More than ever before, your business’s success is highly dependant on how you position yourself in relation to your target audience.
Before you even start developing your digital strategy, it’s important to understand to who, where, and when you need to communicate your message.
When it comes to the data you collect about your audience it can be split into three main categories.
Demographics are about details such as their gender, age, profession, marital status, income level, number of children, education, religion, family size, ethnicity, nationality, social class, the industry they are working in.
This first layer of information helps to draw a sketch about your audience but is not enough.
The psychological aspects help you go deeper into your audience’s personality. These include details such as their activities, their interests, opinions, values, lifestyles, personality.
Your audience will resonate based on your values and beliefs but also with your tone and language style you are going to use in your marketing strategy.
Behavioral data will help you understand what is the best time and place to deliver your message.
These are details such as brand preferences, what online platforms and apps, for how long, and when they use them.
Audience Research Example
Let’s say that your audiences are broadly office workers within the age range of 18-24. You notice that your competitor is producing content, but they have a low engagement rate on their platforms.
Upon research, you find that the competitor is using the language of the older office worker rather than using a language more appropriate to the culture and lifestyle of an 18-24 age range.
Following this, you decide that to stand out among your competition, you need to create content using a language and style more relevant to the younger audiences.
Now, let’s break down our audience research into two main categories: Cultural Research and Competitive Research.
Cultural Research reveals more about the nuances of your audience. It’s beneficial for two main reasons. You can better understand what is your audience already familiar with and most importantly, what to avoid when planning and producing the content.
Here are 5 aspects to cosider in relation to the cultural aspects of your audience.
1. Geographic Influences
This refers to the communication nuances due to the geographic location of your audience. If you want to reach both an American and a UK audience, you will not use the same type of language style or even the same type of promotional material.
2. Influential Figures and Movements
This is about the historical and present public figures and movements that have on a region, city, country. This information helps you come with unique ideas to make the content more familiar and relevant to your target customers.
For example in the UK, you might think of The Beatles having a big impact on society, whilst in Africa, we have Nelson Mandela as an important figure.
3. Language and Images
The images and language style your audience is using to communicate will help you understand how to effectively communicate with them through content.
Do they react more to memes than to simple images? Or they prefer GIFs? Are they more formal or more informal in their language?
4. Historic and Current News
These data points can be a valuable source of content creation that is not just relevant to your audience’s interests but it also comes at the right time for them.
Basically, you check what are the big news in your industry and you create topical content around that.
5. Cultural Rules and Morals
These are the cultural nuances that you need to aware of. They can boost your brand image but they can also break it.
One example is religious-based rules such as diet restrictions. Other might be brand preferences/dislikes such as Sony being associated with anti-gay prejudices.
Conducting competitive research will offer you one extra layer of valuable information about your audience relative to your competition.
It helps you shape a more defined picture of your audience and to better develop the course of action to reach them.
Here are 3 aspects to be consider when researching your audience.
What digital strategy is my competition using? What strategy did they use before? These questions will reveal information about what your competition is doing in their strategy.
Knowing on what sites, groups, on what social media platforms, and what language style are competitors using you avoid doing exactly what your competition is doing.
The idea is to fill in the gaps in their strategy by implementing them on your own digital marketing strategy.
2. Target Market
As above, doing research on the target market of your competition will help you communicate with an audience that the competition is not.
For example, maybe your competition is selling cakes for birthdays targeting an audience with an age range of 18-24.
Rationally, you want to first test the untapped audience with an age range above 24 and see how that converts.
This kind of insight will have an impact on the language style, content topics, on what sites to post, and how you will advertise and allocate your budgets.
When planning your content style and type of language you want to be different and have a unique voice compared to your competitors. That’s why you’ll want to research the type of language your competitor is using in their content.
This post was meant to make you familiar with audience research and some concepts of it.
If you want to dive deeper there are others that have done a better job than I can do in this post.
To learn more about it I recommend you some extra readings.
Audience Research Tools
If you can afford it check out this post to learn about best paid tools for audience research in.
For using free tools to conduct audience research check this post from Neil Patel.
Too many create the same type of ads and content that is too generic and not creatively contextualized around the audience’s interests and behavior. That’s one reason why ads on social media don’t work as well as before.
Know your audience like you know your best friends. Then you can create content that matters to them. And only then they will buy from you. They will buy because they trust you, not because your ad or product looks glossy.