For years, demand gen practitioners have preached that successful campaigns always start with your target audience. It’s all about your buyers, they say; their wants, needs, pain points and how they measure success.
But who are they, really?
Some marketers can paint a detailed picture of their buyers and their unique characteristics. Others, however, are stuck designing broad-stroke campaigns.
I’m perpetually striving to further acquaint myself with my audience. The better I know them, the better content experience I’ll be able to give them. This means creating more intriguing emails that pique and interest, designing landing page experiences that generate more conversions and, ultimately, crafting more high-impact content that accelerates them through the funnel.
It all sounds fine and dandy doesn’t it? But how do we really go about doing this?
It may seem complex and you may already be stressing out about the long list of to-dos in your future, but don’t worry. Take a deep breath because it’s really not as complicated or time-consuming as it sounds. You already have everything you need right in front of you!
Mix Your Data Palette
If you want to create a beautiful content experience for your buyers, data is your color palette.
Over the years, you’ve rolled out a variety of marketing campaigns, driving leads through your funnel and passing them off to your always-appreciative sales team. (There may or may not be a hint of sarcasm there.) With each campaign, you’ve collected more and more data that can help you add color to what you already know about your buyers.
But first, you have to ask some questions. Here are a few of the classics:
- Content – What is my audience downloading? Which types?
- Landing pages – Which forms are converting at the highest rate? Which the lowest?
- Emails – What emails are they opening and when? Where are they clicking?
- Website – what pages are my audience visiting most? How long are they visiting for?
Paint Your Audience Portrait
With these metrics, we can start to sketch the outline of our audience portrait and begin to understand the content experiences they crave.
Of course, the good ol’ A/B test is a sure fire way to generate some hard data on these focal points. For example, by A/B testing a quick yet hard-hitting landing page vs. a longer, more descriptive one, you can understand the design and messaging approach that resonates with your audience and drives them to download an asset.
It’s always a good idea to A/B test as much as you can, but it’s not completely necessary. After all, you’re gathering valuable data every day through your normal marketing operations that you can use to add detail to your final portrait.
By looking at form data, you are able to determine which pieces of content are most popular. What is the common thread amongst them? What are their formats? What are their topics or themes? Are they commonly focused on specific roles or job functions? These overarching trends will help you get a better understanding of your audience’s content preferences.
Landing Page Visits
Once you have the form data, take a step back and look at email performance for that specific piece of content. What are the click-through rates of each email? How do these results compare to your content downloads? This conversion rate will give you a sense of how well your landing page is aligned with your audience’s preferences. Is the form too detailed and off-putting? Or maybe the copy is too long and descriptive? Test some different approaches and see how these changes impact conversions. As the percentage rises, you’ll know you’re on the right track to audience alignment.
While you’re looking at your email results, take a look at your open rates, as well. Which subject lines seem to resonate best with your audience — descriptive and informative or light and playful? What time of day do you see higher open rates? Are emails with large, compelling images generating more clicks? Each data point adds another piece to the puzzle. As you collect more insights, you’ll be able to better tailor your emails for your audience.
Finally, take a look at some of your web browsing data. Which section is driving the most traffic? Is it your resource center? Which pieces of content? How long are they visiting for?
Each piece of data is another brush stroke on your canvas, eventually creating a colorful and detailed picture of your audience.
This is a big accomplishment, but the data hasn’t outlived its purpose. Your audience is constantly changing and by regularly monitoring your incoming data, you can maintain a clear picture of them. The colors are forever changing and you’re the artist – It’s your job to ensure they stay together as the beautiful work of art you initially created.