If you’ve read our blog before you’ve heard us talk about the importance of knowing your audience and meeting them where they are. But not all audiences are the same and neither are the best ways to reach them. So how exactly do you find the best ways to reach your target audience?

Do Your Research

Third-party data is a great jumping-off point in the research process but you shouldn’t stop there. If you need to discover the best ways to reach your target audience, ask them. Trust us, talking to your current customers can go a long way towards improving your efforts to capture more.

How did they first find out about you? Was it from a friend, sales rep or admissions counselor? Maybe they found you through your website or social media presence? Where do they look for information about your brand? Is there a way they’d prefer to hear from you? Answering these questions can help shape your decisions about which tactics will be the most effective ways to reach folks.

A couple of ways you can do this are…

  • Surveys – Survey says… Surveys can be a great (and fairly easy) way to ask a lot of people your questions at once and gather data to help you see the big picture. Remember your goal here is to have a decent sample size of data so be sure to limit barriers that might prevent people from responding and consider offering incentives to encourage participation even further.
  • Interviews – Go beyond the “on a scale of one to five…” and talk to your customer one-on-one. In-person or over the phone conversations can allow you to dive a little deeper and get more detailed answers.
  • Focus Groups – Going “behind-the-scenes” (or rather behind-the-glass) can be a great way to get their honest opinions. Chances are if they don’t know you’re there, they won’t hold back.

Develop Buyer Personas

This is where that research we talked about comes into play. You don’t need to know their entire life story but you should know any information that will inform how they interact with your brand (online and off).

Talking to more than one target audience segment? The best way to reach each of them is likely different. After all, how many times have we heard how different Millennials and Boomers (or even Gen X) are? For your buyer personas to be effective you’ll need one for each of your target audience segments.

Implement Tracking on Your Website

Make sure your website is set up with appropriate Google Analytics tags so you can track where people came from (& where they go next!) and any micro-conversions that occurred along the way. Capturing this data will give you an idea of how prospects and current customers are moving through the buyer’s journey and help you understand how to better reach your target audience throughout their journey. Are you getting a lot of web traffic from emails, paid social media, or Google Ads? Dive a little deeper into your data take note of any trends that appear.

Test & Optimize

Digital marketing gives us the opportunity to test and optimize in real-time. Make sure you’re taking advantage. Notice one channel is seeing better results at reaching your target audience. Focus your efforts there.

Remember the journey to conversion may be a long one and there’s likely more than one “best” way to reach your target audience. But if you do your research, create effective buyer personas, track your web traffic and keep refining your strategy as you go you’ll be well on your way to reaching the people who matter.