Categories
Branding Marketing Target Audience

Reaching your target audience with content marketing

This is the third installment of my building a brand from scratch series. It focuses on reaching your brand’s target audience. This series is most effective when read in sequence. Here’s the first part of the series if you’d like to start from there.

Any seasoned brand-builder will tell you that knowing your target audience is not enough. You must also reach them. And if you can consistently reach them, then you are well on your way to building a brand.

After I had defined my target audience’s demographics and psychographic characteristics with help from the Facebook Audience Insights tool, I started to think about how to put this information about my target audience to work.

I needed a way to reach my target audience that was affordable, sustainable and expandable.

The most obvious application was content marketing.

Content Marketing? What’s Content Marketing?

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Content Marketing Institute

In other words, if you are creating blogs, photos, videos, podcasts or social media posts with the goal of getting the attention of your target audience you are content marketing.

How does the content you create help get attention for your brand?

Think of a social media feed. Think of how content appears in the feed. Usually, it’s something like this:

Look close, what do you notice?

Notice what’s attached to the content in the feed: a profile. Often, a brand profile.

So if people are paying attention to your content, they are paying attention to your brand. And if you are creating content to get the attention of your target audience, then you are content marketing.

How you can start content marketing

As mentioned there are many ways to do content marketing: blogs, photos, video, podcasts, social media posts, etc., and each of these methods has its own pros and cons. My approach uses images and is built on three proven business principles: easy, affordable, expandable.

Images are the time-tested favourite as they meet all three of the above criteria and the process I use is the result of hundreds of hours of building brands from scratch and developing content marketing processes. If you follow my approach to content marketing I guarantee you will save time, money and a good deal of sanity.

But how do I make content that my audience will think is awesome?

The demographic and psychographic information Facebook Audience Insights tool revealed about your target audience in part two will help you make content that your audience will think is awesome.

Here’s what this looks like in practice. We’ll use my t-shirt brand Danskii as an example.

For Danskii my target audience is composed of 25-34-year-old females with a college education and a preference for travel and photography.

So… how do I use this information to do that?

Hmm.

Travel and photography…

Travel and photography?

Travel and photography!

Bingo.

There’s how I make content to get my audience’s attention. I’ll need to create images that focus on travel.

Ok, so admittedly the figuring out what will appeal to your target audience step is always pretty easy.

Creating photos that appeal to your target audience is where the real work comes in.

Lucky for you I’m going to outline exactly how to do this.

Categories
Branding

Starting a brand from scratch

The first step to building a brand from scratch is failure.

At some point in December 2017, I decided I would try and sell products online. Real original, I know.

I think the idea took hold when I came across a Shopify advertisement promoting something called drop shipping as a way to generate income through eCommerce.

The idea Shopify advertised was seductively simple.

First, you start up a trial eCommerce store with Shopify. Second, connect your eCommerce store to an automated dropshipping product (Oberlo) and finally, run some ads to drive traffic to your store and watch the money roll in.

The source of my temptation

Some money did roll in, but it was far less than was rolling out.

I had no financial success with Shopify or Oberlo, but failure imparts its own value.

I had attempted to break into a market which was over-saturated with bigger and better product providers. Competing with the likes of Amazon and Ali Express provided too monumental a task.

Amazon and Alibaba are leading the world-wide e-commerce revolution, according to a study from Website Builder Expert (WBE). In their study, WBE mapped out the world’s top online marketplaces. By geographically outlining the top online marketers, the power struggle for e-commerce domination becomes clear.

Tech Republic

Nevertheless, I was optimistic that I might still be able to develop a profitable eCommerce business. So I started to consider some alternative products and approaches: baby product reviews, pet food newsletters, trading cards forums, you name it.

Almost every niche product has a market and a blog trying to convince you to monetize it.

However, with so many providers offering the same product I would need to rely on a different value proposition. Instead of better prices, faster shipping or a sophisticated eCommerce system, I would need to develop a following of people who liked the idea of my business. I would need to develop a brand.

So…

I built a website from scratch to accompany this brand: Danskii.com. I integrated analytics, marketing and business intelligence tools:Google Analytics, HotJar and MailChimp. I set up social media profiles. 

Next, I needed to figure out who my target audience was and then convince them to follow me.

Categories
Facebook Marketing Target Audience

Identifying your target audience

This is the second installment of my building a brand from scratch series. It focuses on reaching your brand’s target audience. This series is most effective when read in sequence. Here’s the first part of the series, starting a brand from scratch, if you’d like to start from there.

Whether you are selling high-end shoes, making dog yoga videos or writing about how you built a brand from scratch, knowing your target audience is absolutely essential.

I was feeling pretty good after completing my website and setting up the Instagram account for my t-shirt company.

There’s nothing as self-gratifying as the feeling of pulling up your new website and showing it off to your friends.

There’s also nothing quite like the feeling of knowing no one else is seeing it. 0-traffic-itis is painful. And since website visitors don’t manifest from the ether, I needed to start thinking about building traffic.

My target audiences

When I began my dropshipping business in December of 2017 I relied primarily on advertising to drive traffic. This worked just fine for sending people to my website and provided an added bonus of this really cool upward trending line.

identifying-a-target-audience-4.5e1bb506.jpg
Nearly 50! Wow!

But that upward trending line was the only thing the advertising did.

One of the major reasons for my initial dropshipping business failure was that I had not identified a target audience early enough.

This mistake caused my content and advertisements to be far too generic when they should have been tailored to a specific group of people.

I learned, through trial and error and many hours of research that the more tailored to an audience your content and advertising is, the more effective it will be.

The realization of my failure to effectively define a target audience crept up on me slowly.

While I had people visiting my site, the majority were not doing anything of value. No sharing, no shopping, nothing. Worse, I was burning through money at an alarming rate.

As you can imagine, my untargeted approach got very expensive very fast. And the results were minimal.

“One of the biggest mistakes that budding personal branders make is trying to appeal to everyone. Think about the game of darts: You have to aim in order to hit the board. (If you let your darts go without aiming them, you probably won’t be very popular.) If you hit the board, you score. And if your aim is very good and you hit the bull’s eye, even better!”

Quicksprout

However, advertising on Facebook introduced me to a unique and incredibly powerful tool: Facebook Audience Insights

Audience Insights was created by Facebook to allow advertisers to tap into the nearly infinite supply of demographic data that Facebook collects from every user: age, gender, occupation, likes, income, you name it.

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Look at all that sweet glorious demographic data

“The more customer insights you have, the better you’re equipped to deliver meaningful messages to people. That’s the thinking behind Facebook Audience Insights, a new tool designed to help marketers learn more about their target audiences, including aggregate information about geography, demographics, purchase”

Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook Audience Insights

The Audience Insights tool was exactly what I needed to identify my target audience for my fledgling t-shirt company.

Here’s how I used the tool to do just that.

  1. Login to Facebook
  2. Navigate to the Audience Insights tools
  3. Think of a brand which is similar to your own (the brand you select must also have a Facebook page for this to work)
  4. Under the interests text input, type the brand name
  5. Make note of the details which have the highest percentages for each category:
    • Gender
    • Age
    • Relationship Status
    • Education Level
    • Page Likes
    • Location
    • Device Users
identifying-a-target-audience-3.c7fb021d.jpg
Here’s where to find Gender, Age, Relationship Status and Education Level. You’ll need to explore the tool a bit to find Page Likes, Location and Device Users.

After spending some time with the Audience Insights tool, I eventually landed on a brand that was similar to my own.

After reviewing the brand, via the process listed above, I was able to quickly access an extremely detailed set of demographic data about my target audience. This was pure gold as it now gave me the information I needed to start tailoring my content.

“The more customer insights you have, the better you’re equipped to deliver meaningful messages to people…”

Facebook Audience Insights

So there it was, I had discovered my target audience and completed one of the most important steps to building a brand.

Now it was time to figure out how to reach them.