3 ways digital data can connect you with your target market
The rise of social media and online communications has not only changed how we interact and how we access news and information, but how we market and reach our target audience.

People-based marketing is a term that hasn’t been around a long time, with reports dating it back to a conference in 2014. However, the idea of marketing to people based on their interests and needs is nothing new. We just have better tools to do it with now. No longer are we confined to the opinion of a small research group to form an opinion of a larger group.

The rise of social media and online communications has not only changed how we interact and how we access news and information, but how we market and reach our target audience.

Some businesses continue to approach online platforms (such as social media) as just another place to display their ads to the widest possible audience. However, digital platforms have a unique advantage over traditional media outlets. Data.

If you’re overlooking the power of data collection and utilisation, you’re missing out on the biggest strength of online media. Here are three ways you can use digital data to help refine and improve the performance of your marketing efforts.

1. Find your audience

Social media is important for any modern business – you need to be on social to be found, it’s where more people than ever are now looking.

However, being active on social is only useful if you’re reaching the right people – those who are actually going to buy your products.

This is where data tracking comes in. Using social media and other digital resources you can research and discover where your audience is active, which is where you need to be to reach them.

You can even identify the blogs and publishers they’re reading, which then enables you to target your ads – even guest blogs – to these sources to ensure you’re reaching the exact audiences you want.

How do you do this?

To work out where your audience is active, look at the competitors or other businesses in your niche. It’s not necessarily their follower counts you’re looking for, but the interaction and engagement they’re seeing on each of their posts. You can also look up platform research reports and resources that identify the most popular topics and active demographics, helping you home in on your target market.

To find out the sources your audience is reading, you can use tools like Followerwonk to cross-check who they’re following on Twitter, which can give you a better indication of the most relevant resources in your sector.

2. Identify their interests

Once you’ve worked out where your audience is active, you need to work out what they’re interested in so you can tailor your marketing message to address their needs.

The most basic way of doing this is by ‘listening’ – you can create alerts for certain keywords and mentions, which can then give you an idea of the key questions and concerns people have.

You can also use a tool like BuzzSumo which enables you to conduct searches on the most popular web content based on any keyword. This helps highlight what types of posts and questions are generating the most discussion in your area.

You can also use a tool like Bloomberry to find out what questions are being asked in your area of expertise. When you enter a query into Bloomberry, it scans all the popular question and answer sites like Quora, and forums like Reddit, to highlight the most common or popular questions.

3. Refine your messaging

Now that you know where your audience is and what they want to know, it makes it much easier to formulate a content strategy that will resonate with those consumers.

But there’s even more to digital data and targeting than that.

You can use these insights to target specific segments of your audience to maximise your performance. Your client lists include a range of people with different interests and needs – using data targeting, you can ensure you focus your messages onto the people they’re most relevant to, rather than everyone.

For example, your special on men’s haircuts will likely resonate more with men – you could send it out to everyone on your list, or you could segment your audiences to reach more specific groups with each campaign.

The more targeted you get the better – and using your additional data resources, you can establish more focused audience subsets, ensuring your message is increasingly relevant.

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