Quick Guide to Knowing Who Your Customers Are
Do you know that feeling when you walk into a new restaurant or boutique or coffee shop and you immediately have this feeling of “this is the place for me”? I remember a few years ago, I was looking to join a new gym and I visited a few local gyms and they all seemed fine until I visited Equinox and I had that feeling. It cost more than twice what the other gyms cost but I felt that this was the place for me. And over the next week, I justified the price to myself. The reasoning in my head was something like, if I cut down on going out to eat so much, I can afford this.
As a marketer, I know that this was not by accident. Equinox engineered their entire business model, facilities, staff training, and customer service to attract business people in my age group and income bracket. Smart business owners and brand managers know that knowing your customers or your audience is crucial in designing and delivering the right product and excellent customer experiences.
Knowing the characteristics and makeup of your customers allows your brand to adapt the language and content of your messaging to the levels that customers understand and respond to. Once you know your customers well, you can craft a message that resonates with them. The entire language and tone of your brand can be crafted to make meaningful connections with your customers.
As brand managers, marketers and business owners, we usually only get one chance to make a good impression with a new customer. It is important that our presentation is easily understood and our message is already aligned with our audience’s values and lifestyle.Customer-centric branding is proven to increase both the initial conversion ratio and long-term brand loyalty.
If we get that just right, we are way ahead of our competition. We don’t have to win customers based on low prices. We offer something much more valuable. A sense of belonging.
The first step is to know your customers – and know them well. In this blog, I will share how my agency uses proven and simple methods to gain a deep understanding of various audiences for our clients. As you would expect, it starts with research.
Aren’t audience analytic reports costly and hard to understand?
Up until a few years ago, only very large companies could afford to conduct market research that yielded usable data. My agency used to pay thousands of dollars for demographic reports on behalf of our clients. They were very useful for designing campaigns and brand messaging, but very expensive – so we could only order them for larger campaigns. Over the years as prices dropped, we started to buy reports for smaller clients and campaigns. Then Facebook Audience Insights was released and made it free and available to all businesses! Not only is it free, but they cut out a lot of the marketing jargon and made it very easy to understand for the average business user.
Facebook Audience Insights
Here is an immensely useful tool that is completely free to use. This tool is designed for Facebook advertisers but you can use it for free without buying any ads. I strongly recommend that you use this amazing tool and gain some valuable insight into your audience’s behavior. Here are some of the ways you can benefit from Audience Insights:
- Uncover demographic data such as age, gender, location, household size and income plus behavioral habits and likes of your customers or potential customers. Design offers and content that is aligned with their lifestyle and interests.
- Learn about your competitors’ audiences and show competing offers to them.
- Target the exact audience that needs your products and services and serve highly specialized ads to them.
In this blog, I am going to show you how to use it the way we use it for our clients and campaigns.
Start Facebook Audience Insights
- Navigating to URL: https://www.facebook.com/insights
- In your business administration page, start typing “Audience insights” in the search box.
- Click on Page, All Tools, Audience Insights
Select your audience
There are a number of ways to create an audience in Facebook Audience Insights. If you already have a large following on Facebook, then select “People connected to your page” when you first start Audience Insights. You will then see a demographic report for your audience.
What if your page doesn’t have a large following?
No problem. You can look up anybody else’s audience information too! Recently, after seeing the amount of information available on Facebook Audience Insights, my new marketing intern asked innocently; Is that legal? We all laughed but in reality, the depth of consumer behavior data that Facebook makes available to advertisers and business owners is really surprising at first.
If you do not have your own large-enough audience, you can add your competitors’ pages until you have a large enough data sample. Or you can start with what you already know about your audience and add filters until you see your audience. To get meaningful demographic metrics, your audience needs to be large enough. We usually look for an audience size of 70,000 and higher.
Set Some Goals
For the purposes of this blog, I am going to run a report for an LA based health and beauty company that performs drip IV treatments like B2 vitamin shots plus anti-aging and facial rejuvenation therapies and pain management. I know this is not exactly a mainstream business but it makes a good example because it is harder than normal. This is a relatively new small business with almost no social media following. Our goal is to find out who the customers are and how we should approach them.
I started by interviewing the business owners to find out who they think the audience is. They mentioned a few different types of people including:
- Busy executives who travel regularly and want to keep their immune system strong to avoid downtime.
- Professional athletes or people who work out regularly. They want peak performance and need to recover quickly.
- Professional women who want to look and feel their best.
We also know that our client’s service is more of a luxury than a necessity. People who are struggling financially are not lining up to get nutrient IV drips!
In this blog, we will study these three audience types. At Navazon Digital, we usually study 3-5 audience segments and create detailed personas (more on this later) for each.
Note: If this was a startup company and we did not have a good idea of who the audience is, we would find the top performing competitors in that space and enter their business names in Interests section of Audience Insights and build an audience that includes all of our competitors’ audiences.
Let’s build our first audience: Busy executives. We enter the parameters that we know in the filter section of CREATE AUDIENCE.
- Location = California
- Advanced > Work > Office Type = Corporation
- Advanced > Financial > Income = $150,000 and higher
Our parameters return the following demographic data:
Although our real target audience location should be limited to parts of Los Angeles, we entered California to get a larger sampling. Remember, we are not currently targeting this audience for paid advertising. We are just performing audience research and we need a large enough sampling. The audience size returned by Audience Insights for California is 70,000 to 80,000, which is large enough.
Gender is almost 50/50 so we don’t need to target a specific gender. We see that our target audience age is between 45 and 64 years old. This is the age range we should focus on.
Audience Insights has a Lifestyle segment with interesting names and insight into the lifestyle of the audience. Our audience is part of the top 2 segments.
- Established Elite: No school-aged children, enormous disposable incomes, pursue correlating luxuries/activities.
- Summit Estates: Luxury travel, entertainment, consumption of any type within reach.
I would think that this kind of audience would not necessarily look for the best price but rather higher quality. If I were to design ads for this audience, I would not bother with offering a great price. I’d focus on quality care and personalized service.
We must also remember that this is a very desirable audience and as such, they are inundated with ads for everything from vacations to wines to jewelry and finance. Our content must be of the highest quality and interesting enough to compete with very high-end ads and offers.
- They are mostly married and are college educated.
Since they’re mostly married, I may recommend that my client offers some “couples treatments”.
- They are in management which was expected based on our selection parameter of corporate jobs.
I would recommend that my client offers services outside of regular office hours to accommodate this audience.
The Activity tab reveals some interesting information that can be useful when buying ads:
- This audience’s “Pages Liked” is 21 as compared to Facebook’s average of 19. That tells us that they like business pages and are likely paying attention to sponsored content.
- Their “Ads Clicked” is 9 compared to 14 for the average Facebook user. So although they like business pages, they do not click on ads as much as the average user. If we run a Facebook ad campaign, we would expect lower than average click-through rates.
- They use Computers 31% of the time as compared with the Facebook average of 23%. This is likely due to the fact that they are sitting at a desk with a PC. Their iPhone and iPad usage are also higher than the average Facebook user. I would think that they use their iPhones and iPads when they’re not at their desk – like we all do. If I wanted them to see my ads when they are not working, I would only target iPhones and iPads in my ad campaign.
- They own their homes and homes are valued at more than a million dollars.
Under the Purchase tab, we see purchasing behavior figures for our audience. Keep in mind that Facebook sources this data from other companies like Epsilon, Datalogix, and Acxiom. These companies only have stats for a portion of the audience in our study. In this case, we see that only 18% of our audience matched Epsilons data. So consider these purchase metrics more as an indicator than authoritative statistics.
- For retail (brick and mortar) spending, 58% of our audience purchases high-priced retail items as compared to 54% average on Facebook.
- For online purchases, 58% of our audience purchases low-priced items online as compared to 35% average on Facebook.
So our audience likes to buy their high-ticket items in retail but is comfortable buying low-ticket items online. This is in-line with what we see for buyers in this age range.
Under Purchase Behavior, we see that as expected, they spend a good amount of their income on their home and food. Their kids are likely grown up and moved out of the house, so spending is low in that category.
- 49% of our audience purchases health and beauty products and services as compared to Facebook’s average of 44%.
Our client’s service falls under Health and Beauty. We can see that our audience is interested in H&B more than the average Facebook user.
Facebook tracks vehicle data, probably due to the fact that automakers and dealerships buy a ton of advertising.
- 55% of selected audience likes hybrid and alternative fuel cars as compared to Facebook’s average of 26%.
Our client’s business is not related to cars but they can still use this data. For instance, we could reach out to alternative fuel and hybrid car influencers and sponsor their content or buy display banners on their sites promoting our client’s treatments.
Ok. I think we are getting a good sense for our busy executive audience.
Save your audience so you can retrieve it in case you want to run an ad for this audience or study them further in the future.
Click Save and give it a name. You will be able to target this same audience in Ad Manager.
Create an Audience Persona
To really understand our audience, we create a persona for this audience segment. An audience persona is a semi-fictional character that we create based on demographics and known attributes like the ones we uncovered today. The persona represents one person with thoughts and feelings about your brand. Having a persona that represents this audience makes this audience real in our minds. When we are writing emails or crafting other content and messaging, we imagine ourselves talking directly to this persona.
To arrive at one persona, we need to pick one attribute when there are multiple possibilities. For instance, I chose to make this persona a male. We could create other personas to cover the other audience segments. We usually create at least three personas and sometimes up to five. For this blog, we created three personas. I have listed our findings for our Busy Executive and other two audience segments below.
Here is what we now know about our Busy Executive persona:
- He is 54 years of age (average age of our audience).
- He is college educated.
- He owns his home.
- Home is valued at over a million dollars.
- He has no school-aged children.
- He is an executive manager at a corporation.
- Enjoys luxury travel, entertainment, consumption of any type within reach.
- Has enormous disposable income.
- Wears designer clothes.
- Eats out at the best restaurants.
- Cares about his health and his looks.
- Drives a Tesla.
Want to know even more about your persona? Conduct an Empathy Mapping session to delve deep into the persona. See our blog post titled: