Making it personal: How well do you know your audience?

young lady looking aside in blouse,skirt and looking pensive , front view. space for text

You may think you’ve got a pretty good handle on who you want to talk to, but how well do you really know your audience? Do you know what makes them tick, and equally, what winds them up?

It’s not enough anymore to rely on traditional sales and marketing demographics to try and sell your products and services, you need to appeal to hearts and minds and engage people emotionally. To do this, you need to understand them fully, going beyond demographics to a psychographic profile.

This is a true investment of time and resource in researching and fact finding, but it is essential in our increasingly connected, emotionally-driven society, so where do you start?

In order to gain people’s trust and appeal to their emotions, you need to know their lifestyle preferences, interests and experiences. What is it that motivates them and makes them feel good? If we strip it back and think about what makes a communication successful, it needs to be:

Seen

So you obviously need to know where your audience are (what media/social media they read/watch/listen to) and when – your message needs to hit them at the right time to have an impact. Unfortunately this isn’t as simple as looking at an algorithm of when your audience are online, or what radio show they tune into, you need to know what time of day they feel at their most inspired/motivated/frustrated/bored. It’s not about reaching as many people as you can, it’s about reaching the right people at a time when your message will resonate most – when they have the time and inclination to stop and absorb it – and hopefully leave an impression or inspire action.

Understood and connected with

Again, this isn’t as simple as it may at first seem. Yes, you need to know the language your audience speaks (and mirror that language) but you also need to ensure your content topic appeals enough to them to stop them scrolling/flipping the pages/changing the station and listen to what you have today. To achieve this, you need to know their interest areas, the questions they have, the frustrations and challenges they share, what it is that they worry about, because this is the content that they will be actively searching for, and which is therefore likely to translate into business results, rather than simply passive scrolling.

Trusted

Liking your tone of voice and relating to your content is not enough to get people over the line. To get real buy-in from people, they need to trust you and be emotionally invested/connected. The key here is authenticity, ensuring your actions (operations) match your words, and being genuine in what you say. To help with this, you need to know who they trust and are influenced and inspired by, the people/brands/organisations that they look up, and equally, who and what they hold in disregard.

There are various ways you can obtain this information about your audience, but at the core – you need to ask them! Whether that is through a wide scale mass audit, a targeted focus group, or feedback forms and surveys, you need to collect all of the information, which is likely to be more anecdotal than statistical. Once you have this information, it’s important to ensure it is actually used to develop your marketing and communications strategy and messaging – and that it is constantly reviewed and evaluated to reflect the changing wants and needs of your audience.

If you would like to discuss this further, or if you have any questions on audience profiling, please do drop me an email: sam@footstepcommunications.com

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