Possibly the most important piece of knowledge to have when building your business is understanding how to Find, Capture and Keep the right audience for your company. It’s an aspect that can be ever-changing and will need you to be constantly listening, learning and adapting to keep your customers loyal and happy. Every business out there will have to master these skills to be successful. So, how do they do it?
Before you even think about how to Capture and Keep your target audience, you’re going to have to FIND them. To know what sort of customers you want to attract, you’re going to need to analyse your business. Write a list of all the features of your service. Then, list the benefits they provide (and the benefits of those benefits, etc…) This will help you understand what issues you solve and / or what customer needs you meet, which will allow you to work out who is most likely to have interest in, and benefit from, your business. It’s also just a really good idea to go through all of those points anyway to make sure you have a really clear understanding of what your business does and what it can do.
Once you’ve gone through this process, you’ll need to work out what customers have the wants / needs that your business meets. Again, making a list here can be really useful; just jot down all the different types of people that can benefit from your service. This will help you build a picture of your target customers and allow you to group them. You’ll do this in 2 ways: Demographics and Psychographics.
You’ll want to start with your demographics first. Demographics is a broad term that incorporates things such as; age, location, gender, education level, occupation, ethnic background and income level. This is really important as it’ll save you wasting time marketing to those that aren’t going to be interested and finding out not only who has a need for your service, but also who is most likely to use it. For example, individuals with a high-net-worth tend to live in certain areas, meaning you can market your higher priced products to those more likely to be able to afford them. You’ll want to define your target customers in as many relevant ways as possible.
Now you can move onto Psychographics. Psychographics are the more personal characteristics of a person such as; values, interests, lifestyle, hobbies, attitude, behaviours etc… Defining your potential customers in this way will help you determine how your service will fit into your target’s lifestyle: How and when will your target audience use the service? What features are most appealing to your target customer? What media does your target audience use for information? Etc…
A free and very useful tool that you should utilise is researching your competitors. Here’s a couple of questions to consider that’ll help you out:
~ What do your competitors offer that you don’t (if anything) and vice versa
~ Who are your competitors targeting and why?
~ Will it benefit you to target a similar / the same market?
~ How will you be able to stand out from these competitors, especially if you target the same market?
Answering these can help you to get a really good understanding of who to target and why. Also, it never hurts to keep an eye on your competition. You’d probably benefit from reviewing these questions regularly to keep up with any changes in the market.
Finally, you’re going to want to evaluate your decision! Again, here’s just a few questions which will help you determine if you’ve made the right choice:
~ Are there enough people that fit my criteria?
~ Will my target really benefit from my service?
~ Will they see the need for it?
~ What drives my target making decisions?
~ Can my target afford the service?
~ Can I reach them / are they easily accessible?
If you’re unable to answer these questions, or the answers don’t look positive, you may be in the wrong market. In this case, you’ll need to do a bit more research before settling on your main target audience.
Once you’ve found your perfect target audience, you’re going to need to know how to CAPTURE and KEEP this market. A lot of the techniques you’re going to want to use can and will work across both of these aspects once you’ve developed / adapted them accordingly. There are a few easy tips and tricks that can be really useful for capturing your audience, such as ensuring your website is quick to load. If your site is slow, your customers might not have the patience to wait around. A growing trait in our current society is instant gratification. If your website can’t provide that, there’s a very good chance customers will go elsewhere. You’re also going to want some compelling visuals. Studies show that the brain can process images around 60,000 times faster than text, so it’s absolutely crucial you incorporate them into your website, marketing campaigns etc…
In addition to this, you’re going to want to think mobile! The vast majority of time spent on social media is now done on mobile, and social media can be a goldmine for marketing if you utilise it correctly. Approximately 52% of all social media sharing is done via a smartphone and roughly 41% of all social media users discover new brands on social networks. It only makes sense for you to calibrate all of your sites to ensure they’re optimized for mobiles. It’s not enough anymore for simply be “mobile friendly”, you need to cater specifically for your mobile audience as well as your online customers.
Now, you’re not only going to have to establish your brand, you need to legitimise your reputation. Obviously, you want your audience to have high opinions of your company but announcing that through your own content will come across as arrogant and narcissistic; you need the customer to believe that they formed their positive opinion without your influence because they know you’ll have a bias. Your customers are going to turn to their peers and field experts for recommendations and / or validations. If you can manage to leverage either of those groups, you’ll have a very powerful way to draw in your target audience and get them engaging with your content.
Too often, companies get so caught up in making a bigger profit that they neglect to talk to their target customers like actual human beings. The easy solution? Get to know them! Try to avoid too many “send all” type messages, you’re much better off spending just a minute or two making a personalised email. It’s the little things that can make a huge difference to the customer and separate you from the competition. Don’t be afraid to get a little personal. If you have a big, returning client you’re going to want to make them feel valued. Something as simple as a thank you gift or a card signed by your team can make your client feel appreciated and cared for, increasing the likelihood of their returned custom considerably.
You should also consider surprising customers with unexpected rewards, such as discounts. It increases the customers incentive to stay with your company and not knowing when the next reward will come can be enough for some customers to keep using your business in anticipation of more bonuses. However, you want to try to limit these rewards to your actual customers so you’re reaching those who are actually interested and engaged with your content instead of those who are just in it for the free offer. You may want to use this tactic periodically as a marketing strategy to reach out to those not yet aware of or using your company, however this should stay limited to ensure you’re creating stronger, longer-lasting relationships with your returning customers.
Finding and capturing your audience can seem daunting, but once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll probably find it quite straight forward. When it comes to keeping your audience, however, you can’t just follow a formula. There isn’t a set of rules you can follow for guaranteed success because the market, your competition and your audience are constantly changing and evolving as society does. You need to make sure you’re really staying on top of your research! If you don’t, you may allow your competitors to gain an edge over you and your customers may no longer be getting the most out of your company. You always want to research, listen and adapt to keep your success.