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5 Tips For Online Brands to Better Know Customers

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Whether you’re a small business or a global business, knowing your audience is the backbone of selling your products and services.

Without this knowledge, you’re basically throwing stuff at a wall and seeing if it sticks through your content marketing, social media engagement, and product marketing strategies. Does that sound effective? I didn’t think so.

Here are tips your brand should consider to properly assess your audience: 

1. Demographic Data – Take time to research genders, ages, geographical data, marital status, and household incomes. Even better is psychographic data including interests, attitudinal behaviors, lifestyle, including how connected they are (e.g. tablet users or desktop users). All of this data will help your brand carve your customer profiles with a larger picture to whom you are marketing.

2. Channels – Is your audience more apt to be on Flipboard vs. Pulse, or Twitter over Facebook, or perhaps they’re more into Tumblr and Instagram? Whatever the case, it’s important to understand consumption and sharing habits in order to know what content to put (so it’s right for the channel) and what channels to experiment with and dedicate time and money to in the long run.

3. Outreach Methods  Begin with your website analytics and discern the keywords used by visitors, which pages time was spent on the most, and where the bounce rates occurred. It is also helpful to gauge referral traffic and which pages led visitors to your website. For example, perhaps it was your Facebook ad or your fan page; or a Pictela unit that caused engagement to content on your site.

It’s helpful to understand your audience patterns in order to get rid of the things that aren’t working, and/or fix things that you may not be doing great yet. Tweaking, in my opinion, is a part of brand management. Without constantly learning and tweaking, you’re not reaching the full potential of your audience.

4. Content Topics – This is where the lofty “editorial” calendar” is helpful in order to stay on top of the key holidays, industry events, and consumer mindsets, e.g. When your customer is more likely to be thinking of energy savings due to the cold temperatures where they live.

With this calendar you can ensure that you’re focusing on the topics that are relevant to planned events you’ve thought ahead for, and also allowing your brand to be nimble to respond to things that pop up and are trending (and I don’t mean Beiber being arrested). As you look back on the past quarter you’ll assess which ones worked vs. could have done better – allowing your brand to “tweak” and focus on the topics that resonate best with your audience.

5. Formats – Would you put an infographic on Instagram? Hopefully not.

It’s important to realize which formats your audience prefers, and ensuring that you put out the right formats for the appropriate channels you play on. For example, Vine is easily shared on Twitter but Instagram is not. Does that matter to your brand? Perhaps it doesn’t – but where you share content can impact the engagement with it as well.

These tips are a starting point to learn more about your audience, see how you should strategize on your channels, and not waste time putting out content that isn’t the right fit for said audience. However, before you do this and forget about it after, remember that your audience is constantly evolving, just as the channels and types of content are changing.

Your brand needs to be nimble and be willing to constantly assess and evolve.

Pam Sahota can be reached at @pamsahota.

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