It’s a noisy world there.
Everywhere you look, you have social media content, digital ads, outdoor advertising (OOH) and more. Everyone wants your attention …
Your audience feels the same.
The more content your audience sees, the harder it is to break into that content. You need to have content that speaks to them, their needs, their concerns, and their aesthetics. If they connect to the content, they will stop scrolling.
What is audience research?
Audience research is exactly what it sounds like – you research your audience or target audience to determine their weak spots, preferred keywords, buying behaviors, and more.
Audience research can inform your branding, markets, pricing, customer service needs, as well as your organic and paid marketing strategy. This is crucial in creating a content strategy for your brand, because in order to create content that connects you need to understand who you are talking to.
So, how do you start an audience research? Let’s find out.
Depending on the lifecycle of your brand, you may start from scratch or already have an audience following you and already paying you. In this case, it’s important to distinguish that you have a target audience (the personas you’ve created that detail exactly who you want to talk to about your product or service) as well as the people you already work with. To be fair, these two groups can be the same, overlap, or be different. It is important not to assume here.
So who is your target audience? Have you created your personas? Determine the demographics, needs, pain points and more of your characters. Get into their heads and try to understand their situation when they are in the customer journey.
Do you already have an audience? Why not get to know them directly? Using primary research through surveys and interviews is a way to really get into your audience’s minds and determine ways to improve your product or service, content, and customer experience. It’s a good idea to use survey building software tools so that you can ask your audience the questions you want answered.
Will you be using social listening to see what people are saying about your brand? Social listening monitors social channels for comments or mentions based on specific brands, keywords or competitors in order to analyze and find trends for improvement or growth.
Because this information comes straight from the public, it’s an amazing opportunity to hear the good, the bad and the ugly straight from the source. You can see which keywords are used the most for your brand as well as sentiment.
Have a plan
Getting started with it all can seem overwhelming. Break down your goals for the research process as well as how you will use those results to inform your future strategies.
Start with a clear idea of your why. When it comes to audience research, your brand and your stakeholders may have different goals. Aligning the goals at the start will make the process easier as it will walk you through the questions you want to answer.
When it comes to your audience, you need to know what makes them tick. What influences them? What are their pain points? Create a list of the information you need. Be curious and don’t be afraid to dive deep into your audience and their behaviors.
What is their demographics? Do you know which social networks they spend time on or what types of content they enjoy online? Do they pay attention to reviews? And if so, is there a specific site they prefer for ads?
Once you have your list, you can begin to determine your source for that information. Will you be doing face-to-face or over the phone interviews? Would you rather send them a survey with a service like SurveyMonkey? For example, they can see their customers’ reviews and learn how to contact customers to make their overall experience more personalized and better.
Depending on how you want to reach your audience, it’s also important to determine the responsibilities in this regard. Who will create the surveys and analyze the results? Do you have a set schedule for how long you want to do the research and analysis?
Plus, you can use social listening to see what others are saying about your brand, industry, and competition. If you choose to use social listening, there are tools at all cost that can help you learn more. If you go this route, just like with your survey questions, be sure to consider the channels you will be monitoring as well as the keywords you want to research.
Another option for listening to your audience is to use a review platform. Claim your G2 profile today to leverage review data and better influence your awareness campaigns.
Use your data
You’ve created the surveys and have your answers. Got social listening word clouds and a list of social media comments, what now? It’s one thing to listen and understand your audience, it’s another to infuse that knowledge into your brand. How will you use this information to make a stronger, more audience-driven decision in your marketing efforts? How will you measure success once it is implemented? What are your KPIs?
First, look for trends. Do you see common responses from your audience? Do they tend to gravitate towards certain social media channels or content? Is there a common pain point?
Identifying audience trends can help you make decisions tailored to your target audience. If you know what they want, you can make sure you deliver it with your product, service, and / or content.
By understanding your audience, you can begin to determine what’s the best way to reach, engage, and convert them. Remember, however, that with this data, you can make assumptions about your customers, but you are not a medium. Good marketing means you can’t always predict your customers’ behavior. Great marketers keep testing to get you as close as possible.
The quest to better understand your audience never really ends. You won’t necessarily see success right away, but A / B testing is another way to see what your audience prefers. By placing different versions of content: blogs, social networks, subject lines in your emails, advertisements or website pages to your audience, you can continue to know what your audience wants and what they are engaging with.
Set periodic checks (monthly, quarterly, or annually) to review your sales, engagement, and social listening. Are things improving? Changing? Research and execution is wonderful, but you have to keep checking in and see how it affects your business.
Understanding your audience is part of building a relationship. People change. The economy is changing. You change. Research must continue.
You want to know more ? Check out our statistics on A / B software to find out how valuable this is for knowing audience preferences.