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In the age of search marketing, personalisation and relationship-building are key. Added to that, the growing complexity of today’s customer journey means that understanding your audience is a vital first step towards a successful search marketing strategy, whatever your business’ size or sector

To attract visitors, increase brand awareness, convert leads and increase return on investment (ROI), you need to adopt techniques that will engage advertising-savvy, time-poor, multichannel and multi-device using individuals.

You can’t rely on assumptions…

Creating meaningful, authentic, lasting connections with your customers is impossible without first understanding your audience. The growing complexity of today’s customer journey means that thorough research is a vital first step towards a successful search marketing strategy. The aim is to offer high quality content in a relevant context to create a rich, personalised experience.

This requires thorough research into your target audience using analytics tools such as Google Analytics, and by studying their online behaviour:

  • How and when they use the internet
  • The search terms they use
  • The way they interact with your content
  • Their social media activity

The best way to start this research is by defining your target audience through the creation of customer personas.

In order to attract your target audience to your site, you need to engage them with irresistible content that inspires them, educates them, and provides answers to their questions. But first you need to define your target audience – their characteristics, behaviour and interests – by creating customer personas – fictional representations of your ideal prospects and customers. These are tools specific to your own business, so can be as in-depth or as brief as you need them to be, and as formal or informal (as the examples below demonstrate).

Consumer personas should be entirely dynamic, open to change based on the data you discover during the investigation process, however, it is important for you to have at least sketched an outline to build on, and here’s how.

Target demographics

This will feed back into many other areas of your strategic planning, so it’s a good area to start with. Whatever service you provide will fall into a few generic types – whether it is ‘female marketing managers 25 – 50’, or ‘house husbands 30 – 40 based in the South East’, knowing the audience you’re pitching at will begin to give you an indication as to how to satisfy their needs with the services or products you provide.

Goals and challenges

What are your ideal customers’ values and objectives, personal and/or professional (depending on whether your business operates a B2C or B2B model)? What motivates them and what frustrations do they face? This can help you to identify and improve the way you solve problems for your customers and prospects.

You could also include traits such as attitude and behaviour, or even a phrase they might use and complaints they might have, for example, “I know quite a bit about recruitment, but further guidance would reassure me”, or “I can never find the right swimwear for my body shape”. It can also be useful to think about what they don’t want.

Analysing Google Analytics data allows you to:

  • Identify the type of content that most engages your audience.
  • Identify opportunities for improvement where you’re not meeting the needs of customers.
  • Take the guesswork out of enhancing the ROI of your digital marketing activity.
  • Plan how time and budget should be distributed for maximum impact, helping to inform your future planning.
  • Ensure each piece of content you craft provides valuable information that is centred around the needs of your audience and tailored to their position in the buying cycle.

The digital age offers the ability to vastly improve demographic and interest targeting, but to take advantage you need to thoroughly understand who your audience and what they want.

Treat audience research as an ongoing process; it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse to pick up on emerging trends, find inspiration and act on new opportunities. Every piece of information you can gather about your audience is gold dust.

This eBook provides a practical strategy for building up a full and accurate picture of your target audience, so that you can engage them with a meaningful, relevant marketing campaign that gets real results.

Who should download Understanding Your Digital Audience? Any online marketer who wants to improve the quality of their leads, increase conversions and see growth in their ROI.

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