Do You Really Know Your Audience Profile or Do You Just Think You Do?

Second Step – Audience Profile 

Audience Profile

 

Nailing your audience profile is the second step in getting you and your marketing ready for 2015!

Last week, you learned that knowing WHY you are doing what you do is important and that you need to share your WHY with your audience.

But WHO is your audience?

Also known as your Persona, your target audience or your ideal customers.  It’s the same no matter what you call it.

In a nut shell,:

Your audience is group of people WHO are most likely to be interested, want, need whatever it is you have to offer. 

Identifying your audience profile can seem very confusing.  That’s because everyone who talks about Personas and audiences comes at it from a different perspective and use different tools.

Profiling an audience has also become more complicated with the Internet.  But, more than ever;

you HAVE to KNOW your audience – if you want to succeed.  

Before we dive into how, we should address one giant mistake many business owners make.

They assume that EVERYONE is their audience.  NOT TRUE!

Never has been true and is definitely not true today!

People have many, many choices.  Unless you are the only person selling something that everyone wants, you have to accept that there are some who just won’t want what you have to offer.

And that’s fine.

You want to reach those who already want what you have to offer and be so enticing they can’t refuse.

Three Audience Profile Tools to Use

You have three tools to help you profile your audience.

But first, it may help to put this ‘audience’ concept into some context so you understand how we got where we are.

Back in the ‘50s times were simpler.  Big consumer companies like P&G were the first companies to take a systematized approach to profiling their audiences.  It and others began using demographics to slice and dice the people they wanted to reach.

Household profiles (e.g. age, marital status, household income, etc.) determine one’s audience.

P&G targeted the stay-at-home women for soap.  GM went after the men for cars.  Media was limited and a marketer could reach large swathes of consumers.

With more and more products, audience profiling became more sophisticated.

In the ’70s through the ’90s, competition for the consumer’s dollar grew.  Cable and more magazines came on the scene creating smaller audience segments. This is when psychographics became another tool in the marketer’s tool box.

Psychographics dives deeper.  It is the study of attitudes, goals, wants, needs, beliefs, and perceptions.  It provides a richer understanding of your Persona.  You begin to understand what motivates them and how they perceive you and your products.  It also requires more questioning and studying of your audience.

Then the Internet came into our lives.  Mini audience segments were created with more choice (e.g. cable, internet, blogs, videos, podcasts, online news sites, social media, etc.).

Face it.  No one can consume all of the information and marketing messages that are being pounded into them every day.  Which is why, today, people can and do tailor their media consumption, making it more difficult for you to reach them.

The Internet also introduced ‘big data’, which is all about tracking behavior (e.g. purchases, types of products purchased, days of the week, time of day, number of clicks, page views, shares, likes, etc.).

Additional Wrinkles

To complicate it a bit more, people change.  Their attitudes shift and with those shifts drive their consumption or lack of consumption.   You have to keep studying your audience so you are ahead of these shifts.

Where they once may have been brand loyal, the overabundance of choices has made them less loyal.

Plus the Internet has flipped the tables.  Where marketers used to be able to ‘control the message’, consumers now do.

And, as there is more and more to consume, people spend less and less time consume what doesn’t grab them immediately.

How Do You Id Your WHO?

You profile your audience by using all of the tools at your disposal.

Note:  If you have already walked through this process, walk through it again.  Make certain you are still in touch with your audience and they with you.

Start with the demographics of your audience.  Most likely you product or service already defines the age, gender, income, etc. of your audience.

If you’re a local business, then you may want to zero-in on specific neighborhoods that match your demographic profile.

But you don’t want to stop there.

Due to a decrease in attention spans, you have to touch your audience in an emotional, powerful way.  You might be entertaining, informative, or shocking.  But to do this, you have to uncover their psychographics.  What makes them tick?  How do they feel about things that revolve around your product? How can you make them feel?

You can use demographics to guess at  how your audience feels, but the best way is to ASK.  Talk to your customers and they will tell you what you need to know.

Next, you want to evaluate your online results to uncover their behaviors.

Evaluate your email subscribers and your newsletter results.

Where are they online? Are you connecting with them through your social media accounts?

Which posts or newsletter topics get their interest?

What does your Google Analytics tell you about your website?

Which pages are pulling visitors in?

How can you optimize these pages to pull in more (e.g. an in-depth ebook, a PowerPoint for Slideshare, turn it into a video, etc.)?

Not certain you can do this?

Then use my Buyer Persona Workbook & Template. It’s free and it will get you started.

Bottom Line

Defining and keeping on top of shifts in your WHO is the way your business will grow and keep your competitors at bay.

It also simplifies every business decision you need to make.  All you need to ask yourself is:

What does my audience want?

Use the three tools – demographics, psychographics and online data – to track your customers.

If your connection is not as strong as you would like, consider shifting your communications messages – making it stronger or more frequent.  Consider adding some programs, promotions or contests for 2015 to get them re-energized about you and what you offer.

Remember:

It’s not their job to find you. It’s your job to find your audience.

Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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