5 Ways to Better Understand Your Target Audience

by Carolyn Edgecomb on March 19, 2013

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The Marketer's Guide for Understanding Your Target AudienceWho is your target audience?


As a marketer, you should know everything about your target audience from their demographics and interests to their buying behaviors.


If you don't truly know your target audience, how can you market to them?


Well, in short...you can't. No one wants to send their target audience content that is unrelated, too advanced or out of date.


Your focus should be on your target audience, because in order for you to have a successful marketing campaign, you must know who you're targeting and why.


You might be wondering where you can find information that can guide you in the right direction. We're here to help detail some of the essentials when it comes to understanding your target audience.


5 Ways to Help You Better Understand Your Target Audience


1. Keyword Research


You have keywords everywhere from your homepage and service pages to your blog, but are they the right ones?


What is your audience searching for? Your focus keyword shouldn't be virtual desktop infrastructure implementation when consumers are searching vdi implementation. Therefore, you should take a closer look at what terms your target audience is searching for.


Tools for better keyword research:



  • HubSpot's Keyword Grader

  • Google's Keyword Tool

  • SEMrush


One quick and easy way to see what people are searching for is to start typing your keyword into the query box in any search engine like Google or Bing and see what other terms pop up. When searching landscaping the following terms were displayed:



  • landscaping

  • landscaping jobs in CT

  • landscaping CT

  • landscaping companies


You should also perform some research on the terms your trying to rank for. If you're using HubSpot, the Keyword Grader will assist in this process. This is a great tool to  help you identify how much traffic and contacts are being generated from each keyword entered into the tool.


Is your company ranking high for the term landscaping in CT? Check out HubSpot's keyword suggestion tool to identify similar keywords your company can take advantage of. And if you're a small business that only services a couple towns, consider localizing your keywords to something like landscape design in Cheshire or landscaping in Wallingford.


Keyword suggestions include:



  • Landscape architecture

  • Backyard landscaping ideas

  • Landscaping ideas

  • Landscape design ideas


If all else fails, try using terms that your audience would search for.


2. Sales / Support


Talk to anyone in your company that has direct contact with your leads and customers every day. They are the people that understand the needs, wants and problems of your target audience. Understanding those pain points, you can develop a more targeted marketing campaign that reaches your target audience.


A great example of having communication between your marketing team and everyone else in the company is from HubSpot,


"At HubSpot, we have an internal wiki page where staff can suggest topics for the blog. For instance, last year, a member of our sales team mentioned that he had been receiving a number of questions from leads about SEO and the use of video. So we wrote  SEO for YouTube: How to Search Optimize Video for B2B Marketing, a post that pulled in more than 11,000 views, nearly 500 tweets and a handful of interesting comments."


From their wiki page, HubSpot's marketing team gained a better understanding not only of what content their audience was looking for but also what do they want to learn more about. As an influential company in the industry, you want to be able to help solve any problems or pain points your target audience has and you cannot do that if you don't know what they are.


Ways to increase communication between marketing and sales:



  • Internal wiki page outlining customer questions, problems and pain points.

  • Use a site like Yammer.com to create a private social media network for your company where you can add groups and pose questions to sales and support to gain their insights and what they know about your target audience.


3. Forums


Looking for more information? Internet forums are a great place for you to learn about what your target audience wants to know. Specifically what they're asking and inquiring about. Scour through various industry related forums across the internet that might help you identify what your ideal prospects want to know and what they're interested in.


There are a ton of forums out there that can help you obtain more information that will help you gain a better understanding of your target audience, you just have to find the right one. Not all forums will be beneficial, look for forums that  have a section geared towards your industry or service.


Popular internet forums include:



  • Quora

  • DoItYourself

  • Topix

  • Hubpages


4. Historical Data


What is your best performing page, offer, blog article and call-to-action? Knowing these will tell you which pages on your site are generating the most inbound links, comments and page views indicating what content is driving your target audience to your site. Knowing what content is bringing them to your site can provide you with a lot of information about your audience.


You shouldn't be checking this data whenever you feel like it, every quarter you should be checking and analyzing your page performance. Has the performance of your pages weakened or improved ? This can help you identify which topics your audience is interested in learning more about.


5. Social Media


What better way to learn more about your target audience than through social media? There is no better place for marketers to gain information regarding the behavior of your target audience than by monitoring and crowd sourcing on social media.


And with Facebook's new graph search, its never been easier for you to reach new audiences and learn more about your current customers. Social media has made it easier for companies to learn about their target audience through the comments, the pages they like, and their interests. Through social media you can learn about your target audiences demographics, geographic location, education level, and other information that will help you develop more targeted campaigns.

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