How to Research Your Target Audience
At the foundation of all successful copywriting and marketing is a detailed target audience persona built from data. Have you ever read a post online and felt like the writer is speaking directly to your soul? When you’re like, “Is this person reading my diary?!” That person was able to get into your head because they did their target audience research.
They took the time to learn your biggest problems, struggles, issues, and fears. They learned what makes you tick, what you’re looking for help with, what you love, and what you hate. They got to know you, created content for you, and in the end, it resonated with you. (And we’ll bet that you clicked the link in bio, took them up on that free webinar, or bought what they were selling!)
More often than not, target audiences (if developed at all) are thrown together in a thirty-minute brainstorm meeting and then are rarely revisited or discussed. This makes it near impossible to develop content that will resonate, let alone drive purchases!
What You Can Learn from Target Audience Research
Target audience research gives you insights into:
- Who you’re writing for
- Who you’re creating content for
- Who your product needs to serve
- What services your audience needs
- What words your audience uses
- What your audience believes about themselves
- What your ideal client fears & desire
- What your client doesn’t want
- …the list goes on and on!
The goal is to know your ideal client so well that you could have an entire conversation with them in your head.
We like to make every strategy we create as research-backed as we possibly can, because we can’t promise results without metrics. And, some of the most important research we do, is target audience research.
Why is it the most important, you ask? Because if you don’t know your audience, you can’t create content and products they want. (And if they don’t want it, they won’t buy it!)
How Do I Research My Target Audience?
Step 1: Jot Down Your Thoughts
Start by considering what the FAQs you get from your current customers are and think back to the conversations you’ve had in the past with them. What words do they use in their testimonials/feedback for you about how this improved their life? Make a list of all those thoughts and ideas.
Step 2: Get Out There and Ask!
Next step is to get out there and actually start talking to both current and potential customers and ask them very pointed questions to learn more about their problem solving process. What are they doing before solving their problem, during and (for those who did manage to solve it) after? Add all these thoughts to your initial brainstorm, cross out ones that don’t seem to actually be important to them, and when you hear the same thing coming up over and over again– take note of that!
Step 3: Back it Up With Real Data
Now, you probably have a pretty good idea. But take it one step further and put together a survey. And not just any survey, you’re going to ask four specific questions so that you can get to the bottom of what exactly your audience needs to hear buy from you.
The Essential Questions to Ask Your Target Audience
- What was going on that made you search for [your product/service]?
- When you weren’t using [your product/service], what did you do to solve this problem?
- If you couldn’t use [your product/service] anymore, what would you miss most?
- What’s the first thing you’d say to someone else if you were telling them about [your product/solution]?
Then, once you have their responses, you’re going to dissect each response to analyze what words they’re using, what pain points are they describing, what desires are they talking about, and what’s stopping them from taking the next step towards solving their problem. Stumped? Never fear! We have a handy template that we use to break down survey responses that we’d love to share with you!
Now you’ve got some stellar information about your target audience. That is built from the perspective of your buyers and is actually backed up with data from real people.
Your Next Step: Create a Buyer Persona
So now you have your target audience dialled with actual data, the next step is to compile all that information into a buyer persona. If you’re asking yourself “what’s a buyer persona?” you’ve come to the right place! We wrote a whole article breaking down what a better buyer persona is and how to make one.