The customer is king! Okay, that is an oversimplification of the concept behind every business. Without customers, you cannot sell a product, so it is impossible to generate revenue. Therefore, finding customers, convincing them to buy what you are selling, and delivering on promises are the only paths to success for your brand.
How do you do that effectively and for a long time? That is when things get a bit more complicated. Carving out a market share of the audience is critical for businesses, both big and small. To successfully build a customer base, you have to understand them. After all, how can you create a valuable product and craft compelling messaging if you do not know the people you are catering to?
Audience research is one of the most important strategies that companies have to adopt. Creating a product that solves their problems is difficult if you do not even know the struggles they face or how they make decisions. Let’s dive into some ideas to improve your audience research efforts.
Hire a Marketing Agency
If your schedule is jam-packed with other tasks, trying to better understand the audience could feel like an overwhelming addition to the list of responsibilities. Maybe your team is already exhausted from trying to lift the company to the next tier of success, and this initiative just sounds like more work. Fortunately, there is a whole industry dedicated to helping companies improve their marketing efforts. Businesses may need marketing agencies for various reasons, but one of them is to research the target audience. These firms are experts at figuring out what makes customers tick and how they make purchasing decisions, and they also know the best ways to learn this information.
If you want a simple tool to provide insight into what people are searching for online, then Google Trends is a great place to start. This platform lets you see what the most popular search queries are in the Google search engine for a given timeframe. It can also be broken down by geographic data. This could be very helpful if you are a business trying to understand the audience in your local community. The data from Google Trends can indicate what local people care about, providing valuable insight into their needs.
Harness Discussion Platforms
Sometimes, the best source of information about audiences is the people themselves. You can use all sorts of tools to collect third-party data, but hearing from potential customers may be your best course of action to understand how they think. Discussion forums online are a great place for this type of research since you can see what people are talking about and interact with them. For example, the discussion platform called Usenet is a separate entity from the Internet where users go to have unmediated discussions about their favorite topics, including computer software, humanities, news, recreational activities, science, and entertainment. If your business fits into one of these niches, then finding a cheap Usenet provider to connect to this network could be a great resource for audience research.
Diversify Social Media Usage
Social media are some of the best sources of information on audiences. Similar to discussion forums, social media fosters community and communication between people across the world. People share their experiences, pictures, videos, opinions, and even job openings on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram. This level of interactivity is a gold mine for businesses looking to gain information about their audience. The key is embracing the right channels depending on the makeup of your target audience. For example, a customer base that is filled with highly professional executives is unlikely to be found on Snapchat. You would be far better served with a combination of LinkedIn and maybe Facebook.
Use Cloud Computing for Data Collection/Sharing
The cloud is an amazing innovation for the business world. Companies can increase accessibility for their employees and integrate all their software programs in one location, all while saving money on remote server infrastructure. Many applications that can be hosted on the cloud can have automated processes that make data collection and sharing within your company far more efficient. That includes insights into your customers so that various departments can serve them more effectively using better data practices.
Strong Audience Research is About Embracing Opportunities
All the strategies listed above come down to one simple idea: the willingness to explore opportunities. If you make no effort to improve your understanding of the customer, then the success of your company could be limited. Whether you hire a marketing agency to research for you, utilize tools like Google Trends and Usenet, or migrate to the cloud to take advantage of automated data processes, embracing different strategies will yield greater insight into the behaviors and needs of your target audience.