It’s marketing 101—define your audience. If you don’t know who your target audience is, and know the in and out of their behavior and motivations, you’ll never be able to create an effective marketing campaign to reach and influence them. It sounds like a simple enough concept to understand, yet a lot of companies think that they can just transition what they know about their audience’s offline behavior to their online marketing tactics and everything will just fall into place. This isn’t always the case.
Here are 3 things to take into consideration when trying to underdstand your target audience:
1. What they use the Internet for
Does your target audience use the Internet for work or for play? Have the search engines become their go-to-place for ideas and information or are it mostly for emailing? Why is your audience online in the first place? You have to remember that different generations have different attachments to the Internet. Gen Y practically grew up with the Internet and few can remember a time without it. How they view and use the Internet can differ greatly from their Baby Boomer parents. If your target audience combines multiple generations, you can’t assume that what works for one will work for them all. Internet marketing is not a one-size-fits-all thing.
2. Familiarity with social networks
Social networking is the latest and greatest offshoot of the Internet, but not everyone approaches it the same way, even within the same generation. For some, sites like Facebook are just places to keep in touch with old friends. Others have turned social networking sites into the hub of their social lives, both online and off. Does your target audience use Twitter? Are they part of the “linkerati,” the driving force behind a majority of Tweets being sent or just casual users? A vast majority of Americans have some social profile, but what is your target audience doing with theirs? Just about every company can benefit from having a social media presence, but if you want to have any success with your social media marketing, you need to know what your audience is doing on those sites!
3. Where they spend most of their time online
Is the Internet your target audience’s go-to news source? Is it how they stay in touch with family and friends? Do they watch TV online? What are the sites that your target audience loves to visit? What blogs are popular among your target audience? Do they participate in forums or on peer review sites? You can’t effectively reach your target audience if you don’t know where they hang out online.