Marketing Hack – Three Ways to Research Your Ideal Audience and What You Should be Looking For

As business owners, we constantly put out information - articles, advertising, social media posts, etc. Don't let those efforts go to waste. Instead, ensure that your business is doing the proper audience research to find your ideal audience and learn more about them. 

Marketing is about making connections and turning your audience into leads and eventually sales. 

Keep reading to find out more about ideal audiences, how to research your audience and the benefits of knowing your target audience.  

Table of Contents 

What is an Ideal Audience?

An ideal audience is who a business is trying to reach that is most likely to buy your product or service. Their behavior and specific demographics help characterize them. 

For example, a millennial activewear business’s ideal target audience would most likely be men and women between the ages of 25-41 who enjoy going to the gym or people interested in fitness. 

Man talking to an audience of potential customers.

Knowing your target audience is the most crucial piece of advertising for businesses. A target audience helps companies make decisions that impact their marketing strategy, budget, and products/services. 

Once a business builds out its target audience, it can outline its buyer persona. 

So, what is a buyer persona? A buyer persona is an outline of the business’s ideal customer. You’ve done your audience research, and now you can use that information to streamline your advertising efforts. To put together a buyer persona, some of the demographics you can reference would be location, age, gender, income, and employment. 

In the millennial activewear example, their buyer persona can be even more focused on a 28-year-old woman who enjoys yoga and pilates and wants activewear that’s wearable all day. 

Knowing your target audience and creating a buyer persona helps a business understand the customer and make marketing decisions for their company to target their ideal audience. It will help your campaign reach the correct people, and you can tailor your advertising to the messaging that will resonate best with that audience and that buyer persona.

Types of Target Audiences 

Now that we’ve discussed what a target audience is let’s discuss the types of audiences. 

There are three types of target audiences: 

  • Purchase Intention 
  • Interest 
  • Subculture 

Businesses have different types of target audiences to create better, more targeted campaigns. Your target audience may be filled with hundreds of thousands of people, but their motivations may differ. As you do research, keep the types of target audiences in mind. The more you know about your audience, the better you can segment them and create a more personalized marketing experience. 

Purchase Intention

This type of target audience is a group of people looking for your specific product. They know they’re going to buy but still need to research before entirely investing.

Examples of a purchase intention audience are people looking to buy a: 

  • Television
  • Car
  • Computer/Laptop 

Interests

This type targets people based on what they like to do. It’s beneficial to know how your audience wants to spend their time. Knowing this data can help you connect with your audience in a more relatable way and help pinpoint their motivation and behaviors. 

For example, if your audience likes to camp. With this information, you can advertise new hiking boots, a new sleeping bag, a new tent, etc., right before the hiking season starts.

Subculture

The subculture’s target audience segments people who have a shared experience. For example, if they’re into the same type of entertainment. Businesses can then use those shared experiences to understand who they’re reaching out to and better advertise to them. 

Suppose you know a specific subculture is into a certain type of music and frequents those concerts: 

  • 1. You can reference the music in your advertising 
  • 2. You can have that music playing in the background 
  • 3. You can have product names relate to the much (if applicable) 

You can connect with this subculture and get their attention by finding ways to intermingle that group of people’s shared experience into your advertising or business. 

In the millennial activewear example, their ideal target audience is people between the ages of 25 and 41 who enjoy going to the gym or are interested in fitness. One of their buyer personas is a woman who enjoys pilates and yoga. She is part of the idea audience that will be a part of the yogi subculture. 

How Do You Research Your Target Audience?

As business owners and marketers, we know how important it is to understand our audience. However, we also know how time-consuming audience research can be. 

 Here are three ways to research your ideal audience to better connect with them. 

Survey Your Current Audience 

One of the most straightforward ways to research your ideal audience is to ask. As business owners, we are constantly trying to learn about the people who spend time on our website, social media accounts, or researching our products. So while looking at our analytics and online demographics is beneficial, a thoughtful question or survey is also incredibly helpful!

Business owner conducting audience research.

While an email survey can seem a little old-fashioned, or maybe that’s not the audience you’re trying to learn about. You can also post on Instagram stories with polls and ask your audience there. By asking effective and thoughtful questions, it’ll help you understand the next steps to take in your marketing strategy. 

For example, your social media following is already looking at what you’re posting; you know where they’re spending time. So ask them about their interest, how they found out about you, or even what type of music they like to listen to. While these questions are easy and quick to answer, it also brings insight into their lives beyond the numbers. 

By asking the right questions, and by right, we mean goal-driven questions, you can gather information to help improve your future campaigns and convert more leads. 

Use Social Listening

Another way to research your target audience is to practice social listening. Social listening is tracking social media platforms for customers mentioning your brand, your competitors, or conversations relating to your brand and your products or services. Then, you use that information to discover opportunities and pain points. 

Social listening is a way to find out exactly what your customers and potential customers think about your company, industry, and competition. 

With social listening, you can do market research and see what your audience is saying about you in real-time. It’s also a great way to research your audience because you can also see the types of people who use your products, the age range, the location, etc. 

We understand that social listening and social monitoring sound very similar, but they differ significantly. Social Monitoring is about collecting data to look at what’s happened and what’s happening through metrics. 

Brand monitoring also allows businesses to see how their campaigns are performing. With this information, companies can use A/B testing to improve how they connect with their current audience. Overall, social monitoring has a lot to do with the metrics behind your campaigns. 

On the other hand, social listening is looking beyond numbers. It’s looking at the energy or mood behind the data. This is also known as social sentiment. You can analyze critical parts of how your audience truly feels about you and your competitors and make strategic and educated decisions through social listening. 

Social listening is great for researching your ideal audience because it allows you to see who is talking about you and interacting with those types of posts. 

Does your business have a social listening strategy in place? If not, you could be missing out on valuable customer information. 

Review Your Past Content and What Your Audience Looks at 

Lastly, revisit your content. We spend so much time creating and publishing content for our audience. 

Spend some time analyzing your best and worst-performing content. Dig into your blog post analytics to see what topics resonate or if a specific approach works better for your audience. 

Do you notice long-form or short-form content performing better? Does your audience like listicles? Or do they prefer case studies? By knowing what content they enjoy, you can refine your marketing strategy and publish content in their preferred style. 

Additionally, look at what type of content your ideal audience is consuming. Look at other content similar to your business or in the same industry. What does the audience look like there? Is it similar to the people interacting with your blogs? Or do you have an entirely different audience that you need to account for? Your website is not the only content your audience is consuming. They’re reading, watching videos, listening to podcasts, and spending time on other social media accounts. 

When researching your ideal audience and learning more about them, we recommend looking at the content that your audience is consuming. This means looking at your competitors, their blogs, and articles related to your industry. 

Learning about your audience’s content consumption will help you determine their demographics, interests, and eventually assign them to a target audience type. 

As you do your research, continue to listen, and publish content, you may find additional insights that you didn’t have when you first created your target marketing. Revisit your audience regularly and update it. Ensure that you’re accurately describing your ideal audience.

Benefits of Knowing Your Audience 

So what are the benefits of understanding your audience? As a business, you publish content, create advertising material, and spend money on Google Ads or social media ads. With all this effort invested in your business, you want to make sure that people listen to and engage with what you’re putting out into the world.  

 By understanding your audience, you can update your advertising and content to be audience-centered. This means that you’re tailoring your communication methods to match how your audience speaks to better connect with them. You want your advertising or content to answer the question, “why does this matter to my audience?”

Also, you can find common ground through shared experiences and build a deeper connection. Finally, shared experiences allow businesses to truly align their message to relate to their audience. 

Connecting with your audience can open so many doors: 

  1. Businesses can ask more personal questions in their email or social surveys. 
  2. Customers may feel more comfortable or obliged to fill out those surveys. 
  3. It’s more likely that you can convert your audience into leads when there’s a deeper connection. 
Business owner presenting to potential customers.

What to Look for in Your Ideal Audience? 

By knowing your ideal audience, you can put together a buyer persona. We briefly touched on the importance of a buyer persona, but, to reiterate, a buyer persona is an outline of the types of customers you want to reach out to. For a buyer persona, you need to take the information you accumulated during your audience research, like age, gender, hobbies, location, income, interests, etc., and put together example customers. 

When researching your audience, try to answer these three questions: 

  1. Where do they spend their time online? 
  2. What are their pain points and preferences? 
  3. What do they enjoy doing? 

We can find so much information through our analytics, but there’s more to your ideal customer than numbers. So when researching your ideal audience, whether through surveys, social listening, or content consumption, try to answer these questions! 

Researching your ideal audience allows businesses to better connect with their audience, streamline their marketing efforts, convert leads, and increase revenue. 

Whether or not you’ve already done your audience research, we encourage you to revisit that information and refresh your audience data quarterly. 

To summarize, your business is ever-changing, and so is your audience. Ensure you’re doing the proper research to find your ideal audience, segment them into audience types, and create your buyer persona. 

Within our digital world, make sure you’re not guessing your target audience or assuming that you know who they are. Remember, your audience online can be different from your audience in person, and it’s vital to do thorough research consistently to stay up to date on if your it is still accurate. If you want to learn more about your audience, we recently wrote a blog about finding your target audience.

If you’re ready to take the leap and work with a digital marketing agency, schedule a complimentary call and share your business, experiences, and goals. We’re ready to help! 

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