3 Considerations for Increasing Engagement With Your Content
Whoever you think is your target audience, make sure that they really are.
Image credit: Geber86 | Getty Images
January 20, 2017
When I was working at a dotcom startup, my company was so sure we had our target audience pegged down that we drew a wall-sized portrait of a representative individual -- a skateboarding male, 18-35 years old, who prefers to wear backwards hats and skater gear. All of our marketing efforts were tailored to serving this demographic, and more specifically, this person that was literally looking down at us every day.
Business was good, too. Our strategy was working. So when we partnered with a data collection company to do some simple research, we did a double take at their reports after a few months. Our audience was actually soccer moms, age 25-40, riding around in minivans with their kids.
We had worked so painstakingly to create a persona for young males that this rocked our worlds. But, in spite of ourselves and our complete whiff at figuring out our target audience, we were experiencing success. Once we found out we were actually a soccer mom brand, we kept our same marketing approach and only changed up a few featured items to match who was actually receiving our content.
Looking back, we were fortunate. We got by despite making a critical mistake early -- we assumed our audience without getting to know its true identity. This approach doesn’t work for the vast majority of companies. Our message happened to resonate with a particular audience, but when a marketing strategy doesn’t inspire a big response, many organizations blame the message instead of re-examining the audience.
There’s never a bad time to give yourself a gut check to make sure you’re talking to the right audience. Best case scenario, you’ll be validated for making excellent assumptions. Worst case, you’ll be way off, but you’ll have all the data you need to change course quickly.
The only proven method for discovering your real target audience is by talking to customers and potential customers. That much should be obvious. Finding out who they really are takes more than simple demographic surveys and yes/no questionnaires, however.
There are several different ways you can get to know your audience and some key questions that help shine a light on who they are. If you think you know your audience already, you should be able to answer these. If not, it’s time to sharpen your listening skills.
How does your audience like to receive content from you?
Knowing how your audience behaves is a great indicator of how they’d prefer you to behave as well. What type of content is your audience sharing, and what are the mediums they’re using to share it? Interacting with the right people isn’t difficult once you know where they are.