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How to Learn About Your Target Audience (5 Ways) by@syedbalkhi
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How to Learn About Your Target Audience (5 Ways)

by Syed BalkhiJune 15th, 2022
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Gathering customer data is easier than you think. Email surveys, social listening, analytics analysis, and live events can streamline this process and help you build concrete buyer personas.

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Do you want to learn more about your audience? If so, you’re in the right place. 

Without our customers, none of us would be where we are today. You need a strong relationship with your target audience if you hope to raise awareness and grow your brand.

Despite how important this element is to our success, very few people make a serious effort to gather actionable data from their target audience. This decision could cost your business money, time, and resources. If you don’t know the specific goals and pain points of the people visiting your site, how can you expect to deliver relevant content and products?  

I’ve learned a lot about our customers over the past decade. Along the way, I’ve made many mistakes and uncovered plenty of valuable lessons. 

Today, I want to share what I found by going over five practical ways you can learn about your target audience and create actionable customer segments

Let’s begin! 

Send Surveys to Email Subscribers

One of the easiest ways to quickly gather information about your audience is to send an email survey to your subscribers. Surveys are an excellent tool for discovering how you can add value to your product and improve your customers’ lives. 

You’ll get more from this technique if you create targeted user surveys based on each person’s preferences. For example, an online clothing retailer might ask customers who bought footwear a few questions about what they look for in a pair of shoes. 

This example is one small piece of a bigger puzzle. The same company would likely send similar surveys to people who bought dresses, suits, or accessories. Once the marketing team compiles this information, they can start building customer segments. 

When you think about it, this strategy makes sense. An impressive 67% of marketers say they plan on using customer data to improve email sales. If you’re in this boat and already need to gather data for personalization, why not use this same information to learn about your audience? 

Use Social Listening

You can also learn a lot about your audience by spending some time on social media. Around 4.62 billion people use sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, and that number increases every year. Couple this statistic with the fact that the average person spends nearly 2 and a half hours on social media daily, and it’s easy to see how skipping this step could cost you valuable user data. 

Social listening is the key to turning user chatter into informative data. Essentially, social listening involves tracking industry conversation, competitor reviews, and brand mentions. Once the information is collected, you have to analyze what you found to make smart, customer-centric decisions. 

Another critical element of social listening is it factors in both the engagement and the sentiment behind it. For instance, a business owner may see that their latest post got twice as many comments as their previous posts. At face value, that sounds like a good thing! But if you have double the comments because you shared misleading statistics and people are upset, then the sentiment behind the engagement is poor.

I recommend using social listening to see what people are saying about your brand in Facebook Groups or on relevant Twitter hashtags. You can learn a lot about what users expect from your product or service. 

Host Interactive Q&A Sessions

Live question and answer (Q&A) sessions can help you connect with your audience in real-time and learn about their needs. There are numerous customer research and growth opportunities available through this strategy. 

For starters, live events are more fun and engaging for your audience. Considering that over 90% of people say they’d like to see more interactive content, it’s not hard to imagine how this will help your brand grow. 

Furthermore, 43% of consumers say businesses don’t produce enough video content. A question and answer video can pull double duty because it acts as a semi-permanent piece of video content and allows you to talk directly to prospects and existing customers. 

If your goal is to gather more customer data, encouraging attendees to ask the right questions is pivotal to your success. One way to guide the conversation is to hold themed sessions. For instance, you could have a video one week that’s strictly for email marketers, while next week’s event is focused on helping social media marketers. 

Targeted Q&A sessions, with the proper marketing, ensure you can reach the correct audience and learn more about their goals and industry roadblocks. 

Review On-Site Analytics

Odds are, you have an analytics tool on your website that you can use to add the finishing touches to your customer profiles. This strategy is one of my favorites because you can scope your research based on your intentions. 

Let me give you an example so you can see what I mean. I may decide to check out our most popular posts so I can learn the core reasons people visit our website. Now, I might start by looking at an overview of our top content since our site launched. But maybe I want to dig a little deeper. In that case, I could choose to narrow the scope and look at our top posts from the past year. 

This information helps us anticipate the needs of our audience well before our competition, which leads to us developing features and products while everyone else is still in the research phase. 

I suggest looking through your analytics at least once a week. You can get more value from this data by paying close attention to your audience demographics, popular blog posts, and highest-converting landing pages

Don’t Stop When You Have “Enough” Data

Finally, I want to talk about a mistake I’ve seen countless marketing teams and business owners make throughout the years. If you ever think you have “enough” data on your audience, get that thought out of your head immediately. 

Your audience will change, sometimes drastically, based on their individual needs and the evolution of the industry. Consistently gathering data and engaging with your audience can help you stay on top of the latest trends. 

The tips I mentioned today will work for your brand as long as digital marketers and consumers can still meet online. My final bit of advice is this; don’t be afraid to try new ways to gather feedback and keep your audience interested in your brand. There are countless ways to stay in touch with your visitors. Experimenting with new methods could help you unlock the next chapter in your customer research journey.