Next time you head to the bar for a game of darts, put on a blindfold and have your friend spin you around a few times. Then, try to toss a few darts and see where they land. Hopefully you didn’t hit any innocent passersby. But you probably also didn’t hit the target, and there’s almost no way that you nailed a bullseye.

This is what it would be like if you tried marketing without identifying your target audience. 

What is your target audience 

Before we get into the advice and guidance, we should clear up the definition first.

At its core, digital marketing is traditional marketing that uses technology—computers, the internet, smartphones, etc.—to communicate its message and achieve its goals.

Digital Marketing includes:

● Search engine marketing

● Social media marketing

● Content marketing

● Email marketing

● Mobile marketing

● Banner advertising

Know your worth 

Why do people buy your product or service with their hard-earned money? What exactly is it that sets you apart? Is it your unique offerings, your exceptional selection, your above and beyond customer service or your competitive pricing?

You see, once your find your target audience, you have to be able to clearly explain to them why your product or service is so amazing. If you can’t identify their pain points and be able to show how you solve them, your marketing message is going to fall on deaf ears.

Pro Tip: Ask your customers what they love about you! Why did they choose you over any other company?

Research, research, research 

You can’t identify a target audience based on guesses and assumptions—not if you want it to be in anyway useful. That’s why you need to identify your target audience by doing the nitty-gritty research.

It’s easiest to start here with basic demographics. 

  • Age Range: No need to get uber-specific here. A rough range is fine.
  • Location: Where they work or where they live, depending on your product or service.
  • Language: Not just whether they speak English, Spanish, or Esperanto. What words and phrases are they using to talk about their pain points and desires?
  • Money: How much money do they make, and how much of it is expendable?
  • Interests: What are their hobbies? What do they do in their spare time? 

A good place to begin is with your own existing customers. What do they all have in common? Check out your analytics and see if you can find some jumping off points. Once you get a rough idea of who buys your product or service, you can go looking for similar people who will be open to your marketing message.

The benefits of digital marketing

The primary reason that digital marketing is all the rage these days is because it’s effective. Think about it: where do you spend most of your time? In front of a screen, probably. Whether it’s your phone, computer, laptop, or TV, you most likely spend most of your work day on a computer, most of your leisure time on your phone, and your evenings watching TV. We don’t read print newspapers or listen to the radio—we have the New York Times in our email inbox and Spotify with no ads!

So, if you spend most of your time consuming digital media, it’s fair to assume that your audience and customers do too. And if you want them to hear your marketing message, you have to meet them where they are.

But that’s not the only benefit of digital marketing. It also offers advanced technology that can find and target the perfect customer for you. For instance, it used to be that if you wanted to target men aged 18-34, you would advertise in the sports section of the newspaper, or have a radio commercial during a football game. Now, you can target people who are interested in Ford 5-150s within 10 miles of your car dealership. It’s all about getting your message in front of people who want to hear it.

Plus, with digital marketing, there isn’t any guesswork. Everything is measurable. Reports and analytics can tell you how many people have seen your ad, how many clicked on it, and the percentage of those who filled out your form, for example.

If you want to know exactly what your marketing ROI is, traditional marketing can’t compete with digital.

Know the customers 

Digital marketing allows you to know more about your customers than ever before. If you’re not taking advantage of that, you’re not doing digital marketing right.

Before you begin any marketing strategy, you should conduct some research about your customers. Find out who they are (basic demographic stuff, like age, gender, geographic region, etc.), what their pain points are, and where they spend their digital time. Are they middle-aged suburban moms who spend a couple of hours a night before bed on Facebook? Or are they twenty-something millennials who scroll through Instagram while waiting in line at Starbucks? The more you know about your target customer, the better you can solve their problems and speak their language.

Create a guide 

Now that you have all this amazing research done, the next step is creating an in-depth buyer persona. A buyer persona is a guide to who your customers are. It’s a general mold that most of your customers fit into, and it helps you structure your future marketing plans. 

Depending on your product, you might have more than one buyer persona. For example, imagine you run a zoo. One of your buyer personas might be Dave the Dad, who brings his 3 kids to the zoo during summer vacation once a month. Another persona might be Loverboy Luke, an 18-year-old boy who brings all of his first dates to the zoo. You might want to launch two marketing campaigns, one aimed at each buyer persona.

Basically, a buyer persona should be a detailed guide to who is buying our product and why they do so, along with information about their life that will make them easier to market to. When you have an awesome buyer persona, you can make more informed decisions about who to market to and how. Plus, you’ll convert more leads because they’re already predisposed toward needing or wanting your services.

Marketing with a blindfold on isn’t the best game plan. You need to take off that mask and have full visibility if you want to maximize your CRO and ROI. Though it may seem like a lot of work, once you really know your target audience, you’ll have a clean path to marketing to qualified leads.

Content is king 

Content marketing is often the cornerstone of a digital strategy. Why is this? Because content marketing is affordable and effective. Content marketing is 62% cheaper than traditional marketing with a much higher ROI. In fact, leads convert 6 times as much with content marketing.

Content is all about helping potential leads, answering their questions, and establishing yourself as an authority. It’s important for your search engine ranking too, because Google’s algorithm rewards those with long-form, quality content.

Know the Buyer’s Journey, and Create Content for it 

If your content doesn’t match your customer’s buyer’s journey, it isn’t going to be as effective as it could be. If your lead is only in the Awareness stage, content that suits the Decision stage is just going to scare them off. Make sure your content strategy included all stages of the buyer’s journey. Digital marketing is all about knowing what your customers want and need in the age of Googling a product or service before you buy.

Never forget CEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the best ways to get your content in front of potential leads. Without it, your content strategy is almost useless. Do SEO research to find out what people in your industry are looking for online, and what terms they’re using to search for it.

Try New Things 

These days, technology is always evolving, and people are constantly moving on to the next hottest thing. That’s why you and your marketing strategy need to be agile and responsive. Try new things, and don’t be afraid to pivot your strategy when needed. Never be afraid to try something new, whether it’s a paid ad on a new social network or switching up your email subject lines to include emojis! Try everything and see what works.

Email Isn’t Dead

Email marketing is still one of the most effective things you can do. There are nearly 6 billion active email accounts, and 99% of consumers check their email every day. And surveys say that email is where consumers want brands to reach out to them. So give the people what they want, and invest in email marketing.

Integration Is Key 

To really make your digital marketing efforts successful, you need to integrate them across the board. All of your digital ads should have the same message, no matter what platform they’re on. Your Instagram ads should be coordinated with your latest email blast if you want to see the highest possible ROI.

Navigating digital marketing 

Now you have some guidance to navigating the maze of digital marketing. With these tips and tricks, you should be able to get your feet wet and start seeing the amazing results that digital marketing can offer!