How to Find the Right Target Audience for your Business Blog
Imagine how much easier it would be if you could find the right target audience for your business blog. People who connect with your content, read your posts and subscribe to your newsletter, who download your offers and are happy to do business with you.
It is possible.
Understanding who those people are and what makes them tick, should be the first step in your blog marketing strategy.
How to find the right target audience for your business blog
Your target market may be vast say, ‘women 35-55 small business owners in Australia’, for example. You create blog posts you think your audience will be interested in, but you struggle to get the response you expect, particularly considering how much effort you put in.
You assume that they’d be interested to read your 1,500 word blog post on small business law, right? Not necessarily.
Assuming what your audience wants to read is a mistake.
Think about the blogs you read and why you read them. Chances are it’s because they target your specific problems and interests – they speak to you.
If your content isn’t providing value to your ideal prospects and clients (ie. answering their questions, addressing their needs), you’re taking the wrong approach to blogging for business and are unlikely to attract traffic or subscribers.
You can avoid this by better understanding your target audience.
Assuming what your audience wants to read is a mistake
When you know who your target audience are, you can focus on content that actually assists and, therefore attracts, the right people to your blog posts. These are the people who’ll benefit the most from using your products and services. And when you understand their problems, their interests and their circumstances you’ll be able to communicate more effectively because you’ll gain a deeper insight into what makes them tick.
Niche your target market to find the right audience for your business blog
One of the most common mistakes you can make in business, is to try and attract everybody. Because you won’t.
Trying to target everyone is a mistake
It’s a fact of life that your products and services will appeal to some people, but not to others. It’s also a fact that your blog content, though it may be valuable to a variety of people, many of those people will never become a client. There are many reasons for this:
- they don’t connect with you
- your solution isn’t what they’re searching for
- they’re not convinced that your service or product will improve their lives
- the price isn’t right
- they’re not ready to buy
And, if you try to reach everyone your blog marketing will be unfocussed.
The old metaphor that you have to cast a wide net to catch the big fish, doesn’t apply in target marketing. Because if you cast your net too wide – in the hope of catching the big fish – you’ll also catch a random load of sea creatures. And in the process, wasting a lot of time and money. But what if you cast your net in the place where the big fish are swimming?
Segment your target market
Fish where the Big Fish Are
By narrowing your focus, you will
1. Gain a deeper understanding of your audience’s needs, wants and desires, which will aid your content planning because you’ll know what information they need and want from you
2. Better understand how you can reach them – what social media platforms they use, when and what times they use them and what messages they’re likely respond to. As well as any events or groups they belong to
4. Get a greater response on your content marketing efforts which allows you to focus your marketing activities accordingly, because you’ll know what’s working and what isn’t
5. Help your communication become more convincing, persuasive and effective
6. Gain knowledge that helps with the development of future products and services
How do you find the right target audience for your business blog?
The answer is with research.
Data research is a mix of hard data (based on fact) and soft data (based on opinion and guestimates). A combination of both kinds of data gives you an understanding of who your clients are and why they make choices they do.
Research uncovers differences and similarities within a group of people. By using a mix of demographic and psychographic research and analysis, you can determine who your business best serves, and the people most likely to buy from you.
demographic (age, gender, education level, income, marital status etc) Demographic data gives you a generalised vision of who your ideal clients may be.
psychographic (who your clients actually are – their attitudes (towards your industry for example), their values, aspirations, personality, interests lifestyles and business factors like behavioural/operating practices, culture and organisational goals etc)
Marketing segmentation can be a deep process, depending on how far you want to take it—benefit segmentation, occasion segmentation, lifestyle segmentation, age segmentation you name it, you can create a segment for it. Of course, this depends on your business and the types of products or services you sell. It’s a good idea to get an overall picture of your ideal client first. Then break it down into other segments later, based on the data you uncover. Here’s how to do it:
Base your research on your past client, current clients, potential prospects and people who have interacted with your business in some way—you social media followers, your newsletter/blog subscribers and your email list, people who’ve made enquiries, etc.
Start your research with your existing client base
Take a long hard look at each person in your client data base and answer as many of the following questions as you can, based on the information you have and know.
(creating a spreadsheet will make it easier to cross-check).
When researching your target market start with the broad information first, the demographic data, that is, the most common elements among them — age, sex, location, education level, etc. Then move into the more highly detailed information.
1. Who are they? Look for common elements among them— their age, sex, profession, job title, role and industry.
2. What do you know about their business?
- What sort of business is it – where does it fit into its industry?
- Where does their business operate? Do they have multiple locations? How many staff do they have?
- What products/services do they sell?
- What’s their management style like?
- How do they make purchase decisions? Who makes them?
- Do they make analytical decisions or are they more intuitive?
3. Separate those who are or have been service clients or purchased products, and those who have interacted with your business in another way.
4. Look at the people who have visited your website, downloaded your offers and/or signed up for your newsletter and commented on your blog posts? What do you know about them? What did they download? What comments did they make?
5. Look at your Google Analytics data. Who has visited your website? What are their locations?
6. How many clients are repeat purchases? Did they purchase a trial offer or an entry level service or product, then purchase a larger service or product? What services/products did they buy? How far apart in time were the purchases? What else do you know about them?
Get up close and personal with your existing clients
- Consider sending them a survey – adding an incentive to convince them.
- Take one or two of your best clients out for coffee (one at a time of course) and ask them questions (see the list of questions at the end of this post for some ideas).
Look at your social media followers
Do some research online. Look at the groups they belong to, who they follow, what they post about, what links they share, what they’re interested in. Are there any commonalities? Personal profile pages on Facebook and Instagram reveal a lot about a person!
And don’t forget about LinkedIN. LinkedIn can give you in-depth insight from a business perspective. Particularly about what topics they write about, what issues they post about, what they share and whether they belong to any groups.
Research your competition
- Add your top 5 competitors to the ‘Pages to Watch’ feature on your Facebook business page
- Join business groups and monitor the pages regularly. Ask questions. Create a small quiz – make it fun though.
- Follow businesses and individuals on LinkedIN.
Monitor your competition online, and pay attention to who follows them, what questions they are asking and what type of content gets the most response?
Speak to potential clients
Visit networking groups, conferences, trade shows— anywhere your target market hangs out.
Use open-ended questions and pay attention to body language — often the most information comes from reading between the lines. And remember, when you meet people ask to connect with them on LinkedIN (and research their profile later).
How to market to more than one target audience
Your business may have more than one target audience. This can be tricky. But if this is the case your marketing messages will be different for each audience, because what appeals to one subset of people may not appeal to another. For instance,
How you market to a group of millennials— the language, the imagery you use—
Will be different from how you market to a group of generation X’ers
Your marketing will be a lot more effective if you start with a single niche market (primary target audience). Then, once you’ve gained traction in that niche, start introducing content to target the other niche market (secondary target audience).
You’ll find that sometimes people who are attracted to your products or services often share characteristics. Identifying what these are will help you refine your messaging for each, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel entirely.
Answering questions like these will help:
- What defines this particular group of people?
- What characteristics or behaviours do they have in common?
- What characteristics or behaviours do they have that separate them?
- When looking for a solution, what matters the most?
Keep a spreadsheet of your results so you can easily cross-check them, then segment your audience into subgroups based on the results of your questions— Niche your Niche!
Bear in mind that focusing your marketing messages on one target audience doesn’t mean that other people won’t buy from you. You’ll find that people from outside your niche will also respond to your marketing messages.
But these people shouldn’t be your main focus.
Ask the right questions
To find the right target audience for your business blog it’s important to ask the right type of questions.
Here’s a comprehensive list to get you started.
They cover everything you may need to know about your ideal target audience. Of course, only use those questions that are most relevant to your search and add your own to the list.
The point of the exercise is to gather as much relevant information as you can.
Creating an Excel spreadsheet works well for this exercise, because it’s easier to see the commonalities between each.
Demographic Research Questions
- Who benefits most from your product or service?
- Is age an important factor with your product/service? If so, how old are they?
- Is sex an important factor with your product/service? If so, what sex are they?
- Are they married, in a relationship, have kids?
- Where are they located? (business or home)
- What industry are they in?
- What role do they have within that industry?
- What does their job mainly involve?
What is their income?
Psychographic Research Questions
- Why do they need or want your solution? What problems are they having?
- What keeps them up at night?
- What is their compelling desire? What do they want to achieve?
- What are they passionate about?
- What do they do in their spare time?
- Which groups or associations do they belong to?
- What campaigns/causes are they interested in?
- Who do they admire?
- Who do they hang out with online and offline? (anyone you know?)
- What are their beliefs and attitudes?
- What annoys or bothers them?
- What social media platforms do they use? Which is their preferred platform?
- What type of social media posts do they share most often?
- Do they participate/comment in online forums or groups? If so, which ones?
- Who do they follow on social media?
- Who are they linked to on social media, anyone you know?
- What trade shows or exhibitions do they attend?
- What seminars or workshops do they attend?
- What do they read (and talk about) (trade journals, magazines, blogs etc)?
If your research audience includes clients or past clients, add:
- Did they evaluate the competition’s services/products?
- If so: Why did they choose your product and service? What drove them to buy?
- How has your product/service helped them?
- How do they prefer to consume your content?
Evaluate your decision
Once you’ve decided on a niche market, and completed your research, it’s time to evaluate the results.
- Are there enough people in my niche?
- Will my chosen niche benefit from my product and services? Will they see a need for it?
- Do I understand what drives my target market to make decisions?
- Can they afford my product or service?
- Can I reach them with my message? Are they easily accessible?
- How are they consuming your content? Do they read your blog posts, interact with your content on social media, download your ebooks?
Create a Client Persona
Once you’ve defined your ideal target market it’s time to develop your Client Persona (also known as customer persona, ideal client/customer avatar).
A client personal is a marketing tool that brings your niche client alive. It’s a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client based on the results of your research. Personas make creating content easier because they keep the focus on exactly who you’re creating content for.
Taking the time to research your target market ensures that your blog content will attract more qualified clients, which means that you’ll see better results
I hope this blog helps you with your target research. If you think it will helps someone else, please feel free to share.