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Tribe Tools: The 5 Things You Need to Learn Your Target Audience

Target audience information is pure gold. The more you know about your audience, the more likely you are to reach them.

Some marketers simply throw products out there and see what resonates. It’s about as effective as tossing a bowl of spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. And it’s messy. And wasteful. And you’re probably hungry after.

When you know the ins and outs of your audience’s internet behavior, you can cater to their online preferences. When you know their income, you can price your products strategically. When you know their felt needs, you can create a product that alleviates their pain.

Every single business decision you make should be based on target audience data. Instead of blindly assuming what will stick, do the research to know what will stick. It doesn’t have to be a guessing game.

Every single business decision you make should be based on target audience data. Click To Tweet

So, how do you do that research? How do you get that audience data?

The tools available to us through the internet are remarkable in the information they supply.

Today, I am identifying the five main tools (seemingly oldies–but goodies!–in today’s age of infinite new products every day) you must use in order to learn your target audience.

1- Survey

Nothing replaces the value of a thoughtful, strategic survey. Use Survey Monkey, Google Forms/Survey, or a similar free program to handle the setup, delivery, and data aggregation. I always start by making a list of what information I need to find out–and then crafting questions around those data goals. Surveying is itself an art… finding the perfect balance of open-ended questions and multiple choice questions, organizing words in a way that will lead to truth, making your audience feel known but not too known, etc. Start with the end in mind and be highly strategic and targeted in your questions. I suggest authors and brands survey their folks every 1-2 years.

2- Facebook Analytics

Facebook is an absolute gold mine for audience data, more than any other social media platform out there. Facebook Audience Insights, specifically, provides a massive amount of demographic and behavioral data about your audience. It was a tool originally created to help advertisers target more effectively, but it’s invaluable for any marketer wanting to learn deep info about their tribe. You can find info on people connected to your page, as well as custom audience data through uploading an email list. Note demographic data, such as gender, age, location, etc.–as well as behavioral data, such as frequency of activity, type of device, etc.

3- Twitter Analytics

The usefulness of Twitter analytics is not as well-known nor as widely-used as that of Facebook, but the audience insights within Twitter are very helpful. Under the “Followers” tab in the data section, you’ll find a graph charting follower growth, with a whole audience demographics section beneath it. You’ll see your followers’ locations, interests, who else they follow, their level of engagement, and more. If your biggest audience is on Twitter, you need to know everything you can about them. This tool is your golden ticket.

4- Google Analytics

I see a great many authors and marketers using Google Analytics only as a way to measure website traffic week over week or month over month, rather than diving deeper into the more niche data it offers. The “Audience” tab under the main menu in Google Analytics is a well of knowledge about the people visiting your site. You can find the main demographic info, as well as insight into location, technology preferences, engagement behavior, other interests, and more. My team and I recently came up with an awesome new campaign for a client based on this “Interest” information, simply by learning one little new tidbit about her audience–pretty cool!

5- Tools to research competitors

I’m making #5 a category of tools, rather than a single tool, because this concept is so important. Not only do you have to know everything about your own audience; it’s incredibly helpful to know everything about your competitors’ audiences, as well. Why? Because you want their audience to be your audience. To rule in your niche area of expertise, you need to be the leader… and the secret way to do that is to figure out what your competitors offer–and then offer something slightly better. Learn about what makes their people tick, what their most popular posts and blogs are, where their people are, and more. You’ll be surprised how much insight you gain into bettering your own brand.

Use Google Alerts and Social Mention to spy on your competitors’ online presence, media hits, and social media game. SkyFu and SEMRush allow you to look at what keywords your competitors are targeting. Simply Measured is another that offers in-depth reports on trends and analysis for competitors. Additionally, Facebook is also a gold mine for learning about competitors’ tribes.

The point? Your target audience has all the power–the power to grow your brand or to wither it, the power to create good buzz or declare poor service, the power to buy or to not buy. Shape your brand around their hearts and preferences, their felt needs and behaviors; it’s the only way you’ll win.

And how do you know their hearts, preferences, felt needs, and behaviors? You learn them. Use the tools at your fingertips to know your tribe so well that you’re equipped to make strong, strategic decisions. No guessing allowed.

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