The key to any successful marketing strategy is a clear understanding of your target audience. This should be your first and, arguably, most important step, as this will determine the most appropriate marketing plan with regards to content, social, search engine optimisation and design.
Research has found that audiences are more drawn to marketing that is personable and shows the ‘human’ side of a business. Despite this, many marketers make the mistake of guessing what their target audience will want to see, without actually listening to them. This leads to an uninformed, ineffective strategy that loses valuable time, money and, eventually, customers.
So, how can you ensure that you are listening to your audience effectively when developing your marketing strategy?
Whilst it may be a direct approach to understanding your audience, it is also one of the most effective ways to learn what they want to see, directly from the source. A survey will give you the opportunity to question a selection of your target audience, find out their challenges, requirements and, ultimately, what they look for in a company like yours.
Surveys are an effective way to listen to both a prospective audience and current customers. They will allow you to continually improve and amend your services, in line with expectations, therefore increasing retention rates.
Monitoring and analysing your analytics closely will go a long way in helping you to develop a strategy that answers what your audience wants to see, thereby increasing conversions. These figures can be found in any number of marketing activities, from website traffic and social media data, through to email open rate and click throughs.
Use this invaluable data to pinpoint where your customers are engaging the most, and to inform the rest of your marketing activities. For example, if a blog has had a great deal of interest on your website over a period of time, work this into your social media and email marketing strategy.
Social listening is the ideal way to find out what your target audience is saying about your industry and, of course, your brand online. Seeing where your brand lies amongst competitors and as a whole will go a long way to inform your overall marketing strategy. This is not to look at the numbers side of your social activity, but to see how audiences react and, what Hootsuite calls, the social media sentiment (i.e. the mood of your audience). Take a look at Hootsuite’s helpful guide on social listening here.
With many people taking to social media to air their grievances or praise of a company, it is vital that you keep track of what is being said, so that you can engage with your audience that has actively mentioned your brand, whether positively or negatively.
Listening to an audience effectively will play a key role in any successful marketing activity, and therefore it should form the basis of any strategy.