How Do You Reach Your Target Audience?
In order to reach your target audience, you need to answer some questions.
Whom are you trying to reach?
Before you answer, consider that wanting to reach everyone or anyone is not an effective strategy. Your time is important and valuable (as is your audiences), so think about who it is you want to reach and will be able to help.
- Where do they live
- What are their ages
- What do they do for work
These types of questions will help you figure out how to best communicate and reach your ideal audience. You will likely reach people outside this zone as well, however, this group of people is your best bet for success and effectiveness. Understanding the demographics of your audience such as Age, Sex, Location, Kids, etc. allows you to figure out your approach in a way that will best reach them.
Where do they spend their time online?
It is important to understand where your audience spends their time online. Will you find them on Facebook? Instagram? Do they subscribe to blogs or newsletters? If you have a current audience you can send a survey asking questions to find out about their top 5 favorite websites, social media platforms they like to use, and/or what search engine they prefer. These are some examples of questions you can ask to better get to know them. If you don’t have a current audience, you can set up a service such as Quantcast that will help you collect anonymous information that helps you create a picture of your audience. Once you know how they spend their time online and where they like to spend it you can create content that will best suit them.
How do they access the web?
Does your audience prefer a desktop/laptop computer? Mobile? Tablet? While your site design should be responsive and mobile/tablet friendly there are types of content that work better in some formats than others. It’s important to know how your audience prefers to access the web so that you can make sure your content is easily accessible to them.
What is your audience craving?
What do they want or need? Is your audience wanting entertainment? Do they want to learn how to do something? Are they looking to be informed? These are important things to know and understand about your audience.
Do they want their information on the go or something in-depth? In the Content Rules by Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman it is mentioned that there is a very narrow window, often about 8 seconds according to some reports, that you have to engage with an audience member before he or she clicks away. A great headline can help catch their attention but you have to know what they want in order to keep their attention and engagement on that page.
This is another time where you can survey your audience to find out about their needs. Give them 4-5 options to choose from of topics and see which comes out highest. Also, find out how they want to consume their content- video, text, podcast; what format do they prefer. This saves you time and energy from trying to guess what they want and creating multiple formats that you might not need.
What do you want them to do?
Many times, people don’t have a clear answer to this question. “I want them to visit the site.” That statement alone isn’t building a relationship with your audience. View your content as playing a part in developing a deeper relationship with your audience. One of the guidelines in Content Rules is that good content always has intent. It drives action. That action may be:
- Signing up for a newsletter
- Downloading an e-book
- Making a purchase
- Liking a Facebook Page
- Attend a webinar
- Hire you
There is a purpose to the content that is leading them to an action. This helps you develop trust and authority with your audience which is a large part of making your site grow.
What content do you already have?
Do an inventory of what content you already have. This could be found in your online material, brochures, newsletters, press releases, bulletins, digital assets, old books, or even old customer communications. What do you have that can be repurposed or reimagined to something new? What do you have that can inspire you to create content?
Answering these questions is not easy and if they are easy you may want to give it a second over to make sure you like your answers and that they are as detailed as possible.
How do I Measure Success?
Once you know who it is you are trying to reach, how you are going to reach them, what they need, and what you want them to do- you need to know how to measure the success of your efforts.
Often, people create goals that aren’t quantifiable. Their goals look like:
- Reach a lot of people
- Generate a buzz online
- Have a video or post go viral
- Get a celebrity or A-List influencer to talk about us
While that may be your goal it’s impossible to measure and isn’t truly a goal. When setting your goals you want them to be S.M.A.R.T. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Examples of SMART goals:
- Generate 100 mentions of our product/service online in 30 days
- Have a total of 5,000 views on our video across YouTube and Instagram in a month
- Increase Facebook Followers by 15% in 2 months
See the difference? These goals allow you to look for something specific, that you can measure (allowing you to tweak if needed), they are attainable, relevant to you, and are time-specific.
The first set of example goas are vague and subjective. The second set are clear and allow you to objectively determine if you hit them. Knowing if you met your goal or not can then lead you to figure out what worked great and what didn’t work so well so that you can make the necessary adjustments and move forward. Many times, people go around in circles with things that aren’t working because they don’t set measurable goals and figure out if they are working or not.
Ways to Measure Specific Content Types
- Comments- Are people interacting with your comment section? This can help you understand how engaged your audience is with your content
- Social Validation- Is your content being liked and shared through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or other social channels? It is important to make ‘share’ buttons easily accessible on your blog so that your content can be easily shared on social platforms
- Inbound Links- These are the number of other sites that link to your site. It is a reflection of your site’s authority and reputation as the number of links coming into your content increases. It is worth mentioning though, that you want high quality links which is more important than a high number of low-quality links.
- Subscribers- The number of people that subscribe to get your blog through RSS feed or an email newsletter that sends your latest content to them automatically.
Media- Photo and Video
- Views- Keep track of the number of views that you receive on your photo or videos
- Likes, Favorites, Saves- Having your audience like your content or save your content through social platforms is social validation, in a sense showing a “vote” for your content.
- Sign ups and Attendees- look at how many people registered for your event and how many of them showed up to take part in the event. You can also look at how many people viewed in later on-demand.
- Downloads- How many people downloaded a copy of your offered e-book