“If you’re everything to everyone, you’re nothing to no one.” In other words, don’t waste your time and money on trying to sell to everyone. It just won’t work. Instead, you need to pinpoint your target audience and cater your messaging around them.
So who is your target audience? It’s a specific group of people – based on age, gender, education level, job title, etc. – that you want to engage in order to best sell your product(s). Identifying this group is particularly important for manufacturing companies because it could completely redefine the stories you share and the language you use. If you understand your target audience, and speak directly to their wants and needs, you have a much better chance of engaging them right off the bat.
In identifying your target audience, it is important to answer the famous five W’s.
Get to know your current customers and the people who make the final purchasing decisions. They are your greatest insight into your target audience. Find out what motivates them, why they value your company, and what their needs are.
Next identify who you want to buy your products. Are there specific industries or niches that your company would benefit from targeting? But be realistic. Center your ideal customer profile on your already established customer base.
And track who you’re marketing to now. Measure your current marketing results to understand what works and what doesn’t. Tracking the level of engagement can even help give you an understanding of whether your messaging is catered to the right crowd.
First concentrate on what are your customers’ backgrounds. What is their education level, economic standing, family status, job title? Answers to these questions can help you determine what type of tone/language to use in your content.
For example, you may think you are selling to senior-level engineers, so you have modeled your messaging around detailed specifications and industry-jargon. However, you may find out that the real decisions makers are CFOs who don’t center themselves around the product specifications but focus on big picture results.
Also focus on what your customers are buying now. Finding out what sells well and what doesn’t can help you determine which products to focus your marketing efforts.
When do customers buy your products? Knowing the cadence of the buying cycle is key to developing a content marketing strategy. For example, do your customers buy on a regular basis or does it fluctuate based on a season? Are there tent-pole events in your industry, like a big trade show, that you can focus your quarterly efforts on?
Also, identifying when customers interact with your brand is important. Monitoring when and how people interact with your social media and other channels can tell you when the best time is to post your content to maximize visibility.
The ‘where’ covers both physically and virtually. Physically, where do your customers live? By geographically targeting your customers, you can customize your content and ads that target your service area, which can increase your local search visibility.
Virtually, where do your customers discover you? Analyzing traffic data can give you important insight into where you should most promote your content and what type of content to create. For example, if most of your customers convert from organic search results, you could create short snippets of video targeted around specific key words to help rank in universal search.
One of the most important questions is why. Why do your customers buy from you, or why do they buy from your competitors. Understanding your audience’s motivation is the biggest factor in deciding what your content messaging should be. Are your customers making their decision based on price? Quality? Brand reputation? Innovation?
To help you answer the five W’s, use every tool at your disposal. Consult your current business plan, analyze data across your website, social networks and other marketing channels, interview current customers, or hold a focus group. And most important, constantly monitor and evolve. Your target audience today, may not be your target audience in 3 years.
Read our latest manufacturing marketing publication, The MFG Standard. The first issue focuses on
Assembling Your Digital Marketing Strategy.