways you can develop a better understanding of your audience that you can implement right away.

Create a customer avatar

The customer avatar, also known as a buyer persona is a proven & tested technique used by businesses to better visualize their target customer. To market a product or service the right way, the first thing you must do is clarify WHO your ideal customer is, where are they hanging out, and what their biggest challenges are.

This is key because any part of the marketing and sales process that interacts with the customer (which is 99.9% of the time) will only get better when you get a clear understanding of your customer avatar. I mean is the person that’s going to be buying your product or service important? I’d so say!

Do your market research

Now it’s time conduct our thorough and diligent market research. You need to keep a record of everywhere your potential audience is congregating. Whether it’s blogs, podcasts, magazines, online forums or any other outlet that you feel your audience is hanging out; infiltrate it, engage with others in these communities, and really focus on building a connection with your potential customer from a humanistic standpoint. We do this so you can pinpoint their largest pain points and what their biggest desires are.

One common mistake with most market research is that we only look at one demographic that you think would be best. Learn to expand out to learn about complimentary niches, and see if there’s any interest for your product or service from other areas. This could be one of the most overlooked tactics though it’s arguably one of the most important to know your audience.

Build A Personal Connection With Your Clients

This is a great tactic, but it will only start working once you have some customers. When you’re working with a client individually, don’t rush it, take the time to really build rapport and connect with your client on a personal level.

Make sure you listen more than you speak, ask questions, and analyze how they speak differently from other demographics. What’s keeping them up at night? What are their biggest obstacles, and what gets them excited?

This may not work as well on a broad scale, but as you speak with more and more clients, you’ll start to see commonalities in their responses and you can use those to make your product or service better.

What are your competitors doing?

This is what we call an alternative method of market research. Doing competitor research can be beneficial but I also think focusing too much on what the competition is doing is distracting for a business. Here you want to pick 2–3 competitors that share the same target audience you do and conduct a complete audit.

Analyze their brand, their brand messaging, the different types of marketing strategies they’re using and what outlets they are utilizing. The reason we do this is that there’s always a chance your competitor doesn’t know what they’re doing, either, but at the very least, you can start cutting out what doesn’t work and that’ll give you more time to focus on what is working.

Conduct polls & surveys

Polls & surveys are definitely one of the most straightforward tactics to know more about your audience. We as marketers create a series of specific questions that will help us get to know everything & anything we want to know about our target audience and we send it out them to complete. It’s also pretty seamless to set up a poll or survey and start collecting feedback with free tools like Google Forms and SurveyMonkey.

Something to remember with polls and surveys, they’re best executed with some sort of incentive, whether it’s a prize or reward for participating.

Every one of these strategies we’ve discussed here will help you learn more about your target customer. Once you can understand things such as their behaviors, preferences, habits, and lifestyle we can ensure that you are putting the right message, in front of the right audience, at the right time.