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How to Cut Through the Noise to Reach Your Audience Online

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The internet continues to change the way people shop and engage with businesses every day. Between various social media advertising hurdles, pay to play practices and intense competition, reaching your target audience can at times feel daunting.

However, where there are challenges there are also opportunities.

With a digital landscape that is constantly shifting in terms of new platforms and tools, there are ample chances to cut through the noise and reach your customers online. To do so, you need to complete these three steps.

1. Research where your demographic spends their time online

Your extensive market research has revealed who your key demographic is. Now, how do you find out where they’re spending most of their time online?

To begin with, simply search for relevant keywords and phrases in search engines. See where discussions about your business are happening, learn from what your competitors are doing, and don’t be afraid to actually ask customers where they’re spending their time.

Importantly, you should be researching the social media landscape. The Sensis Social Media Report 2017 is an important resource to use here. It has detailed and relevant findings of when, where, why and how Australians are accessing social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and more.

Other useful reports, such as Consumer Behaviour in 2018 by Verto Analytics, point to other ways consumers are spending time online, not just on social media, but on mobile games and entertainment apps such as Youtube, Spotify, and Netflix.  

Depending on your target demographic, as well as the products or services you’re offering, some findings will appeal more to you than others. But it’s important to get a specific idea of audience behaviors and patterns before you begin marketing your business.

2. Research what your demographic’s needs are

Before getting the word out about your business, it’s important to not only understand who your audience is, but what their needs are too. This will help you identify any needs of theirs that aren’t being met, refine audience segmentation, plan for future initiatives, scale growth, and boost ROI.

When it comes to conducting research, here are a few steps to consider:

  • Find out what motivates your customers to make decisions (e.g. work demands, family needs, brand preferences).
  • Find out preferred shopping methods (e.g. online, over the phone, in-store).
  • Consider their spending habits and financial capacity.
  • Find out what they think of you (e.g. through reviews, feedback, asking customers, social media discussions).

Keep in mind that a great deal of users online value content (which includes everything from Facebook ads, articles, videos, apps and emails) that provides a unique insight for them. In fact, 65% of Australian adults believe the latest technologies are great learning tools, so leverage customer needs to create collateral that promotes the value of your brand. 

3. Analyse what your competitors are doing

To make your business stand out, you need a competitive strategy. This kind of research is crucial and will help you find out:

  • Who your competitors are
  • What they’re doing better than you (so you can improve)
  • What strategies and tactics they’re using to succeed (so you can emulate)
  • What their strengths and weakness are
  • What mistakes they’ve made (so you don’t make the same ones)
  • What you’re doing better than them (so you can demonstrate how you’re different).

Part of coming up with a competitive strategy should also include SEO analysis. Understanding who is gaining the most organic visibility, what keywords and phrases are most valuable and which backlink strategies are proving successful, will help you build a stronger SEO campaign. Tools like Buzzsumo, Ahrefs, and SEMRush are invaluable tools to utilize to gain comprehensive insights into what you’re competitors are doing.

Combine what you’ve learned to create a unique brand message

Now you’re ready to create a unique brand message by combining what you’ve learned from the previous steps. At this point you know who your target audience is, where they spend their time, what their needs are and how your competitors are communicating with them – this is everything you need to craft a powerful brand message that can cut through your competition.

While your messaging can vary depending on the color scheme of your branding, your content or the platforms you’re using, keep your target audience’s needs at the center of your campaign. You need to use these needs to motivate your audience and effectively convert them into customers.

What matters is that you reach your audience on a platform they engage on with a message that is different to what they’ve heard before. For example, a dog adoption shelter in Munich teamed up with Spotify to generate interest in adopting their adorable pooches. The campaign was based on a study that claimed dogs have uniques tastes in music. Based of this research, the campaign – appropriately called Spotify – launched with the purpose of helping audiences find a dog that shared similar interests in music.

Unorthodox? Yes, but that’s what it takes to get noticed in a digital space that is bursting at the seams with content.

Make your voice heard

Reaching online consumers will always prove challenging. But with the right research and strategies in place, you can cut through the noise and find out who your audience is, what they need and what you can do for them.

By marrying an analytical approach with an infectious creative flair, you’ll have a recipe for success.

Shayen de Silva is a senior digital marketing consultant specialising in search and content marketing at Web Profits. His role working in the competitive space of content marketing allows him to use out-of-the-box thinking to create content strategies that will attract customers to his client's business online.

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