When you’re setting out to create a new marketing campaign, website, or any other promotional materials one of the most important things you can do is audience research. In the old days, this was accomplished by compiling expensive focus groups and making a best-educated guess as to what the consumer ultimately wants.
Luckily, the internet has opened up a myriad of ways for us to gain valuable insights into our target audience without spending tons of money or even having to have an existing audience.
Still, many people are not taking advantage of the free tools that when used properly can help you get that edge for your marketing to create a more compelling message that drives the desired action you’re looking for.
Here are two of our favorite “ninja” ways to research a target audience and really learn about their online behaviors, challenges, desires, lifestyle, and even the way they speak about your industry.
Facebook Audience Insights Tool
Audience insights is a great tool that Facebook offers to advertisers that utilize the platform. However, the good news is that you do not need to spend money on Facebook Ads to utilize this tool. All you need to do is set up a Facebook Ad account (which is free to set up) if you don’t already have one.
Audience Insights is great because it allows you to find out some really valuable information about the audience that you’re looking to reach. You can learn about things like:
Basic demographics like age, location, and gender
Lifestyle information like relationship status, job roles, and education level
Audience interests like publications, influencers, brands, etc
Online behavior including the devices that your audience use
All you have to do is open up the Audience Insights tool, then start adding interests, job roles, and any other information that you already have on your target audience. Then Facebook Audience Insights will show you valuable data gathered from Facebook users.
Be sure to watch the video above to learn how to use the tool and see some examples.
Review Sites (Amazon, Yelp, etc)
Another great way to learn about your target audience is by looking at online review sites like Yelp and Amazon.
You can look at not only your own reviews but also the reviews of competitors or other products/services that your target audience may use. By spending time reading reviews left by your target audience you will gain a lot of valuable insight into what their challenges, pain points, desires, and frustrations are.
The other really great thing about reading review sites is that you begin to learn the language of your audience.
As marketers and business owners, we can sometimes fall into the trap of creating our own “sexy” language of what we think our audience wants to hear. We use phrases like “innovation” or “technologically advanced”.
However, as humans, we resonate stronger with people (or brands) that look and sound just like us. As you are looking through reviews on your products or related products, be sure to pay attention and take note of the phrases that people are using to describe their challenges or the benefits they are seeking. These will be powerful for you to keep in mind when writing copy for ads or marketing materials.
Audience research can actually be a lot of fun when you start to get real data and information that will help inspire new ideas for content, advertising, and even product development. Take advantage of these tools and let us know how it works out for you!
One of our clients who owns a successful business called me one day to tell me that one of his videos had gone viral. I can remember the excitement in his voice as we spoke on the phone.
He was thrilled that one of his videos finally caught traction and achieved “virality”. The short 25-second video which was a comedic piece had gained over 1,000 organic shares within a day or so of posting.
But can you guess what impact this had on his business?
In fact, most of the attention and comments were coming from a country that he didn’t even serve.
Of course, this was a one-off case. Maybe you sell internationally and you would love to get the extra attention no matter the region.
But there is a better approach.
Should you aim for viral?
As a video focused company, it’s not uncommon for clients to come to us with the hope of making a video go viral. And we completely understand. In this noisy internet world, it’s more important than ever to do things that will make your brand stand out and help gain awareness.
However, in many cases, viral is not the right goal. First, let’s look at some numbers.
There are over 4 million hours of video uploaded to YouTube every single day. And that’s just YouTube! Not to mention the millions of videos be posted to Facebook each day. Of those videos, only a fraction of a percent actually go viral. And those videos typically have nothing to do with a brand. They are cat videos, fail videos, memes, ect.
Aside from the fact that virality is usually a matter of luck, synchronicity, and magic fairy dust, going viral typically doesn’t have much impact on your business. Or at least not enough to justify the number of hours and attempts it would take to actually have a video go viral.
What should you focus on instead?
Imagine you were presented with two options.
Outcome 1 is that your video will go “viral” among 1 million people who may or may not be likely to purchase your product or service. They may not even be close to your target market or in a country where they can buy.
Outcome 2 is that your video goes “viral” among 1,000 people who are much more likely to purchase your offering and are qualified to buy.
I want to be clear. It’s not about thinking smaller and lowering your goal. It’s about specificity and making sure that your video objective is mapped to your business objectives.
Choose a more targeted approach.
While outcome 1 might feel better because it reached 1 million people, that’s just a vanity win. Over the short term, outcome 2 will get you more immediate purchases. Over the long term, a good sized group of those 1000 people will become fans and advocates of your brand spreading awareness even further.
It’s important to ensure that every video for your business is tied to a tangible goal. Whether it’s awareness, recruiting, or direct sales.
Rather than focusing on going viral, get more specific on a small group to go “viral” among that will become customers and loyal evangelists. This is why it’s so important to understand your audience.
3 Tips for how to create more shareable content
It is still a beneficial exercise to look at what it is that makes a video viral. Although there are many factors that go into a video achieving virality, here are 3 critical elements that you can apply to your content creation strategy:
The first key trait of creating shareable content is relevance. Is the content relevant to the target audience? So how do we go about creating relevance? Well, you can check out websites like Google Trends to do a quick search and see what topics might be trending in your industry that are getting more traction and ultimately going to be more relevant to the audience.
But it doesn’t always have to tie to this big trending topic or news article, sometimes it’s as simple asking, what common pinpoints or challenges or experiences will the members of my target audience share and relate with?
2. Emotional Response
The second key characteristic of shareable content is that it elicits an emotional response, whether it’s anger sadness, laughter, nostalgia. It’s these emotional responses that inspires your audience to share this content with their community.
The third and final thing to consider is the distribution plan. Believe it or not most viral ads or viral pieces of content still have an initial push to get them out there. Whether it’s paid advertising or media outlets, so what you want to think about is what key platforms or avenues or key people can you reach out to and give your content an initial push.
You never want to put a piece of content up and then just hope that people find it.
Consider these elements when creating any content for your brand, not just video.
In conclusion, when setting out to create a video or marketing campaign, choose the goal that is most going to help your business. Then use that as your north star to guide the creative and strategic decision making. If you want to go viral to build awareness, go a level deeper and ask yourself what group of potential true fans you want to go “viral” among.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments and feel free to share with a friend.
When we are talking to brands about how they can leverage video, we are frequently asked:
“How long does the video need to be?”
And it makes sense that this would be one of the first questions that come up. There is no shortage of online blogs, articles, and courses that talk about video marketing pushing broad blanket statements about how the video “has to be short” or “no longer than 1 minute”.
Why video length isn’t the place to start
While I’m not arguing that videos shouldn’t be short, the video length is usually not the correct place to start when planning a video or campaign.
There are a number of factors that are much more important to determine before thinking about how long the video should be.
Some of these factors are:
What is the target outcome of the video or campaign?
Who is the target audience? What matters most to them?
Where is your audience in the customer journey?
What is the key message?
What platform will the video live on?
Now that we’ve decided on a strategy, how long should the video be?
Despite what you might read from the “video marketing gurus” there are no hard rules or magic formula’s here.
However, our rule when it comes to creating videos is this:
As long as it needs to be to achieve the target outcome, but absolutely no longer.
This means that yes it is important to be looking at how you can cut the video down. But this must be done without sacrificing valuable information or story development that will help maintain audience engagement and drive action.
Of course, each platform will have its limitations. For example, you might be running a 6-second YouTube pre-roll ad or 30-second television spot. But beyond that, we recommend focusing more on telling a great story. Then you will have more room to maintain audience attention.
The quality of the video and storytelling is more important than the length
This is why we can’t stand watching even a 15-second advertisement that’s aggressively pushing a product but we will pay to watch a 2-hour movie.
Again, the quality of the story is what matters most.
I hope you found this helpful. Feel free to share with a friend and let us know what you thought in the comments!
If you’ve done any advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, or LinkedIn you know how powerful these ad platforms can be for delivering your messages directly to your target audience.
With traditional advertising (like TV, Print, and Radio) you have very limited options when it comes to who you can target with your ads. Usually, this is based on location, age, and a few other options.
Still, there’s no guarantee that the people you are reaching are in your target audience.
Now, with current social media platforms, it seems that the options are limitless. You can target based on simple demographic choices such as age, location, and gender.
But there are even more powerful (and precise) ways of targeting. You can also choose your audience based on interests, job roles, income ranges, lifestyle habits, and a number of other options.
This means that your marketing and advertising budget will be maximized and not wasted since you are only serving your message to the people who would benefit and likely be interested in what you offer.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Get more results by segmenting your audience and creating personalized content
Now that we know you can choose exactly who to target your ads to, it’s time to get more creative about the ads that you are showing.
Gone are the days of creating one video or one marketing message and blasting that out to all of your potential customers or potential clients.
Instead, what you should be doing is segmenting your potential clients and customers into different groups and creating very personalized creative messages to each group that will resonate with them much more strongly.
The best way to explain this is by giving you examples.
So let’s say you’re a B2B business, so you’re trying to reach other business owners. Maybe you’re a SAAS, or insurance agencey, or similar.
I would think about who are your top two to three industries or types of businesses that you tend to focus on and create specific messages for each industry.
So for example, let’s say maybe you serve three industries: Healthcare, Construction, and Financial Services.
Instead of creating one blanket message and blasting that out to all
of these industries and hoping that it drives results, what I would do is create three separate messages. These could be ads, these could be pieces of content, blog posts, videos, etc, and I would make sure that they’re catered to these industries.
Then as we spoke earlier about the power of targeting on these modern advertising platforms. You would make sure that you’re serving your healthcare focused ad directly to the health care industry, construction directly to the construction industry, and finances.
But this obviously it doesn’t just apply to B2B. This also applies to B2C if you’re selling directly to consumers.
Let’s say you’re a lifestyle brand. Perhaps you sell a fitness product or health supplement.
So maybe you start with these three segments: Moms, Fitness Enthusiasts, and Working Professionals.
Again, you would create three different creative pieces of content and target each audience segment respectively.
Make sure that these messages are very tailored. So the one for moms might be a video featuring a mom using your product or using your supplement.
Now when you think about it and you combine the power of creating very personalized messages, segmenting your audiences, and serving those to those segments directly, you’re going to get a lot more results out of your marketing because it’s very personalized.
I hope you found this tip helpful. I hope more importantly that you actually take it, implement it, test it, see how it works for your business.
If you found this useful, share it with someone else who might find this helpful for their business.