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Understanding Your Audience
Copywriting / 11 Jul 2022
Identifying your audience and understanding their unique needs is the holy grail of marketing. If you want to retain a competitive edge and stay au fait with current trends, knowing who you are targeting is vital.
The above might read like a “well, duh“ statement, but you’d be surprised how many howlers are made by marketers who are writing copy but don’t truly understand their target audience.
Audience insights form (or should form) the building blocks of any content marketing strategy. They infiltrate so many, if not all, aspects of your marketing practices, from compelling copywriting to defining your USP, establishing your tone of voice, and building a content strategy.
If you’re writing copy without a specific audience in mind, you’ve got yourself an express ticket to high bounce rates and poor user experience. And thanks to the constant changing of search engine algorithms, it’s harder than ever to stay afloat in the stormy seas of strategy and content creation.
Let us throw you a rope. This guide will help you better understand your audience and in turn, harness the power of conversion-worthy website copywriting.
Why Do You Need To Understand Your Audience?
Understanding your audience saves on time and resources. If you make content decisions based on a hunch rather than solid research, you risk losing prospects and rendering your marketing efforts void.
Yes, gathering data for digital content creation may seem time-consuming initially. But trust us, learning what your users want will enable you to start writing copy that delivers meaningful hooks and lasting solutions. With this strategy, you’ll gain:
- Improved ROI
- Client loyalty and longevity
- More time (finally) for you to invest in other projects
Let’s break this down a little more.
Benefits Of Understanding Your Audience
Easier Content Positioning
Writing copy for everyone equates to writing copy for no one. Prioritising who you are trying to connect with makes it easier to curate high-value content that reaches your intended audience.
More Authentic Communication
Your tone of voice is not what you say but how you say it. How you speak to your audience dictates how your message is perceived, so understanding how your audience prefers to be addressed can be really powerful. For instance, 65% of customers say they connect more with brands that use a positive tone of voice, making it a crucial consideration when it comes to optimising your content.
Whether conveyed via website copywriting, email marketing or a TikTok reel, your TOV can help your content to:
- embody your brand values; honouring social purpose
- mirror how your target audience communicates; demonstrating relatability
- support a more consistent brand personality; promoting trustworthiness
- provide measurable results; upping ROI.
Ensures Customer Expectations Are Met
Understanding what your audience requires can be the difference between hitting the goal post and striking the net.
The more you understand the pains and challenges of your audience, the better you can meet their expectations and provide a solution.
In this sense, customer retention relies on continually evolving content to answer their needs–not relying on outdated methodologies that no longer meet their requirements.
Provides Your Users With A Better Experience
Getting the messaging wrong is kind of like getting your Starbucks with your name misspelt on the cup; it feels lazy, a little insulting, and sort of ruins the experience.
Creating a content strategy based on informed decisions rather than guesswork will leave your clients feeling genuinely appreciated and understood. Which means they are more likely to (a) come back and (b) recommend your services elsewhere.
One way to ensure you understand your target audience and produce content catered to them is to create a buyer persona. Buyer personas are fictional profiles used to depict the ideal customer for individual businesses.
These personalities are based on internal and external market research such as:
- Information provided by existing clients
- Data about competitor clients
- Data about potential customers who may not be aware of your company (yet!) but could benefit from your services
Essentially, buyer personas are the people you want as your customers.
How to Build Buyer Personas
When writing copy and curating your content for campaigns, buyer personas can be really helpful. Although fictional representations, these handy dandy avatars are based on facts that can help brands form a lasting bond with consumers.
Why is this important? Well, in a recent study, 95% of customers said they were more likely to be loyal to a company they trust. At the same time, 59% of global customers surveyed felt that companies had lost touch with the human element of the customer experience–a non-negotiable requirement for building consumer confidence in brands.
What does this mean? In a nutshell, digital content needs to speak to buyers on a human level; it needs to mirror how buyers communicate themselves.
Your buyer persona can help open up and maintain a meaningful dialogue between you and your client. Hello customer retention, goodbye customer churn.
Defining Your Buyer Persona
Research Your Audience
To create your buyer persona, you need to research your audience. Begin by asking what you already know about them. Then, gather the data that you have on hand.
Start by digging into your Google Analytics account to get the low down on social network insights and demographic info like gender, race, income, education, and employment. Combine this data with any additional details that you already know about your customer et voila, you’ve got the foundation of your buyer persona.
An important thing to note here is the difference between knowing and understanding. Knowing who your audience is is not the same as understanding how they operate on an emotional level. According to a study by Salesforce, 66% of respondents said they often feel like a number rather than a valued person–and you want to create content for humans, not numbers, right?
In comes psychographic data, which is really just a fancy way of figuring out what your customer’s hobbies and lifestyle are. These behaviour insights also show how your customers interact with your business. For example, how they navigate and engage with your website and your social media channels.
Easy, Time-Saving Methods for Gathering Audience Information:
Create Forms To Use On Your Website
You can use form fields on your website to gather information about returning clients and newbies. Asking those you’ve already converted from prospect to client can provide helpful feedback about what works and what doesn’t–like why they signed up or purchased from you in the first place and why other website users haven’t committed to x, y or z offering, yet.
Example Market Research Questions:
- What motivated you to choose our services?
- How do you use our services?
- Are there any other services you would be interested in from us?
- What are your future business goals?
- Are you likely to use our services in the future?
- Would you recommend our services?
Digital Polls And Surveys
Online polls and surveys are a great way to get feedback from clients about what they do or don’t appreciate about your content. Involving your clients as willing market research participants just makes sense. Polls and surveys demonstrate to your audience that you’re actively seeking to know more about what they need. This shows that you not only value them and their opinion, but that you’ll rise to the occasion to be sure their concerns are heard.
A word of caution: what people say can differ from what people actually do. Make sure you back up any claims made in surveys with concrete data.
Speak To Your Audience Directly
Whether you decide to do this by sending a personalised email or ringing them up on the phone, having a personal chat with clients can go a long way. It gives a more intimate touch to your market research and helps your customers feel seen and heard. Connecting with your customers in this way is a win-win because you form a stronger business-client bond, while also learning key strengths and weaknesses about your product or service.
Plus, customers love feeling like they are involved in product development and that they’ve got a seat at the table.
Segmenting Your Audience
If you try to please everyone, you’re more likely to please no one. Take for example, those generic LinkedIn posts that are clearly copied and pasted. You see through them, right? This is why personal messaging is powerful. Rather than casting a wide net, segment your audience into different demographics that can be targeted individually.
This makes it easier to appeal to various types of customers because they are receiving information tailored to them rather than kitschy, catch-all ads. Work smarter, not harder, right?
Segmenting data can help organisations refine their promotional efforts by directing energy towards clients who are more likely to be converted. This can lead to:
- improved personalisation
- increased product relevance
- advanced advertising effectiveness
Be careful not to simply duplicate which clients you involve in your data research, though. You may not want to convert the same audience in every campaign.
Using SEO-Metrics to Understand Your Audience
Tracking your SEO performance can tell you where your traffic is coming from and how incoming traffic responds to your website. For instance, Google Analytics indicates the average number of pages viewed per traffic type and which sources perform best. This is particularly helpful when segmenting your audience. Afterall, by knowing the best platforms to reach your targeted subgroup, you can funnel them where you want them to be.
Furthermore, Google Analytics can show you the average time users spend on your website, revealing what content visitors engage with most and content they bat away like a fly. This solution-inspiring data provides an insight into where the user experience fails to meet expectations, a.k.a. pages with high bounce rates or less traffic, and presents opportunities to up your digital marketing game and woo prospects.
The above can all seem a little confusing. One way to save on brainpower and expenditure is to collaborate with SEO professionals who, using SEO writing, can improve your website performance beyond comparison. Our expert copywriting services promise a fully managed, turnkey copy solution that you can simply switch on and let run.
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Giving Your Buyer Persona A Narrative
Now that you’ve narrowed your audience down into more manageable buyer personas, it’s time to bring them to life.
Give your buyer persona a name, age, job title, hobbies, and career goals. Using the data you’ve collected, ask yourself: What interests them? What keeps them up at night? What are their challenges and pains? What do they seek help with?
Unsure where to start? Try looking for LinkedIn profiles that match your target audience and draw from there. You can also challenge yourself to write a story about your persona for 20-30 minutes. The better you understand who they are, what they want, and why, the better you’ll be able to create interactive content that fully resonates with them.
We want to keep in mind that the point of building buyer personas is to make sure all of your content is as relatable and as human as possible. So, the more you can flesh them out into realistic people, the easier it is to imagine them when writing copy or designing content for your target audience.
Using Your Buyer Persona to Curate Marketing Strategies
Now you know your buyer persona’s goals and challenges, you can offer them the marketing content and services that will genuinely aid them.
When you know what they’re trying to accomplish and what challenges they face, you can tailor your marketing to provide methods and strategies to help them achieve just that. And the more promising solutions you can deliver when writing copy, the more appealing and helpful your company appears to qualified leads and prospects.
Take Stock of Your Current Content Bank
After collecting your data and constructing your persona, there is an opportunity to take stock of your current content bank and identify what needs to change.
Try not to solely focus on creating new content. Look at your current landing pages and digital campaigns and consider what needs a little sprucing up and what needs a total overhaul.
Take advantage of your revived consumer knowledge by revamping previous pieces to target existing pain points and challenges and sustain best SEO practices. Keep in mind, your customer’s needs can sometimes be as fluctuating as algorithm updates– keywords that appealed to them and Google amendments a year ago may do little to generate leads today.
Likewise, how you navigate your website is a key enabler for your business. You can utilise your website copywriting and landing pages as an interface with multiple pathways (read: links) to valuable destinations that will help prospects achieve their objectives with ease.
You will, of course, have more than one audience–all of your copywriting doesn’t have to appeal to every single person. Separate sections of your website can be dedicated to specific visitor journeys, for example. Our advice: remember the segmentation advice above and don’t try to speak to them all at once–each piece of content should appeal to explicit groups, not your entire contact base.
Examples of Brands Understanding Their Audience
The car-sharing company, Zipcar, understands that its members and employees come from diverse backgrounds, including the LGBTQ+ community. In 2021, in alignment with their values of creativity, connection and celebration, Zipcar ran the #haveprideinyourride campaign in an effort to invite this community to design the car’s summer branding.
Zipcar expertly segmented its audience, positively targeting progressive millennial urbanites and Gen Z users who want to see more brands actively engaging with diversity. Combining this incentive, the winning new design, and inclusive copywriting, Zipcar presents itself as an ally to underrepresented groups, directly appealing to young drivers and LGBTQ+ members and supporters.
The cherry on the cake? Timing. On top of lining up with Pride 2021 celebrations, after several dreary months of pandemic pessimism, the bold and bright messaging provided the sense of hope and renewal that people were so desperate for at the time.
Starling Bank is one of the fastest-growing SME banks in the UK. The Fintech corporation has cleverly taken its name from a companionable bird: the starling, a motif present throughout their marketing campaigns. Flight and freedom abound in their copywriting, inviting consumers to break free of the constraints of high-street banks.
Their distinct positioning as a challenger bank is bolstered by their diversity-driven campaigns, website copywriting, and in-app features, aimed at those who have previously felt underrepresented in the financial sector.
The bank uses story-driven marketing by way of sharing interviews with business owners, including the story behind their founder, Anne Boden, the first woman to found a bank, to spotlight their challenges and triumphs. This passes the mic onto real humans, turning up the dial on empathy and providing relatable content for its users.
Transparency is at the heart of everything Patagonia does, and it works. Patagonia understands that if they want to appeal to savvy, environmentally-conscious consumers, they need to sing their sustainability efforts loud and clear.
Conscious consumers know that no brand is perfect; what they want to see is brands actively striving to make a difference. So, the anti-greenwashing brand walks the walk; they imprint their stores, websites and social media with information about how they manufacture their products and their social and environmental impact.
Patagonia has one of the most loyal customer databases because they serve their audience information on a plate that many brands invest in covering up. This builds indisputable trust and respect in their brand persona and ethics.
Understanding Equals Impact
Users instinctively favour brands that attend to their needs throughout their customer journey. Whether through website copywriting, SEO writing, or OOH marketing, prioritising content that genuinely connects with your chosen audience means you can get meaningful and impactful content out to your audience(s) quicker.
In plain English, you waste less time discussing, planning and producing low-value and high-cost content and gain more time to: improve customer satisfaction, increase customer lifetime value, and boost long-term revenue.
Already prepping for your next meeting? We can help you manage your time and budget and elevate the future of your business. Better than a crystal ball; we offer relevant, impactful, conversion-worthy copywriting. To find out more, discover our services here.
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