A frequent comment from Hierographx clients in response to consulting is often related to their surprise at how suddenly complex their customer relationships have become. These customers now have access to countless platforms, which they access from any number of devices–sometimes even looking up the very business they are standing in rather than reaching out to clerks or office professionals–standing right beside them–to help. With targeted research, a lot of our clients find out things about their customers that really can be surprising. As a full service digital agency, we’re here to help navigate the increasingly complicated consumer landscape; and that begins with a shift in perspective.
Have you wondered how you can improve sales by extending the reach of your website? Seems like it should be pretty easy, right? After all, you understand what you’re selling. You understand why you’re selling. But, to whom are you selling it?
It may seem like an odd set of questions, particularly for businesses that have long standing, one-on-one relationships with customers that may have spanned decades. But in reality, quality research can uncover differences in a business’ perception of their client’s need vs. that client’s reality. Throw the complexity of the increasingly diverse digital landscape into the mix, and the questions pile on. The fact is, it isn’t just about your website anymore. It’s about your entire online presence. This can make it harder for your message to meet your customers where they live.
So the key question is less about what you already know about your clients: it’s about discovering what you may not know. Discovering where and how to reach them, and how to get them more interested in what you’re trying to say is getting harder. To raise the level of the challenge this presents…it’s worth noting that consumer attention spans have become increasingly short.
But…how do you even begin to hit the mark when you don’t know where you’re aiming?
The experts agree: it’s important to understand that the old parameters of your marketing targets have changed drastically. “Be willing to look beyond the traditional points like age or gender. See experiences. See culture. Know the "why" of your audience. When you do the homework necessary to splice your audience into smaller segments, you'll have real connections helping you make the best possible choices for communicating with them.” (Newsweek) This understanding is often like aiming at a moving target… and frankly, that’s what every customer is.
It’s tempting to just throw everything at the proverbial wall to see what sticks–we get it. But it can prove costly, frustrating, and ineffective to attempt to reach clients with a “catch as can” approach. There are a number of reasons for this: chief among them are the algorithms of the various platforms your clients use could work against you, and even if you reach them, you may not reach them in a way they are willing to entertain.
Statistically speaking, trying to sell to everyone at once will not bring the results you’re hoping for. You might think your target audience will simply find you based on what you’re selling. That’s not the way it works. You have to find them: and that takes a lot of energy. You need to understand the nuances of the groups you are targeting so you can focus that energy to the highest degree of accuracy.
In this case, it really just means working smarter…not harder. “You've probably heard the saying, "When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one…It seems logical to want to sell to as many customers as possible. Well, I hate to say it, even experienced marketers make this mistake. This approach is a sure-fire way to quickly blow through money with little to no return.” (workitdaily.com)
You may have a good perception as to who your target demographic is, and that’s a great start! But it’s a lot more complex than that. For example, there are two groups to take into consideration. “You've probably heard the terms target market and target audience. These are two separate things to keep in mind. A target market is a group of customers for which a product or service is aimed at. A target audience is the ideal customer most likely to want your product or service. For example, you make Graco car seats that help provide safety for newborns to toddlers. Your target market is newborns to toddlers, however, they aren't the purchasers of this product. Your target audience is parents. When developing your strategies, keep your target market in mind, but sell to your target audience. In most cases, these two are the same group of people, but as you can see in this example, sometimes they are different groups.” (workitdaily.com)
In understanding your target audience there is much more to consider than simply age, gender, or location. Sure, those things are part of the puzzle–but it’s less of a jigsaw and more of a Rubik’s Cube. An example of this is Ethnography. “Ethnography is the study of people and their cultures. You can break it down into more specific subsets, such as digital ethnography for the way a group approaches or uses technology. But ultimately, you're just trying to understand how the people in the group operate. Ethnography is important in business because most people don't just want to buy something — they want to buy into something. They want to connect emotionally. If you understand their motivations, beliefs and values, then you can communicate in ways that will resonate with them and influence what they choose to do. In sales, that translates into getting them interested in buying your product or service.” (Newsweek)
In digital marketing, this also means more than words on a page or a flashy logo. It means understanding the problems that people face, and the solutions you can offer. But of equal importance is the expectations your customers have about how those solutions are presented. You see… your digital interface with them is the handshake: and it matters.
So, we’ve covered some areas regarding who your audience might be. Now let’s focus on where. I don’t simply mean where they live, go to school, or where they go on vacation. I mean the portion of your audience that visits your website and especially those who interact. “A sound understanding of not only your customer base but your current web audience base can help you to improve messaging, ad targeting focus, and landing page look and feel,” says Search Engine Journal. “What we should be doing is gaining an understanding of our customer demographics by traffic channel as well as the performance of advertising by demographic segment.”
The concept of traffic channels is often new to the many businesses we help to succeed in the digital space. For every platform and customer interaction, there are expectations of that customer that the business must anticipate and meet without a hitch. With more channels piling on every day–each with their own quirks, rules and culture–it’s nearly impossible to connect effectively without solid, scientific research and professional messaging. But when those strategic connections happen…the results can be amazing.
Hierographx offers UX/UI research to help identify your target audience, and to examine how that client interacts with your digital brand. SEO (search engine optimization) can bring them to your website, and content creation that provides research driven, audience-directed messaging can help seal the deal. Understanding the nuances of your target market, and how your ideal client–the target audience–will respond? This is key!
But just as vital to embracing these new dynamics is adjusting your mindset to accept that zeroing in on your customers does not mean passing others by. “Targeting a specific audience does not mean that you are excluding customers who do not fit your criteria. Instead, it allows you to focus your dollars and message on the right people who are most likely to buy from you. This is the most effective way to reach your audience while maximizing your spending.” (workitdaily.com) With Hierographx on your side, you can put away the broad net and the frustrations and entanglements it can bring with it.