I like to think I got my marketing savvy from my Dad.
As a child, I used to tag along with him to Take Your Daughter To Work Day, an unofficial national holiday that has since become the politically correct version, Take Your Kid To Work Day.
He knows all sorts of marketing tricks, like matching relevant products together or exactly when certain products should go on sale. But one of the most impressive things he does is read the intent of his customers. From putting ping pong balls in the beer aisle to batteries where toys are, my Dad is the master of customer intent.
It's not too different in digital marketing, but when it comes to content, user intent is often overlooked. We don't think about what the customer clearly wants, and create content that we think will rank or bring in leads. It results in lead magnets and content offers that don't get any conversions and blog posts that don't attract that many visitors.
Thankfully, it can be resolved with a few target audience analysis exercises.
What Is Target Audience Analysis And How Can It Increase Traffic?
Target audience analysis is the ongoing practice of determining what attracts, engages, and motivates your customer. While there's no singular magic tool or template that can cover all of your target audience analysis, you can do it with ongoing reporting, testing, and strategy.
Target audience analysis is critical because the better you know your customer, the better you can create assets that fit their expectations and preferences to a T.
Customer segmentation is when you split your customers into various demographics including their gender, age range, and so forth. Usually, you can segment your customers in your CRM, especially when you're using a platform like HubSpot.
You can use HubSpot smart lists to segment leads, organizing them by behaviors, characteristics, and properties such as:
- Form submissions
- Content engaged on/with
- Times seen
- Emails opened
- Lead score
- Buyer persona
- And so much more.
Here at Lean Labs, we use smart lists to divide customers by buyer journey stage and core offers they'd be a fit for, which for us, are Inbound Marketing and Growth-Driven Design.
It enables us to target them with content that fits their stage and intent. We can enroll them in a nurturing workflow, set up a smart CTA to ensure they always get a relevant offer, or plan our blog content by persona.
My favorite authors are Elizabeth Gilbert and Heather Havrilesky. I love reading headlines from The Onion. Noah Kagan's email subject lines make me laugh. I listen to NPR. I think Anthony Bourdain's CNN series Parts Unknown was brilliant.
All of that material is really engaging to me. From the first time I read the synopsis of any of those books or skimmed one of those headlines, I thought "okay, this content is for me."
It matches my personality. And when brands can figure out the kind of tone they need to strike to attract their ideal customer, they can create more compelling material. I use a brand voice exercise called The 49 Personality Archetype grid to help figure out the right tone for a brand to take.
Using the grid, you will select a primary and secondary archetype that describes your brand.
You meet in the middle, and that's the tone you should take. For example, if your persona is passionate and innovative, they fall into an archetype called "The Catalyst".
The catalyst likes out-of-the box ideas, is social, and is energizing. You can use this to create website content, blog posts, and headlines that conveys those characteristics.
This insight informs so much about your content, including how the persona prefers to be approached or whether you should use humor in your content.
Using the right tone will help you get more traffic because from the very beginning, you're connecting with your ideal customer.
Depending on your industry, there will always be an event, story, or trend that your peers and competitors are talking about. Certain types of content offers and style of blog posts and videos will go in and out of vogue. While I encourage uniqueness, sometimes, you have to be on trend to get the clicks.
Moz, for example, is a SaaS company in Seattle that does well with their web series, Whiteboard Friday. So much, in fact, other companies started to mimic the style of video. Why? Because people engage with it.
Alternatively, if your style is too similar to something like Whiteboard Friday, it may put people off. You want to combine a trend with highly engaging and relevant content.
Potential Persuasion Tactics
In my experience, making persuasive content is all about matching your material to the right buyer journey stage. You want to figure out what your customer wants, exactly when they want it.
During the awareness stage, for example, being persuasive means writing content that answers broad questions and persuades them to engage with it, either through a killer title or awesome graphics.
At the later stages, however, when the customer intent is to buy, you want to be persuasive by expressing urgency in your CTAs and landing page copy. You want them to know time is of the essence. You want to explain the risks of not solving their problem right now.
You can determine what kind of persuasion you need to master by diving into your buyer journey.
You can also dive into a business model canvas. With the business model canvas, you explore the trigger events customers experience in the awareness stage, assumptions they have at the interest and consideration stages, and potential gaps in the market.
You can use all of this to get more in-depth about your customer's state of mind during every stage.
When you learn how to persuade at every stage, it will drive more traffic across all channels, I promise. Because you will be creating content that gives them exactly what they need, at exactly the right time.
What are your customer's hopes, dreams, and aspirations? If you can dig into your customer's psychographics, which is soft data like attitudes, aspirations, and values, you can create material that shows (without telling) how your product or service can fulfill various social, physical, and emotional jobs.
Because without even being fully aware of it, people seek more than just tangible solutions to their challenge. They also want social and emotional benefits, such as respect from their co-workers, trust from their family and friends, and confidence in themselves.
I use a Jobs To Be Done Framework to help dissect this:
You can use this framework to identify the situation your persona has, what they're motivated to do or change, the desired outcome, and how it makes them look and feel.
With this, you can create material that shows (again, doesn't tell) how working with you can help them achieve these things. This kind of content can drive more traffic because it helps the customer visualize the success they could get from working with you.
Customer Digitality Preferences
I hate infographics.
It doesn't matter what the content or design of the infographic is, I can't stand them. If I were your persona, and you didn't know that about me, you may generate an amazing infographic to engage me, then be completely stumped to why I didn't respond to it.
Sometimes, your ideal customer simply has preferences without any conclusive reason. Not every persona wants to listen to a podcast, skim through a long-form blog post, or watch a video to solve their specific problem. That's where doing some customer digitality research can pay off.
When you can identify when and how your persona prefers to access content digitally and what formats they prefer, you can create material and promotions that are much more effective at every stage of the buyer journey.
For example, if IKEA customers (like myself) did not get their product catalogue every year, we'd probably riot. Sure, it's available digitally as well, but a digital catalog just doesn't have the same appeal. I can't hold it in my hands.
That's why when building out your buyer journey and planning content, you want to ask:
What parts of your customer's life or journey are digital?
Which aspects will never be?
What digital content formats do they prefer?
Which digital content formats just don't work?
When I first start out with a persona and don't have enough customer research to accurately answer these questions, I use a customer journey map to find my answers. A customer journey map will force you to take their perspective and follow their experience with you from start to finish.
First, you want to fill out a customer journey mapping template that depicts their experience as-is (today), being as honest as you can about your strengths and weaknesses.
You also want to complete a customer journey map that covers the ideal scenario for your customer (the sky should be the limit for this map).
You can use this as a jumping off point to dictate the types of content they really want. Then, you can test and experiment with various formats and templates of blog posts and landing pages.
Before long, you will have a library of formats, article types, ebooks styles, etc. that tend to perform well with your persona. You'll generate more traffic simply because your content is in a format they're willing to engage with, unlike formats that just turn them off completely.
Target Audience Analysis + Inbound Marketing
Consistent target audience analysis could be exactly what you need to help get more traffic to your content. You gain more accurate insights about your personas and can make more effective assets for critical points in the buyer journey. However, you also need a robust inbound marketing strategy to round everything out.
With an inbound marketing strategy in place, you can attract new leads and traffic to your site with high-quality blog posts, nurturing tactics, and more. To learn how to get started with inbound and every element necessary to make it successful, check out our guide, Conquering The Inbound Marketing Mountain.