One of the biggest challengers for marketers is making sure their work does not fall on deaf ears. As a business owner, you need to understand your target market in order to advertise effectively. Part of this work involves understanding the general customer profiles that are or will be receptive to your content. So where to begin with these customer profiles?

Step 1 General characteristics

Digital marketing caters to a specific group of people. What you need to find out first is their general characteristics. This will include age, gender, income and any other social indicators (marital status, income, education). Remember, you will have more than one profile, what you’re building is a range of them. These can be done through customer surveys or user experience quizzes, but a less intrusive way to gain this data is setting up a membership system or allowing potential customers to sign up to newsletters where they will enter basic information such as name, age and email addresses. To obtain higher completion rates for online surveys, it’s often good to offer some sort of incentive – the chance to be put into a draw to win a prize, or a small discount for their next purchase. It’s a worthwhile investment to gain more knowledge about your customers. Think outside the box when it comes to questions – ask them open ended questions such as what websites do they visit most often, what changes they’d like to see to your existing products and services.

Step 2 Get specific

Now use the data you’ve collected to paint of picture of the personas that recur most often. For example, if you run a frozen yoghurt business, you may find that your main demographic is perhaps high-school teenagers and mothers in their thirties. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Identify what would add value to the lives of these specific customer profiles you’ve created. How is it that you can market to them effectively? What do they care about most? What media are they most likely to consume – are they avid social media users? Which platforms? Do they prefer the professional LinkedIn or the conversational Twitter? Use the data you have gained to break down the various ways that you plan to reach your demographics. Digital marketing is all about knowing your customer, so make sure you do your research.

Step 3 Understand behavioural trends

Use metrics to identify consumer behaviour trends. Perhaps a group are more active as consumers at a certain time of year than others. You can also collect data such as who makes the largest orders and which accounts are more profitable. Know what converts and adjust customer profiles as time goes on to ensure that they are up to date. Don’t ignore your metrics!

The key is continuous monitoring of consumer behaviour so you can adapt your digital marketing technique to your customer’s preferences. Getting to know your customers really well will help you understand how to sell to them.