If you're going to be targeting a new demographic, or researching your business for launch you need to know who your customers are. Obvious right?
These days though it's not simply a case of saying you're targeting teenagers in the UK, or mothers in London.
You need information, lots of information. It's time to get Sherlock and understand anything and everything about your ideal customers - that can give YOU the understanding of what they do, what they like, dislike, hate and hope for.
Get in their mindset. Structure your business and marketing around them and give yourself a competitive advantage.
This is audience profiling.
How to profile your audience:
Benchmarking with Google Analytics:
If you're already up and running you should have Google Analytics installed. From this you should be able to tell:
Where in the world your customers are. Work out what regions and what cities love you. You can access this at: Audience > Geo > Location > City
The age and gender of your customers. Find this at Audience > Demographics > Age / Gender
What device their finding you on. Are your visitors desktop fans, or finding you on the go with mobile? Find the answer on Audience > Technology > Browser & OS and Audience > Mobile > Overview
This shows your current audience. Now we're going to find your 'ideal' audience.
Your first port of call should be the Facebook advertising platform. Even if you're not planning on spending your cash with the social media giant it has a nifty tool for showing how many people it can serve ads to.
The best bit? You can narrow down your audience based on things like, Age, Gender, Location and Interests and Behavioural Patterns
So if I want to find everyone who might be interested in, lets says contents insurance for first time buyers I can find 2,500 people just around Exeter who fall into that category.
All in all, it should give you a damn good idea of if you're idea has a viable audience. Start researching them here.
Hubspot: Make My Persona
If you're going to be heavily focussed on understanding a B2B audience then Hubspot is the place to go to. With their Make My Persona tool you get to answer a range of questions from the point of view of your customer. Pretty simple to be fair.
It helps massively though with starting to understand where your clients are coming from. What are their pains? What do they have to report on to measure KPI's? How to do they need content to be structured. Short and visual or text heavy reports?
Lastly, my firm favourite when doing audience profiling is YouGov Profiler. It's made up of thousands of datapoints that people contribute via YouGov surveys to build up a picture of who likes what - and more importantly what they also like alongside this. It's not always 100% accurate, but it sure is worth looking through. (FYI - you'll need to sign up for a free account if you want to look at brands).
So let's take Downton Abbey for instance. The average viewer: female, age 55+ from the South West. Most people could probably guess that. But then we start digging a little deeper; they shop at Waitrose, prefer ITV to BBC, drive a Nissan car, likes Call the Midwife & Mr. Selfridge, looks at findmypast.co.uk, has probably seen the new film 'Suffragette'. Plus they have a thing for Take That.
The Demographics of Downton Abbey - YouGov Profiler
Why this is important? If you're marketing is targeting that demographic that's literally given you an ultimate source of things to write about via content marketing. Plus the right things to talking about on social media. No need for guesswork. The information is already there.
Bringing this all together...
If you ran through all three of the above tools you've probably got a bundle of information on your customers. But it's time to lay it all out and build up a picture of who your customer is. And keep in mind you're business doesn't always just have 1 single type of customer...
So, take a piece of paper-
Find an image of your ideal customer.
Give them a name, age and location.
Give them a back story - where have they come from?
Why would they be interested in your business?
What kind of device do they use to access the internet?
What kind of content do they enjoy? Viral videos? Or would they prefer technical guides?
Why would they choose you over a competitor?
Write it all the answers down and stick it up to remind you and anyone else working in your business who your customers are.
This helps to structure your advertising, alters your content and helps to know what you should include, exclude, emphasise and ignore when it comes to creating marketing which truly resonates with your audience. Whether it's for social media posts, or full on content marketing strategies it can all help.
Any Other Ideas?
This is still very much a working model for me at the moment so if you have any other ideas of ways to profile your audience then let me know! Add them in the comments below.