When it comes to digital marketing there’s one major problem that continues to plague small businesses: finding the right audience.
No business wants to put in hours and hours of hard work, only to find out that the people they’re engaging with online are not exactly the people likely to buy their products or services. Therefore it’s important to figure out just who, exactly, your audience is, before you start marketing and posting on social media.
Find supporters for your business, not naysayers. People who will be ecstatic about buying and recommending your products to the point that they become your secret weapon against obscurity online.
That being said, the first question you should ask yourself is, “How can I figure out who my ideal audience is?”
1. Identify the Problem
The most important factor in identifying your ideal audience is to know exactly what the problem you’re trying to solve for them is. It’s not enough to have a general idea of the problem, like “taste and experience good food” or “build better health and lifestyle habits”. Rather, it’s important to really dig deep into your customer’s psyche and analyse what might get them to buy, and encourage them to keep coming back.
We’ve put together a couple of examples of how you can find and dig up your potential customer’s pains:
- No matter the amount of exercise or diet, I can’t seem to lose weight.
- I’ve tried dieting and exercising, but I always quit half-way into it because it just isn’t fun or exciting.
- I hate going to the gym. I want to exercise at home, but I don’t have the budget or space to buy big and bulky exercise equipment.
- After work, I don’t have any time or energy left in the day to cook a healthy and nutritious meal for my family.
- I want to eat healthier. I have all these recipes, but I’m having a hard time finding out which supermarkets have these ingredients stocked.
In the examples above, there are a variety of pain points that ordinary people experience in their day-to-day lives. If you look closer, then, hidden behind each of these pain points is a possible solution, a product that you can create and offer to your customers.
Once you’ve figured out what pain points your product or business directly addresses, then you have a clearer understanding of who your ideal customer is. This deeper understanding can help you even more by giving you some ideas on where to go out and look for them. What are the brands or businesses that these people support? Where do they hang out (online and offline)? Who do they follow on social media?
Now that you have figured out your customer’s pain points, your next step is…
2. Find Your Online Community
This is where the real work starts. For every industry, there are a definite number of online communities gathered around specific topics, whether that be knitting, woodworking, DIY, photography, food, meal preps, etc.
Facebook Groups are a good example of the type of online community that you’re looking for. Because for nearly every niche topic that exists, there is likely to be a Facebook group that gathers around it. Find those groups and join them.
Often these groups are a gold mine of information about your ideal customers. In them, you’ll see trends that are happening, the pains and problems that customers have with competitor products and services. You’ll see people talk about what they love in a certain product, and what features they wish another one had.
Facebook Groups are also the perfect place to get started connecting with your audience. Once you join two or three Facebook groups, start engaging with the content that others are posting. Provide helpful information, tips and solutions to their queries. The more you engage, the more people will recognise you as an authority, as someone they can trust.
Hashtags are still widely used on Instagram and Twitter these days, making them another perfect means of finding your audience. To add to that, the great thing about Instagram hashtags is that once you type out one hashtag on the search bar (example: #fitnessgoals or #fitnessmotivation), Instagram drops a whole list of other relevant hashtags and the number of posts that contain them.
Clicking on a hashtag then reveals to you what people are posting about the topic, and what recent posts are getting the most engagement. The number of posts for each hashtag gives you a general idea of how big the audience is for that topic, and whether or not you should target it.
As a general rule, though, it’s better to go for hashtags that are not overpopulated with millions and millions of posts. Your content is only likely to get lost in a sea of images or posts. Better to target hashtags that have a more niche audience so that your content is more likely to gain greater visibility and reach.
Blogs and Forums
In every industry, there are questions regarding products, services, and options. People seek reviews of popular products and look for recommendations on which one best suits them. A lot of blogs and YouTube channels cover this type of content. And so one thing that you can do is go out in search of these blogs and channels and engage in the comments.
Beware: Don’t start pitching your own business just yet. Instead, be helpful. Provide support. Share your experiences with certain products. Give your own honest opinion.
Platforms like Reddit and Quora are the perfect place to jump in and engage with online communities. Here, a lot of people are seeking answers. They ask specific questions and don’t always find the right answers in the responses. You can be their guiding light.
One script that sometimes works, especially if someone’s asking for recommendations, is to give your honest opinion: “Between the two, I really liked this product more,” and then sneak in a bit of a pitch: “But I still found that it didn’t have all the features I wanted. So I made my own. You can try it out and see for yourself if it’s a better fit for you.”
Finding the right audience for your business is critical for success. It requires a lot of hard work at the start and can take a bit of time. That’s why agencies like Disrupt Digital exist. You can leave it to professionals with experience so you can spend more time growing your business and improving your products and services.