You could be dotting all the Is and crossing all the Ts in the user experience (UX) for your site, and it still will not matter. The most awesome site with spot-on navigation and fantastic products at rock bottom prices will do exactly zero for your bottom line if you are not reaching and engaging the right audience, a.k.a. those who will buy from you.
Reaching the right audience is the end-all and be-all of your online site. You may think that a shotgun approach to marketing will result in enough sales to keep your business going, but appealing to a broad audience wastes your resources and short changes the people that will buy from you because you will not be able to meet all their needs or customize the experience to give them the best possible.
The good news is you won’t have to start from scratch if you have been in business for some time. You have a wealth of information available to you if you know where to look for it. We are talking about big data.
Before you start thinking wildly about hiring professionals to crunch the numbers for you, you should understand that “big data” is not always that big. Most people agree that big data is a marketing buzzword that refers to information your site visitors and customer leave behind. In many cases, the data sets can be unwieldy, hence the “big” reference. However, big data gives you a breadcrumb trail leading to finding and engaging the right audience.
It will take some effort to narrow your sights to find your target audience, but once you do, everything will fall into place. You should do this first to drive qualified traffic to your site and increase your conversions.
Most sites have built-in web analytics software, and they can give you some good information on people that visit your site. With free web analytics software such as Google Analytics, you will know their location, how long they stayed on your site, from which site they come from and went on to, and referring websites. For example, if a good number of your visitors came from your Facebook page, then you know that social media is a good source of leads. This is a good start in understanding your visitor profile.
However, Google Analytics will not tell you if they are returning visitors, if the visit resulted in a conversion, what was the order size, or if there was an increase in revenue on site. It will also not tell you their age, interests, relationship status, and behaviors. You can use Facebook Insights for that, but only if you have a Facebook advertising strategy.
The point is, you should spend some time and resources to find out everything you can about your existing customers. These are, by default, at least a known subset of your target audience because they have already interacted with your site and bought your product.
If you dig deeper into what drives them and find out what is important to them, you can relate to them more meaningfully through your marketing. You can create effective branding and sales campaigns using the information you get from analytics software.
Analytics software is just one side of the equation, however. You also want to control the type of data you will analyze, which is where listening tools come in.
You can choose among a variety of these tools designed to integrate with your site backend. These tools will generate the data you need from your sales and marketing funnel to push ads or retarget customers and increase your sales and engagement. One example is Kit.
Among other things, Kit works with Yotpo to generate and use positive customer reviews as Facebook product ads if you choose. Your purpose is to generate user-generated content, which is powerful social proof found to increase click-through rates by as much as three times if used in ads. Aside from generating sales, this app also gives you information about what your existing clients think about your brand and product.
You can also find out more about your existing customers by conducting social media polls. You can post a poll on anything, and it can not only get you more information from your customers, but also increase your reach when they share it, so make sure you make it interesting.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter encourage this type of interaction by making it easy to conduct polls and surveys through customizable forms. These forms come with built in analytic tools to organize your data according to age, gender, profession, and other factors.
Once you have defined your target audience, you have to learn to talk to them in their language. First impressions are very important, so you have to make sure you sound and speak like one of them to gain acceptance into their circle.
For example, if your target audience is girls between the ages of 12 and 18, a formal, dry approach is not going to cut any ice with them. On the other hand, if your audience is legal professionals, you will want to cut out the ROFLs and TMIs.
Audience engagement online is pretty much the same as having an actual conversation. You have to match their tone, use common words and phrases, and generally be “one of them.”
You can do this through observation. The comments section in your blog and social media pages are a valuable source of this type of information, so monitor them constantly. You can also use monitoring tools such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Social Mention to see what is happening on your social media pages, keep track of your brand mentions, and know what is trending for your niche on different platforms. By keeping tabs on what people are saying about you and your competitors, you will more easily pick up the language and tone of your target market, and put them to good use.
When optimizing your site for your target audience, you will definitely need to use keywords. However, you have to be mindful about not only the keywords your audience uses to find your site, but the intent behind the search. This will more easily help you choose the landing pages that will address their intent more fully, and bring more customer satisfaction.
There are three main types of organic keywords. The first one is informational, which typically indicates that the user is not sure what he or she wants or needs and is seeking more information. This type of keywords usually include words such as “tips,” “how to,” and “ideas.” In most cases, you will want to direct your audience to your blog, FAQs, or resource pages.
The second and third types of organic keywords are navigational and transactional. In both these types, the user knows what he or she wants or needs, and is looking to buy, eventually. For these types of keywords, you want to direct them to your product and promotional pages.
It is important to know the buyer intent because the competition for top keywords is fierce. You want to make sure that when you do get that coveted click in a search result, you give the user what he or she needs. Web analytics will let you know if you guessed the user’s intent correctly based on the bounce rate and conversion rate. If you guessed wrong, you can remedy the situation by changing the landing page.
It might seem like such trouble to laser-target your audience, but the fact is the success of your online marketing, and ultimately your business, depends on how well you understand your audience.
Only when you reach and engage the right audience using big data will you be able to foster customer satisfaction and loyalty, which will translate into better engagement and more sales.
These are the marks of a truly effective marketing strategy.