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This DIY mask test kit finds that your neck fleece isn’t really helping

This may be of some interest.

Scientists developing a tool to help mask manufacturers make sure their cloth masks actually work found some masks work better than others, and one kind works particularly badly.

If you buy a cloth mask online—whether from Amazon or Etsy or a large manufacturer such as Adidas—you’ll see a warning reminding you that what you’re buying isn’t medical grade. And while the evidence continues to mount that cloth face masks work, it’s also true that every mask isn’t equally effective, and many companies now making masks are doing it for the first time. In the absence of regulation for cloth masks, as shortages of more proven N95 masks continue, how can consumers or the manufacturers making masks know how much protection they offer?

Read Full Story

Thank you for reading.

A too-simple answer to a complicated problem

This may be of some interest.

The problem: how can we get people what they want and need?

It turns out that the simple short-term answer is the market.

The marketplace makes it possible to buy a nail clipper made of hardened steel for just four dollars, but only when you’re ready. The marketplace offers some people a solid brass set of the cups and balls magic trick and other people a hand-blown glass vase.

The marketplace is hyper-alert and never tires of finding overlooked corners of desire.

But the marketplace is not wise.

It’s blind, short-term and fairly stupid. Because it has no overarching goal. The market is nothing but billions of selfish people, trading this for that, without regard for what’s next.

Left alone, capitalism will devolve into corruption, bribery and predatory pricing leading to monopoly. Left alone, capitalism will pollute rivers, damage our health and create ever greater divides.

Capitalism gets us an opioid epidemic, the dark patterns of social media and doom scrolling.

Because the market isn’t wise. It has no sense of time or proportion.

The only way for the simple answer to solve our complicated problems is for it to have guardrails, boundaries that enable it to function for the long haul.

That’s something we need leadership to get done. And it’s more likely to get done if we acknowledge that we need to do it.

Thank you for reading.

How Using Humans And Chatbots Together Generated 182% More Qualified Leads

This may be of some interest.

This post is a part of Made @ HubSpot, an internal thought leadership series through which we extract lessons from experiments conducted by our very own HubSpotters.

Prospect expectations for businesses have never been higher — in fact, according to Google, 61% of people now expect brands to deliver personalized experiences. 

At the same time, the amount of people who want to reach a business through messaging continues to rise. Which means keeping up on chat can be tough, even for well-trained teams.

At HubSpot, we felt the brunt of that pain in early 2018. We have a specific sales team that handles chatting with people on our website. At the time, we’d been using live chat across most of HubSpot.com to engage with prospects in a way that felt natural.

Unfortunately, sales leadership began noticing we were losing out on valuable, high-intent prospects who were attempting to reach us via live chat. We simply didn’t have a guaranteed way of ensuring their needs were addressed by a member of our team — which meant we were losing out on potential sales, big time.

When my marketing team at HubSpot connected with the sales team to discuss the issue, we recognized live chat alone no longer suited our needs. To appropriately communicate with each prospect and create that highly personalized experience our website visitors crave, we needed to scale our sales team’s productivity with a chatbot.

Here, we’ll explore why we decided to build a chatbot, how we designed the experience, and why it might be an outstanding solution for your own business in 2019 — and beyond.

Why Live Chat Didn’t Work For Us

When the live chat sales team reached out to us, we knew we needed to make the team more efficient.

Live chat in-and-of-itself wasn’t a problem — but, unfortunately, we weren’t tailoring the conversations to the visitor and their problems. We knew sifting through each and every visitor’s inquiry was the right thing to do, since it helped solve for the customer and answer any prospect’s questions.

But, since they all fell under the same bucket, it became increasingly difficult for the sales team to keep up. And for the majority of people who didn’t leave us with a way to get back in touch, they were gone forever.

At one point, over a third of the people who chatted with us
never heard anything back.

Additionally, hundreds of the chats we received each month were from users who simply needed product support. This ate part of our sales team’s valuable bandwidth, making it harder for them to get in touch with site visitors who actually needed to speak with a sales rep.

Ultimately, this poor experience added unnecessary friction for our site visitors and sales reps.

Why We Decided to Build a Chatbot

After some internal discussion, we set out to build a chatbot that would engage with visitors, triage them, and get them to the right place, sooner. This would be a win-win for both visitors to our site, and the sales team.

To figure out what this chatbot should do, we first looked at live chat transcripts. They’re an invaluable resource when doing conversational marketing, since you can hear in the prospect’s own words what they want to do. There are technical ways to classify chats (like natural language processing), but a qualitative approach is fine to start.

We then bucketed intents from live chat into three buckets — sales, support, and a catch-all “other”. To start the chatbot, we prompted people to select the topic that best matched their intent.

After speaking with our support team, we learned that getting technical help with a product while on the website can be tricky. There are rich and thorough resources better-suited for getting these kinds of answers. So, rather than keeping someone in the chatbot, we used what we know about them in the CRM to point them in the right direction. The chatbot would look at their contact record, and then serve up a contextual web page depending on the products they were using.

Even though our prospects couldn’t connect with a human right away, we set them up for better long-term success.

hubspot chatbot example

Next, we recognized a large percentage of the people who interacted with live chat did, in fact, want to talk to our sales team. But that didn’t mean trying to connect them to a human right away was efficient for either group.

We interviewed and observed the sales team to understand their experience with chat. Right away, we noticed each sales rep needed to know three key facts about the user to tailor the conversation to their business — name, email, and website.

The sales team said in an ideal world, they wanted this context before chatting with a prospect — an issue we knew a chatbot could solve. We programmed the chatbot to collect this information in a natural, contextual way.

Additionally, we knew a prospect would become frustrated if they needed to repeat themselves — in fact, NewVoiceMedia found it to be the most frustrating aspect of customer experience. To combat this issue, we again checked the CRM, and if you’d ever filled out a HubSpot form, we’d skip the questions altogether.

Collecting this information up-front enabled the sales team to spend more time selling, and less time chasing down email addresses.

Our Results

At the beginning of this project, our main goal was to deflect support-related chats away from our sales team. But, even as someone who has been building chatbots for almost four years, I’ll admit — what we saw was shocking.

When compared to live chat, 75% more people engaged with the chatbot.

Additionally, over 55% of people gave real answers to the basic qualifying questions and reached a human. While the drop-off there may seem steep, sifting out low-intent people proved incredibly helpful for the sales team.

hubspot chatbot results

Ultimately, our chatbot’s success came in a few ways — first, the chatbot anticipated the next step of the conversation and used quick replies to drive a visitor forward. Opening up a chat and clicking a contextual button has less friction than typing in a text field — now, people didn’t need to come up with the first message themselves.

It makes sense that multiple choice options drive more engagement. Think of it this way — when you meet someone new, often the hardest part of the conversation is the beginning, when you’re trying to think of something to say. But once the conversation starts rolling, things become smoother.

The same is true for our prospects when they engage with a chatbot versus live chat.

Additionally, 9% of people who chatted with the bot needed support help — we were able to deflect those visitors away from humans in a helpful way, serving up the best place to get answers to their questions quickly.

It’s important to note when designing conversations, the hardest and most overlooked aspect is to write like a human. As consumers, we rarely process in our heads that we want to “talk to sales”. Instead, we only know we want to talk about “products I’m not yet using”. Writing with the “jobs to be done” in mind is a great philosophy for conversational design.

how chatbot generated more qualified leads hubspot

Takeaways for Your Business

At the end of the experiment, I’ve found a few takeaways that can help you and your business succeed, as well.

First, chatbots are a great opportunity to meet your visitors where they are. If you want to get started with a chatbot, look at chat transcripts, or interview your sales team to understand the types of questions people typically ask. Bucket those questions into a few critical categories.

Also, it’s critical you and your team think through and anticipate the best way to help those various buckets of people. The more you can personalize — perhaps through your CRM — the better.

Ultimately, using a chatbot to get people the help they need is a huge win for both your prospects and your business. In our case, site visitors now had the best resources for their support issues, and our sales team was able to capture more qualified leads.

The best part? Both sides did this in a frictionless, efficient way.

Editor’s note: This post was originally written in February 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Thank you for reading.

6 New Rules for B2B Marketing in the COVID-19 Era

This may be of some interest.

B2B Marketing Rules Covid-19

B2B Marketing Rules Covid-19
I was supposed to go to an Alanis Morissette concert this July. When the pandemic hit hard in March, I wasn’t ready to cancel my ticket yet. Surely,
surely we would have it sorted in time for an outdoor concert four months from now. I held out hope. Then, in June, she rescheduled for July, 2021. And now I’m wondering if that will be enough time.

Isn’t it ironic? 

Don’t you think?

All of which to say: This pandemic has been around for longer than we thought it would, and is looking to linger far longer than we would like. What seemed like a brief, surreal interlude to be gotten through has now become a reality to live with, at least for the time being.

As B2B marketers, we need to reassess how we are adapting our marketing to our buyers’ current situation. We’re no longer scrambling to cobble together short-term fixes — we need to be out of reaction mode and into strategic planning mode.

Our marketing agency has been helping clients revise their marketing plans for months now, from messaging and audience to tactics and measurement. Here are a few rules we’ve picked up that other marketers should follow:

6 New Rules for B2B Marketing in the COVID-19 Era

Rule #1: Always Be Relevant

Okay, this is less a NEW rule than a timely reminder. I’m sure most marketers who read our blog (as smart, skilled and beautiful as you are) don’t need to hear it. But just in case: You should never come to an audience without something of value.

Corollary: “Something of value” can not equal “Knowledge of how our product/solution can improve your life.”

People are distracted and stressed. They’re dealing with a new crisis every day. They’re spending way more time with their children than is psychologically healthy. And they have more content than ever before to occupy their free time. If you’re asking for their attention, you must reward it. Be entertaining, be useful, be both if you can. [bctt tweet=”‘Be entertaining, be useful, be both if you can’ in your #B2B content marketing, says @nitewrites.” username=”toprank”]

After you deliver, then you can ask for a next step. But make sure your content is intrinsically valuable.

Rule #2: Encourage Interaction

The pandemic lifestyle is, to put it lightly, isolating. Who would have thought you could miss hearing co-workers rock in their chairs, play music a little too loud, or bump into you in the hallway? Most of us are craving social interaction.

If you’re used to broadcasting with your content, it’s time to consider how you can start conversations. How can you interact with your audience on a human level? How can you encourage them to interact with each other, too? Think how much your audience would value a lively, thought-provoking conversation with their colleagues and peers.

You can encourage interaction with content in a few easy ways:

  • Host a LinkedIn Live chat
  • Run a Twitter chat
  • Sponsor a topic-themed chat in a video conferencing app
  • Run an interactive webinar

In general, look for ways you can call out a subset of your audience and get them talking, both to each other and to your brand representatives. We can all use a little more social interaction right now.

Rule #3: Keep Messaging Empathetic

I don’t know about you, but I cringe every time I see an ad about something “going viral.” We are 6 months into a viral pandemic and marketers are still running ads about going viral! How can this be? 

This is just one example of how completely innocuous messaging pre-COVID can seem tone-deaf now. Does your content have an anecdote about a dinner party with 15 people? Does your header image feature a crowd of people? Are you talking about “going into the office” or “thinking about this on your commute?” If so, you’re alienating your audience.

Not every piece of content has to be about the pandemic, or being nostalgic for the world that once was. But there needs to be a baseline of empathy: Working from home, social distancing, and mask-wearing are all facts of everyday life.

Rule #4: Experiment with Formats

In the time before the pandemic, we all spent hours looking at screens every day. It’s just there were different screens, in different environments. It was easier to differentiate between the office and home, work and play. Now, our surroundings are homogenous throughout the day — and the content we consume feels same-y, too.

Think about content fatigue as you plan your calendar. Is your audience looking for another wall of text? Do they want to look at another grid of talking heads? 

Our agency is finding more success right now with multimedia, interactive content. Our B2B Influencer Marketing report is an example. The content includes case studies, influencer participation, and original research, presented in an animated, dynamic way.

Essentially, keep in mind that idea of efficiently delivering value. Can your blog post be a quick video or audio interview instead? And can that video be five minutes long instead of 10?  [bctt tweet=”Can your blog post be a quick video or audio interview instead? And can that video be five minutes long instead of 10? says @nitewrites.” username=”toprank”]

Rule #5: Collaborate on Content

For me, one of the stranger elements of pandemic life is learning how similar I am to everyone else. I had an urge to do puzzles in March — all the stores were sold out. I wanted to make bread in April — the stores ran out of flour. In May, everyone bought bikes. 

Right now, every B2B business is missing their trade shows and in-person demos. So most of them are doubling down on content. The best way to differentiate your content is to bring your audience voices they can’t hear anywhere else.

Co-create content with influencers. Feature subject matter experts in your organization. Tap your current and prospective customers to get their take. The more voices you can bring to your content, the more it will stand out to your audience.

Rule #6: Re-Align Measurement with Current Goals

Per rule #1, people are less interested in promotional content right now. Businesses may have put their purchasing plans on hold, or at least tightened budgets. Marketing’s chief goal right now is likely to be establishing brand credibility, creating thought leadership content, and building relationships for the future.

As your goals change, your measurement must change as well. You can’t measure an awareness campaign in SQLs, or relationship-building in number of demo requests received. That doesn’t mean giving up on measurement or accountability — it just means making the metrics match your goals. For example, you could measure:

  • Brand share of voice
  • Email/Blog subscribers
  • Social media audience/interactions
  • Content consumption metrics (time on page, scroll depth, links clicked)
  • Content resonance (backlinks and social shares)

How New Are These Rules?

So here’s the $100,000 (adjusted for inflation) question: At what point should you stop producing relevant, interactive, empathetic, dynamic and collaborative content? When can you heave a sigh of relief, stop listening to your audience, and start broadcasting promotional messages?

When you put it that way, it’s obvious: These rules are best practices for content no matter what’s going on in the world. The pandemic didn’t create the need for these rules; it just amplified how crucial they are. Back in January, we might have had the luxury of ignoring one or more of them. Now we have the joyous necessity of being forced to do better.

And that’s the good news: Making your marketing better for the pandemic will make you a better marketer now and for whatever comes next.

Need help creating content? We’re here for you.

The post 6 New Rules for B2B Marketing in the COVID-19 Era appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

20 B2B Influencer Marketing Pros to Follow from Top Brands

This may be of some interest.

B2B influencer marketing pros from top brands

B2B influencer marketing pros from top brands

Recently we published the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report after surveying hundreds of B2B marketers about their experiences, best practices, tools, budgets and plans for the future.

In an environment where B2B marketing is decidedly digital and marketers are hard pressed to squeeze more productivity out of fewer resources, credible information about marketing best practices, operations and trends for the future are in high demand. Judging by the response we’ve had to The State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report so far, we’re definitely meeting a need.

There is both optimism and an unrealized opportunity with influencer marketing for B2B companies. For evidence, check out these stats from the report:

  • 78% of B2B marketers believe prospects rely on advice from influencers
  • 74% believe that Influencer Marketing improves customer and prospect experiences
  • 63% agree that marketing would have better results if it included an Influencer Marketing program
  • 60% of marketers who use always on Influencer Marketing programs are very successful vs. 5% who do periodic campaigns

And yet:

  • Only 19% of B2B marketers are running ongoing influencer marketing programs
  • Only half include a plan for influencer activation in their influencer marketing strategy
  • Only 35% of marketers use software to identify potential influencers
  • 60% say they don’t have the knowledge to execute or have the right skills in house to implement ongoing Influencer Marketing programs

Influencer Marketing is a significant opportunity for B2B Marketers to connect with trusted and credible experts that have the attention of audiences that are probably overwhelmed with information and ignoring most of the ads that do get to them. At the same time B2B brands that build relationships to co-create content with these industry voices can integrate influence with thought leadership to build the authority and influence of brand employees.

It is very satisfying to have spent the past 8 years focusing on such a niche aspect of B2B marketing to see it now start to grow in acceptance, adoption and maturity amongst some of the top B2B brands in the world.  Where there were previously no positions outside of PR with “influencer” in the title, now it is much more common to find marketers with titles like, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, VP Influencer Marketing and Communications, or B2B Influencer Engagement Strategist.

Many B2B marketing professionals with these titles have earned hard won insights into what makes influencer marketing truly work for B2B, especially during a time when brand marketers are highly motivated to focus on strategies and tactics that will help them survive and thrive during the pandemic.

To help you connect with the collective wisdom of the B2B influencer marketing crowd, here are 20 B2B Influencer Marketing Professionals to follow (in no particular order):

Ursula Ringham
Ursula Ringham
@ursularingham
Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP

Rani Mani
Rani Mani
@ranimani0707
Head of Social Influencer Enablement at Adobe

Jen Holtvluwer
Jen Holtvluwer
@JenHoltvluwer
CMO at Spirion

Garnor Morantes
Garnor Morantes
/in/garnormorantes/
Group Marketing Manager at LinkedIn

Martin Hanna
Martin Hanna
@martyhanna
VP, Analyst and Influencer Relations at Schneider Electric

Amisha Gandhi
Amisha Gandhi
@AmishaGandhi
VP Influencer Marketing and Communications at SAP Ariba

Chris Purcell
Chris Purcell
@chrispman01
Manager, Influencer Marketing at Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Janine Wegner
Janine Wegner
@JanineWegner
Global Thought Leadership Program & Activation Manager at Dell

Marshall Kirkpatrick
Marshall Kirkpatrick
@marshallk
VP, Influencer Relations, Analyst Relations, and Competitive Intelligence at Sprinklr

Angela Lipscomb
Angela Lipscomb
@AngelaLipscomb
Influencer Relations Manager at SAS

Srijana Angdembey
Srijana Angdembey
@srijanaa
Director Social Media Marketing at Oracle

Ann Boyd
Ann Boyd
@annb
VP Corporate Communications at Cherwell Software

Tom Treanor
Tom Treanor
@RtMixMktg
Global Head of Marketing at Arm Treasure Data

Sarah Groves
Sarah Groves
@sstoesser
Director, Communications, AT&T Business Marketing at AT&T Business

Alyssa Samuelson
Alyssa Samuelson
@alyssamuelson
Commercial Influencer Relations at Microsoft

Lucinda Henry
Lucinda Henry
@lucindarhenry1
B2B Influencer Engagement Strategist at Intel

Barbara French
Barbara French
@bfr3nch
Sr Director, Content and Influencer Marketing at Juniper Networks

Paul Dobson
Paul Dobson
@svengelsk
Sr. Director, Social and Influencer Marketing at Citrix

Meg Crawford
Meg Crawford
@Postgrad
Sr. Influencer/Social Media Marketing Manager at Splunk

Brandi Boatner
Brandi Boatner @ThinkBluePR
Social and Influencer Communications Lead Global Markets at IBM

Of course there are many B2B influencer marketing practitioners from the consulting and agency world that could be on a list like this, including some of my team at TopRank Marketing. Maybe we’ll publish such a list in the future, but for now this resource is focused on people working at B2B brands.

If you know of other B2B brand influencer marketing practitioners, who would you add to this list?

To tap into the collective wisdom of these and more B2B influencer marketing experts, be sure to check out the full report here.

B2B Influencer Marketing Report 2020

*SAP, LinkedIn, SAP Ariba, Dell, Cherwell and Treasure Data are TopRank Marketing clients. 

The post 20 B2B Influencer Marketing Pros to Follow from Top Brands appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

Esprit de l’escalier is overrated

This may be of some interest.

The quick comeback. The clever repartee. The ability to, in the moment, say precisely what needs to be said.

As the world gets faster, more of us feel the regret of the staircase. The perfect remark, often cutting, comes to us just a little too late.

Don’t worry about it.

Because as the world keeps getting faster, there’s actually a shortage of thoughtful, timeless ideas that are worth sharing an hour or a week later.

Thank you for reading.

How to Find Your Target Audience

This may be of some interest.

Target Audience

When I first started out in marketing, I thought traffic was everything.

I wanted to be as big as companies like HubSpot. Just look at the image above and you’ll see how many visitors they are getting.

They generate 29.61 million visitors a month from 11.74 million people. And those visitors produce roughly 10 billion dollars of market cap.

Now, let’s look at NeilPatel.com. Can you guess how many visitors I’m getting each month?

I’m generating roughly 8.717 million visitors a month from 3.616 million people.

When you look at it from a unique visitor perspective, HubSpot is getting 3.24 times more unique visitors than me.

So, in theory, I should be worth roughly 3 times less than them, right? Well, technically I’m not even worth 1/10th of them. Not even close.

Why is that? It’s because I didn’t go after the right target audience, while HubSpot did.

And today, I want you to avoid making this massive mistake that I made. Because marketing is tough, so why would you start off by going after the wrong people?

It will just cause you to waste years and tons of money like it did with me.

Defining your target audience is the first and most essential step towards success for any company or business, especially if you are just getting started.

So before we dive into things, let me first break down what you are about to learn in this article:

  • What is a Target Audience?
  • The Difference Between Target Audience and Persona
  • The Importance of Selecting Your Target Audience Correctly
  • How to Define your Target Audience: 6 Questions to Help You
  • Creating Customized Content for Your Audience

Let’s get started!

What is a target audience?

A target audience is a share of consumers that companies or businesses direct their marketing actions to drive awareness of their products or services.

I know that is a tongue twister, so let me simplify it a bit more…

The intention here is to target a market with whom you will communicate with. A group of people with the same level of education, goals, interests, problems, etc. that will need the product or service you are selling.

Basically, you want to target people who will buy your stuff.

If you target people who don’t want to buy your stuff, you might get more traffic to your site… but it won’t do much for you. And you’ll be pulling out your hair trying to figure out why none of your visitors are buying from you.

Now before we dive into the details on finding your target audience, let’s first go over “personas” because many people confuse them with a target audience and if you do, you’ll just end up wasting time.

The difference between a target audience and a persona

You already know the definition, so I won’t bore you with that again.

The most commonly used data to define the target audience of a company are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education background
  • Purchasing power
  • Social class
  • Location
  • Consumption habits

Examples of a target audience: Women, 20-30 years old, living in Los Angeles, with a bachelor’s degree, monthly income of $4,000 – $6,000, and passionate about fashion and decor.

If you start a company without knowing your exact target audience, you could end up like me instead of HubSpot… we wouldn’t want that now. 😉

And here is another example. Let’s say you have a business that sells educational toys. So your target audience might be children, mothers, education specialists, or teachers.

Or you have a motorcycle business. Your audience will definitely not be people younger than 18, right?

There is no point in trying to reach everyone in order to increase your chances of sales and profit. It will actually cost you more and decrease your profit margins in the long run.

Now let’s go over “personas”…

Persona

In marketing, personas are profiles of buyers that would be your ideal customers.

Personas are fictional characters with characteristics of your real customers. They’re developed based on target audience research and may help you direct your marketing actions better.

A persona is a person that may be interested in what you have to offer since they’re very connected to your brand and you must make an effort to make them a client and retain them.

A persona involves much deeper and more detailed research than the target audience since it includes:

  • Personal characteristics
  • Purchasing power
  • Lifestyle
  • Interests
  • Engagement in social networks
  • Professional information

Persona example: Mariana, 22, blogger. Lives in Miami, Florida. Has a journalism degree. Has a blog and posts makeup tutorials and tips about fashion and decor. She always follows fashion events in the area and participates in meetings with other people in the fashion niche. As a digital influencer, she cares a lot about what people see on her social network profiles. Likes to practice indoor activities and go to the gym in her free time.

If I had to define the main difference between persona and target audience, I’d say that the target audience considers the whole, in a more general way, while the persona has a more specific form.

And if you want help creating personas for business, check out this article about creating the perfect persona. But for now, let’s focus on finding your right target audience.

The importance of choosing your target audience correctly

The big mistake I made was that I didn’t figure out my target audience when I first started. I just created content and started marketing to anyone who wanted traffic.

But that is a bit too vague because not everyone who wants more traffic is a good fit for my ad agency.

They could just want to be famous on Instagram or YouTube, which is a lot of people, but that doesn’t help me generate more income.

Funny enough, there are more people who are interested in getting Instagram followers than people who want to learn about SEO.

But once you know your target audience, it’s easier to find and perform keyword research. For example, I know that I shouldn’t waste too much time writing articles about Instagram or Twitch even though the search volume is high.

It will just cause me to get irrelevant traffic and waste my time/money.

And that’s the key… especially when it comes to things like SEO or paid ads. The moment you know your target audience, you can perform keyword research correctly and find opportunities that don’t just drive traffic, but more importantly, drive revenue.

Now let’s figure out your target audience.

How to define your target audience: 6 questions to help you

Figuring out your target audience isn’t rocket science. It just comes down to a few simple questions.

6 actually, to be exact.

Go through each of the questions below and you’ll know the exact audience you are targeting.

1. Who are they?

When thinking about who might be your target audience, you must consider who are the people who identify with your brand.

One way to find out is to monitor who follows, likes, shares, and comments on your posts on social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram.

If someone is willing to engage with you, then chances are they are your target.

But in many cases, your ideal audience may not always be on the social web. They might be inactive on social media but buy from your company frequently or sign up for your services.

Even those who bought from you only once must be considered a part of your target audience, as someone who bought once might buy again.

There is no point in making a great effort to sell if you don’t make a similar effort to keep the customers you have already gained.

Customers like to feel special, and that is why the post-sales process is so important. Your relationship with the customer must remain even after the purchase is completed.

2. What are their greatest difficulties, problems, or desires?

What is cool, interesting, and good for you might not be for the customer.

You can’t think only of yourself when it’s time to define the difficulties, problems, and desires of your target audience. You must put yourself in their shoes.

Don’t make offers based on what you think. Make them according to research grounded in data, previous experiences, and analysis of your potential customers’ behavior.

Understand the greatest difficulties your audience faces to try to help solve them.

3. Where do they find the information they need daily?

Everyone needs information.

Every day you are surrounded by tons of information on the channels that you follow, but when you need it the most, where do you go to find that information?

Identify the communication channels most appropriate to your target audience and try to talk to them using a specific language from their universe.

For example, I know my target audience will either read marketing blogs or spend a lot of time on social sites like YouTube and LinkedIn consuming information.

4. What is the benefit of your product?

Everyone wants solutions for their problems and to make their lives easier. This is a collective desire and it’s no different for your target audience.

Think a little about your product and the problem of your target audience. What benefits does your product or service offer? What can it do to solve those problems? What is the main value offer?

With so much competition, you must try to find your competitive advantage in your niche and always try to improve your product, offering something extra that others do not.

5. What draws their attention negatively?

Being optimistic helps a lot, but thinking about the negatives can also help, especially when we talk about target audiences.

Better than considering what your audience wants, you can consider what it definitely doesn’t want, what it considers negative, and what it avoids.

With this powerful information in hand, you may have more chances to captivate your potential customers.

Avoiding what they consider negative is the first step to gain their approval. After that, you only need to apply other strategies to do efficient marketing.

6. Who do they trust?

Trust is everything to your target audience. No one purchases a product or service from a company they don’t know or trust.

This is why reviews on Amazon are read and so important for sellers. They know it builds trust… it’s also helped Amazon become a trillion-dollar company.

Even though this is the last question to define target audiences, it is one of the most important ones.

This is why the reputation of your company is so important. Taking care of the relationship with your customers is essential as they will spread information about your brand on the internet and to their friends and family.

If you get good reviews, have positive comments, and garner a great reputation, this will be the base for potential customers to feel motivated to buy from you.

Creating customized content for your audience

Now that you know your audience, let’s get to the fun stuff. Let’s create content for them.

Everyone creates content, right? Just look at Google if you don’t believe me.

You just have to put a keyword on Google and you will see thousands if not millions of results for each keyword.

When you research “best earbuds” on Google, this is what you see:

Content Customized for your Audience 1

First, there are options of products from Google Shopping, with ads and prices for different earphones for various audiences, needs, and tastes.

Next, there is a list of sites and blogs with information about different types of earphones and comparisons:

Content Customized for your Audience 2

There is no shortage of content about this subject or any other that you can search for. Anyone can create and publish text with no barriers.

The question is how you can make this content more personalized and attractive for your consumer.

Everyone produces content. Millions of publications are posted every day.

The secret though is to create content that targets your ideal customer and no one else. Generic content may produce more traffic, but it will also produce fewer sales.

To find what your target audience is searching for, you can use Ubersuggest. Just type in a keyword related to your audience.

target audience ubersuggest 1

From there, on the left-hand navigation, click on “keyword ideas.” You’ll then be taken to a report that looks like the one below.

Content Customized for your Audience 2

You now have topics to choose from. Not all of them will be a good fit but some will.

I recommend that you go after the long-tail terms, such as “best earbuds for running” (assuming your target audience is active). The more generic terms like “best earbuds” will drive traffic and a few sales, but it won’t convert as well as more specific terms.

The same goes if you are doing keyword research for the service industry or even the B2B space.

Types of content to create

Once you have a list of keywords you want to target, you might be confused as to what type of content you should be creating.

You’ll want to create content based on your funnel. In essence, you want to cover each step of the funnel.

target audience sales funnel

The top of the funnel involves content created for visitors and leads, that is, people that might access your site, blog, or social networks by chance.

When thinking about the top of the funnel, the idea is to create materials with more general subjects, with clear and easily accessible language.

It could be educational content, including clarifications or curiosities about your product or service or something somehow related to your industry.

The middle of the funnel is when the conversions happen. In other words, in this stage, the person who has a problem and the intention to solve it considers the purchase of your product or service.

It’s the middle of the road, but it is not the sale itself, because it’s still only about ideas. It’s in the middle of the funnel that you get closer to your target audience and generate more identification.

Next: bottom of the funnel content. This content focuses more on your product or service.

Here you can introduce details about functions, benefits, and other direct information about your product or service.

It is far more likely to convert here as this particular audience has practically decided to buy already and you are only going to give them a final push.

Conclusion

I’m hoping this article saves you from making the big mistake I made.

But knowing your target audience isn’t enough, though. It doesn’t guarantee success. You still need to create and market your content. That’s why I covered keyword research in this article as well.

Once you create content, you may also want to check out these guides as they will help you attract the right people to your site:

So have you figured out your target audience yet?

The post How to Find Your Target Audience appeared first on Neil Patel.

Thank you for reading.