A fast Google search will show you that everyone advises you to learn more about your target audience, but nobody actually tells you how to accomplish it. You could have some basic inquiries like:
- So, tell me, what exactly should I be looking for?
- Could you provide any good references for me to look into?
There has to be a combination of interpretative observations and objective testing and non-refutable data, as is the case with most research efforts. When studying customers, your objective should be to gain an understanding of not only the statistical representation of a group, but also the nuanced intricacies of an individual buyer and their thought process.
I've put together a list of seven simple techniques for researching your target audience to get you started. I include both free and fee-based options, as well as those available exclusively online. Leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments area below if you've had success with an approach or feel that something is missing.
Chat to your customers?
You'd think this would go without saying, but how many of you actually engage in conversation with your clientele? Customers that have already invested in your product or service and are easy to get in touch with are gold. Customer interviews are a fantastic way to learn about the decision-making process of your target audience and to collect material for a case study. One simple technique for capitalising on new connections is to ask follow-up questions regarding the buyer's journey after the first encounter has concluded.
IDEA RELATED TO THIS: Prospective consumers can be surveyed or focus groups can be held in addition to regular one-on-one conversations with customers.
In this day and age, it's simpler than ever to put our material through its paces, and we must. Because it provides numeric insights into what works and what doesn't for your prospects, this will naturally improve your conversion rates. It's important to try out multiple media while also experimenting with things like message, frequency, and headline testing. Which content types have the highest ROI? To take things even further, A/B test content with audiences at various points in the purchasing cycle.
In order to learn more about potential customers, are you capitalising on their return visits to your site? Then you really should. Many businesses now rely on marketing automation software to provide prospective customers with regular, relevant information. But some businesses are going the extra mile by employing a method called "progressive profiling" to learn more about potential customers over time. This is great for potential customers since it simplifies their life. A user simply has to provide a few bits of information each time they make a download (which are automatically stored in the CRM or marketing automation system). It's a great chance for the marketer to look for patterns in the information the leads have given them over time.
Analyse your website's stats
You have a wealth of information at your disposal through web analytics; how are you putting it to use to get insight into your customers? Consider the following questions:
- When people come to your site, what do they often do?
- From where do they originate?
- While they're there, where do you recommend they go?
- When do you expect them to leave?
- Which types of media are the most widely consumed?
- Can you infer anything about your clients' stages of the purchase process or the kind of content that perform well for them based on these trends?
CONNECTED THOUGHT: Google's keyword tool can help you identify how potential customers are framing their problems.
Assess your competition
You and your consumers both have more data at your fingertips than ever before. The research and case studies that your rivals have produced can provide valuable insights into their target audiences. Studying their case studies might shed light on who your buyer is and why they went with a rival company.
CONNECTED IDEA In addition to monitoring the rivalry, it may be beneficial to keep up with industry analyst blogs and publications.
Use Social Networks
Find niche professional networks where your target customers hang out outside the big ones like LinkedIn. You may learn a lot by actively participating in and listening to these networks. You may learn more about your prospects' everyday struggles and triumphs, and in many cases you'll even be able to pose questions to the group and get honest, in-depth replies. Using these networks is a fantastic method of supplementing the information you already have on individuals by revealing the extent to which they are linked to others inside their own businesses or among their personal networks.
Go to Events
This may be the most apparent piece of advice, but I don't believe enough people follow it. At events, you may learn a lot about potential customers:
- Talk to possible purchasers.
- Gain valuable knowledge through panels and speeches, as well as the audience's responses to speakers' questions.
- Find out what your potential customers are up to (what technologies or methodologies they are using)
- Explore the approaches taken by rivals towards clientele.
Can you think of anything else to add to this list?