How to Understand Your Target Audience

By | December 3, 2014

How to Understand Your Target AudienceHow much do you really know about your website audience? Can you really describe who they are? What they care about? What they looking for on your site?

 

It’s time to stop playing the guessing game about your website visitors. This guide will help you learn how to understand your target audience.

 

Why do you need to understand your audience?

The entire design of your website, and I mean everything, needs to be centered on your target audience.

 

If you’re like me then you’re having flashbacks of English class where your teacher would tell you to identify your audience before even starting the researching for your topic. This was true for writing papers in school and it is even more true for designing your website.

 

There are so many options on designing the look and feel of your website. Knowing your target audience will make these website decisions easy because you will know what appeals to your visitors. 

 

What you need to know about your audience?

The information that you want to build can be broken into two categories: Demographics and Psychographics. If you’re not familiar with either of these terms I’ll give you a brief description to help make sense of it.

 

 

Demographics: Demographics are the statistical data of your target audience. You want to gather demographic information to build a profile of your audience.

In building your audience profile, here is some information you will want to know:

  • What is their age range?
  • What is their gender?
  • Marital status?
  • Socioeconomic status?
  • Do they have kids?
  • What organizations do they belong to?
  • What is their education level?
  • What is there occupation?
  • What is their race/ethnicity?
  • What is their geographic location?

 

Psychographics: Psychographics is an in depth look into the psychology of your target audience. Demographics gives you statistical data while psychographics tells you why your audience acts the way they do. When you understand why your audience acts the way they do, you can more effectively design your website to get the results that you want. 

 

Here is some psychographic information you want to know about your target audience:

  • What do they value?
  • What are their interests?
  • What is their motivation?
  • What are their opinions on a specific topic?
  • What are their lifestyle characteristics/behaviors?
  • What do they do in their free time?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What do they spend money on? (this is very important to know)

 

If you don’t know the answers to all of these questions, don’t stress out. We will conduct additional market research on your website visitors where you can fill in any information gaps.

 

How to understand my audience.

Forums and discussion boards: 


These are one of the best ways to gather information on target audience. Look at the hot topics that people in your niche are talking about. Don’t just read what others are saying, but engage your target audience to learn more about them. Ask questions to increase your understanding. Add your comments to see how others react.

 

You can learn a lot about your target audience just from being active in the forums. Use the discussions in the forums to help guide the content of your website/blog. There are a ton of forums out there so the key is knowing where to find them. Here are two major blog forums that you can start at.

  1. Reddit
  2. Gaia Online

 

Another way to find forums in your niche is to do a quick search with the following keywords:

  • “niche” + “forums”
  • “best” + “niche” + “forums”

 

The search engine will either bring up the name of the most popular forums or, if you are lucky, it will bring up a post where a blogger has listed the top forums in that niche and done all the work for you.

 

Here are some basic dos and don’ts that I follow when engaging forums.

 

Dos:

  • Ask relevant questions to increase your understanding of your audience’s opinions.
  • Discuss topics that evoke controversy, just do it in a respectful manner.
  • Provide links to your specific posts if it is relevant to the discussion.
  • Know and follow all forum rules.
  • With every post remember why you are in the forum, which is to learn about your audience.
  • Use the forums as a way to build relationships, trust, and credibility.

 

Don’ts:

  • Spam the forums.
  • Attack anyone or their opinions.
  • Aggressively try to sell your product or yourself.
  • Break forum rules for a quick backlink.

 

Social Media:


The basics of learning about your target audience from forums can be applied to social media. The two social media mediums that I use the most are Facebook and Google Plus. I will discuss each of these separately.

 

Facebook: Facebook seems to have more fan pages than sands in the sea. The size of these fan pages can be in the hundreds of thousands or a few dozen people. You can learn a lot about your website visitors by being active in groups of all sizes.

 

Google Plus: Google Plus may not be as widely used as Facebook but it is growing quickly and many believe that it will become the largest social media community within a few years.

 

If you’re unfamiliar with G+, here are a few essential pieces of information to give you a head-start. 

 

Google Plus Circles: You use your Google Plus circles to categorize contacts by categories. This allows you to create messages that are only shared with the circles that you specify. Go through and add people that are active in your niche to learn more about your target audience.

 

Google Plus Communities: G+ communities are groups of people with a common theme or interest. Find communities related to your nice by either conducting an internal search or browsing all communities. Look  at the people in these communities to build on your audience profile to better understand your website visitors. Go ahead and start adding people in these communities to your circle. You can also start your own community as well.

 

Amazon:


Take a look at Amazon to learn more about your target audience. I really like this method because sales don’t lie. People spend money on what is important to them. Knowing what your audience spends their money on is essential for creating a profile and understanding them. Look at the reviews of some of the most popular products. Look at what people like about the product and what they don’t like.

 

You will gain invaluable insight into what is important to them by looking at the products they buy. You will learn even more by reading what they are saying in the reviews.

 

You now have some valuable information to go out and build a profile of your target audience. 

 

If you have some methods on how to understand your target audience please leave them in the comments below.

 

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