Whether you’re writing website copy, a letter to a family member, a cover letter for a prospective job or a social media post, you need to know who your audience is so you can craft your text in just the right way. This is especially true when you invest time in blogging on a regular basis. Otherwise you risk turning your readers off and sending them off to your competitors’ websites and your time is wasted.
If you’ve been in business for a while, it’s probably easy to identify your online audience. After all, you have demographics available from anyone who’s purchased from you. But if you’re a new business (and even if you’ve been around the block a few times), it’s a good exercise to do some research to find out who your audience is and what they want to know more about. Here are some ways to do just that.
Create a Profile
When you started your business, who did you imagine you’d be helping? Create an avatar, or profile, of that ideal client. Ask yourself some of the following questions to help you identify who your ideal audience is.
- What do they look like?
- Where do they work?
- How old are they?
- How much education do they have?
- What organizations do they belong to?
- What are their personality traits?
- What do they dislike?
- Are they conservative or liberal?
- What are their problems?
- What do they value?
Once you’ve answered these and other questions, look to some of your current customers and see how well they fit into the profile you’ve created. Then tweak it as needed.
The profile of your ideal customer will likely change over time, and that’s okay. As your business grows and matures, it will change also.
Use Analytics & Insights
If you’re an established business, you can use your Google Analytics and social media insights to help you determine who your audience is. Take a look at what they’re interacting with on your social media accounts and where they spend most of their time on your website. Also pay attention to how they’re finding your website. That’s a good indicator of where they spend their time.
Identify What Your Audience Wants
This seems like a no-brainer, right? I mean, you know what your customers want and need because they’re using your products and services. However, you provide value well outside the “walls” of your business. For example, a business coach works with clients to help them move forward in their businesses. They help clients identify products and services, develop systems and adjust their mindset so they can be more successful. But most business coaches also help clients to identify financial roadblocks, recommend methods for marketing and provide some help with getting a significant other on board.
Look outside your own business and your own products or services. What have you helped your clients with or who have you referred them to? As an online content writer, I refer my clients to website developers and search engine optimization professionals all the time. While I know a lot about these fields, they’re not my expertise. However, I can and do write about them—both for my own business and for clients. So I’m providing value to my audience, even though I’m not writing about one of my own services.
Once you’ve identified who your audience is, you need to stay connected. You should know where they “hang out” online (and in “real life”), so do the same. Subscribe to some of the same blogs they’re reading and join online groups your audience frequents. This allows you to enter the conversation and get yourself and your business noticed.