Target market research is the first step toward a better understanding of your clients. The next step is creating the buyer personas, or client avatars, to represent your ideal clients.

You know you will then use these avatars to appeal to your ideal clients, gain their trust by providing solutions to their problems, and encourage them to buy your products/services.

But no one tells you how to do that in any clear way.

And without an effective strategy your research could be faulty, leading you to make a mess of your entire content marketing plan.

Instead, try these four easy, reliable methods for researching your target audience to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Why Target Market Research Matters

Conducting target market research is required before you can create accurate client avatars to appeal to. Without this foundation, you are marketing in the dark.

First, realize that you can not — and will not! — appeal to everyone who comes across your website! It’s like the difference between preferring one brand of detergent over another while recognizing that they’re all pretty much the same in the end.

You must understand who your products/services appeal to most, and why. Then, give that audience a reason to select you from among their other available choices. You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

To produce content your ideal clients will love, you have to know your target market intimately. Luckily, the World Wide Web makes conducting this research incredibly easy.

Your target market is on the internet right now telling the world who they are, what they like, and what problems they need solved. Use these ideas for researching them online.

Social Media

Explore social media to research your audience. Look at the individual profiles of people who follow your brand.

The most obvious site for doing this is Facebook, since it has such robust profiles. These profiles can tell you:

  • Who they are
  • What they like
  • Their jobs, locations, ages, and family
  • Their general opinions

A goldmine of information is available on social media. Also, view people’s posts to see what they’re interested in and what questions they ask. This can give you greater insight into their needs.

Google Search Console

Sign up for this free service from Google to review a wide variety of metrics about your website and the behavior of your visitors.

Google Search Console tells you what keyword searches bring people to your site, how much time they’re spending on each page, what links they click on, and trends over time.

This information lets you know how people are interacting with your website. For example, if people spend a great deal of time on a particular page, you know that this is the type of content they’re looking for.

Conduct Online Surveys

The oldest and most effective method for collecting data about a target market is to conduct surveys and interviews. This used to be a costly undertaking for companies back when they had to physically get focus groups together or convince people to talk to them over the phone.

But now it’s easy to do online. You can conduct surveys any way you have contact with your audience. Try using social media or email.

Approach people on online forums to see if they’d answer some questions. Using Google Forms or one of many WordPress survey plugins, you also have the choice to create questionnaires directly on your website.

If you keep your surveys short, asking no more than three to five questions, you’re more likely to get responses. For longer surveys, offer an incentive such as a free piece of content to reward people who take part.

Track Your Content’s Performance

The best way to learn about your audience is to start presenting them with free content and see how they interact with it. You’ll quickly see which pieces are most popular and which drive the most engagement.

For each piece that’s successful, try to determine what it was about the content that people liked and try to repeat that. When your audience ignores a piece, try to figure out why and don’t do it again!

Creating a Persona

Use all the data you’ve gathered to create a persona describing your ideal client. This is a single person to whom you’ll aim all your marketing efforts.

You may actually have more than one client avatar, but it helps to stay focused on a single type of buyer for the best results.

Putting it All Together

Now that you have a better idea of where and how to research your target market online, it’s up to you to put in the work. Gather the information and develop a plan – then use it to attract and retain your ideal clients!

Armed with your completed research and understanding of your target market, you have the foundation to build a comprehensive content marketing strategy.

Download your Content Marketing Strategy Workbook to develop the online marketing that will take your business to the next level.

Add to the conversation! Comment below to let us know about the tips and tricks you use to research your target market and develop buyer personas!

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