What is the most important thing a business can do? I have spent a lot of time pondering this in the past. I think deep down I always knew the answer. But since you are always learning new things, it throws new possibilities into the mix.
However, I always seem to come back to this one essential task every business must undertake.
And that task is…
The building block of any business. Without customers. There will be no business.
Having a deep understanding of your audience is the one absolutely essential business requirement.
This blog looks at why this is so important and then gives you some tips to help increase your understanding of your target audience.
Why is understanding your audience so important?
Think of it this way. Your business is nothing without its customers. It’s not really even a business.
I just pulled this definition of business from Google.
‘The practice of making one's living engaging in commerce.’
There are a couple of parts that we can dissect from that definition. ‘Making one's living’ implies you must earn money. ‘Engaging in commerce’ implies that you must be selling or buying something.
Without having customers, neither of these things are going to happen.
If your customers are your business, then it is only logical that you know them like you know your business.
How to understand your target audience
This article argues that it is your customers’ needs that you need to know.
This is a common belief amongst most successful marketers and business people. It is your audience’s needs that you really target with your products or services. As, ultimately, it is their needs that really drives a purchase.
If a potential customer doesn’t believe that they need your products, then they are more likely not to buy it.
How do you figure out your customer’s needs?
The simple question to ask yourself here, is - what are their pain points?
Think about what is causing them hassle on a daily basis. Put it into context of how your product can help them solve these issues.
If you can figure out this match then you have successfully figured out your product market fit. With the right messaging and marketing strategy based around this information, you will soon start to see the sales rolling in. Making your business an actual business.
In order to figure out your customer’s pain points, you first need to figure out who your customers are.
How do you do this? The age-old practice of research of course.
Check out this blog on how to undertake any research in business. It might help you with this research task.
Who are my customers?
There are a few different methods that you can use to figure out who your customers are.
The first step is to evaluate who will potentially use your product or service. This shouldn’t be too difficult as I am sure you would have created the product with a user in mind.
What are the key characteristics of your ideal user?
What are their daily habits?
It is questions like these that will help you understand who your target audience is.
Check out this blog for a useful introduction on how to craft your customer persona.
Once you know a few basic details you can then start researching further. Here are some tools that will help.
Facebook Audience Insights
This tool from Facebook will allow you to target your audience based off what you already know about them.
You can then start to analyse some more information about them from what Facebook knows. Key demographics, the pages they like, location, to name a few.
From this, you can build up more of a picture of what your audience looks like.
There are a lot of things that you can do with Buzz Sumo. One of the uses is to discover the popular content within your industry.
You can search by a keyword to find the most popular content on the web, based off of social media engagement.
This will give you an idea on what your target audience is interested in. Helping to further develop your understanding of them.
This is one of my favourite tricks to use when trying to understand your audience’s needs.
Start by finding a product or service similar to yours. See if you can find any reviews on them. Amazon is a great place to do this.
If you are selling physical products then Amazon will no doubt have something similar to yours. If you are selling a service then check out books relating to your niche. For instance, you are a digital marketing agency, see books on digital marketing.
Now read the reviews. See what people like about the products and what they don’t like. A great trick is to read the bad reviews and understand why people thought the product was bad.
This is going to give you a fantastic understanding of your target audience’s needs and how to tailor your marketing message towards them.
There is nothing quite like primary research. It is not always obvious how you can conduct this.
Survey Monkey offers a tool for you to create surveys that anyone can answer. All you need to do is find an audience to answer it. This is slightly more tricky if you are just starting out with no list or customer base.
First, try using your social networks to promote your survey. Ask you friends to share it. You will find that people are willing to give you a hand.
You can also try posting on relevant forums where you know your audience hangs out. People are often willing to help here too.
To encourage people to fill in the survey, you can always create a giveaway, where one lucky person receives a prize.
Start increasing your understanding now
Don’t wait around.
If you are a new business starting out then understanding your audience should be one of your first steps.
If you are an existing business that thinks they could understand their audience better, then do it asap. There is no excuse for not understanding your audience.
There are plenty of actionable tips in this blog that you can take advantage of right now.
You will soon see the benefits that having a deep understanding of your target audience brings.
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